If your opening line is “What’s up doc?” to a program director in a residency interview, your application might suddenly be in deep water… well if the Program Director can make light of a joke, then it should at most humor him/her. First impressions always matter. You want to be wearing a smile when you first introduce yourself. Look presentable and be punctual even if the PD is running late. Let your discipline and character shine through the actions you execute. But many program directors have a lot of responsibility so being “professional” is much better than being a stand-up comedian. In fact, professionalism is part of the ACGME six core competencies and many PDs say they can only judge professionalism by appearances and how you speak and carry yourself. Be confident! It’s easier said than done but come across as engaged and interested in being a resident at their program. It’s vital to garner some background information on their residency program so you’re aware and familiar with what they offer, and you present yourself as being well-versed and suffering fewer hurdles of nerves building up during your interview.
Once you’ve become acquainted with the program director it’s time for the round of questions. One of the major questions that program directors ask is “Tell us about yourself?” This question is not to be taken lightly as it could make or break you. You don’t want to disclose your whole autobiography, but you want to talk about yourself in the best light that also appeals to their residency program. Also, you want to set yourself apart from other candidates applying so make sure to say something that is unique to you.
“Why do want to apply for this specialty?” is another question that a program director might ask. When you respond to this question make sure to not only answer in an academic way but also touch on the emotional way as well. For example, you’re interested in their neurology program because you’re fascinated by the nervous system and how it functions but also your aunt suffered a brain aneurysm so it’s close to home for you to study and specialize more in that field. You’re tapping into the pathos and ethos of the subject covering all your bases and impressing the PD.
It’s best to prep yourself and practice enough so you don’t feel nervous or jittery during an interview. But don’t memorize responses. It’s a conversation, not a performance, and not an interrogation. Don’t overdrink water, coffee, or sodas before or during an interview, because that may make you antsy if you must use the restroom. Residents Medical has an archive of tips and tricks to be your best on interview day and we have some of the best prep interview teachers who can guide you and help you practice so you go into your interview with ease. Don’t hesitate or feel embarrassed because practice makes perfect and there’s no harm in training yourself so you don’t feel unprepared to ace the interview!