💭 My Takeaways from Conducting Residency Interviews

Medical Students

Earlier this week, I took part in residency interviews at my home program to select our latest class of emergency medicine residents!🏠

I love residency interview season because it gives me the opportunity to speak with medical students from across the country and hear their interesting and diverse stories.🤝

That being said, I wanted to share some quick thoughts after taking part in these interviews👨🏽‍💼. If you are currently going through the residency interview process, keep reading for some helpful advice!📖

For context, the majority of our interview days are conducted entirely over Zoom. Medical students receive an introductory session with basic information about the program followed by five 15-minute interviews that are back-to-back. After some quick closing remarks from our program director the day is done.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Have a genuine, well thought out answer for why you want to be at a particular hospital/geographic area. During several interviews, this was often my very first question. Not to sound rude, but hearing interviewees plainly say that they like the local pathology and love caring for underserved patients made me roll my eyes internally🙄.
  • If your interviewer leaves you time to ask questions, you better ask questions. This is something I harped on previously during this post. Heck, I even made a whole video about it🎥. I get it, with multiple interviews you probably have time to ask all of your important questions. But during my interviews I purposefully left 5 minutes of time for the interviewee to ask questions and she had none🤦. Unfortunately, it turned into five minutes of painfully trying to drag a conversation on, and it did not translate well during her evaluation later.
  • Try to be mindful of how lengthy your responses are. 15 minutes goes by ultra fast during the stress of a residency interview. There were a few students who spent about five minutes answering just one question🕑, and it ended up preventing me from asking other questions I was looking forward to their responses for. You don't have to give one word answers for everything, but just be mindful.
  • The hobbies and activities you list actually matter. If you mentioned interesting hobbies in your application, I'm gonna be curious and ask about them. If you don't list anything, I'm gonna ask what you do for fun to make sure you have a life outside of medicine. If you don't have an inspired answer, I'm gonna get worried😨.
  • Your Zoom setup makes a difference. While this may be a minor point, there was an interviewee who had a fairly professional, well thought-out setup for their interview, and multiple of us interviewers noticed it💻. You don't have to be Martha Stewart with the interior design💁🏼‍♀️, but good lighting and a splash of color is definitely eye-catching and could be an easy point of conversation.
  • A smile goes a long way. A residency interview is a big deal, and it's totally okay to be nervous. Despite all of that, try your best to keep a smile on your face🙂. When I saw an interviewee enter my breakout room on Zoom with a big smile on their face, I noticed that I also starting smiling and it was a more positive start to the conversation and the entire interaction.

I hope these takeaways are useful to you...now go out there and crush that next interview!💪🏻

💚 Something I love: My Rico Bello Planner has really been keeping me on track this week. Between working in the ED, doing residency interviews, and managing Med School Moose there is definitely a lot to get done.

This planner is always on my desk and clearly lists out all the tasks I have to conquer...organized and effective!

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