Finally, after years of school, you’re ready to start your residency! But between you and your lifelong dream looms the all important interview (and accompanying residency itself). You’ve probably been interviewed a few times before, but this one could be one of the most important of your life. No pressure, right?
Here are 4 tips that can help show them just how amazing you are.
1.Arrive having done your homework
Why go into an important interview being less than 100% ready? There are several ways to be prepared so you that can put your best foot forward:
Research the institution and your interviewers
Learn about those who will be speaking with you. Spend time online researching them. You stand a better chance of leaving a great impression if you are familiar with their work or accomplishments and can speak directly to those kinds of details. They are guaranteed to impress.
But even if you can’t find out who your interviewers are, you should be able to glean valuable information about the institution online. Understand what their specialties are, any notable doctors they’ve employed, what they’re working on, and their overall mission.
Try to make your interview more personal than simply saying, “I’ll work anywhere that will help me fulfill my residency requirements.” Show them you have a good initial understanding of them.
Have a 5-year plan
Your interviewers will probably ask about your plans after residency. Be upfront about your aspirations and goals. Do you see yourself staying there and looking for a chief residency position? Or might you want to return to school?
No matter what your plans are, you’ll want to make sure that the residency position you accept will be the best fit for you.
Practice your answers
When you study for a test, you don’t know every question your professor might ask. But usually you’ll have a pretty good idea. The same is true for an interview.
Practicing your answers will help you stay focused and on topic. Be prepared with answers when you hear certain keywords and catchphrases. Your interviewers are not expecting you to be a professional speaker, but they do want to know you can communicate well, as that skill will be an important part of the job.
Questions you may be asked:
- Why did you want to interview with us?
Use your answer to this question to showcase your knowledge of the individual program, including your research of the interviewers, your potential teachers, and what you hope to learn.
- What strengths and qualities would make you a good physician? What are your weaknesses?
While you want to focus mostly on your positive personal qualities, this is also an opportunity to highlight your work experience. Don’t just say that you have a good bedside manner; tell them specifically how you’ve interacted with patients in the past. Keep your answers relevant to your specialty.
When talking about weaknesses, don’t sugarcoat. Everyone has their weaknesses. Highlight just how you bounce back from difficulties and work to overcome shortcomings.
- Why did you decide to be a physician?
This is an opportunity to let your interviewers know you a little better. Share what inspires and motivates you.
- Why did you choose your specialty?
Talk about why you’re passionate about your specialty, what you hope to accomplish, and why it’s the best fit for you.
- Do you think you will fit in with the culture at our institution?
While an institution may look great on their website, you might find that it isn’t quite what you expected once you’re there onsite. Certainly you don’t want to accept a position where you won’t fit in.
2.Dress to impress
First impressions can color relationships, as we all know. When you make a good first impression, it can help you overcome any missteps you might make during the interview. If you want to be seen as a professional, it’s a good idea to dress like one.
Leave the scrubs at home. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, your shoes are shined, and your hair looks good. Silence your phone and keep it out of sight.
3.Timing is everything
You may be nervous on the day of your interview, which is not unusual. If you’re especially anxious about getting lost or arriving late, check an online map to make sure where you’re going. Perhaps even drive to the interview location the day before so you know exactly how to get there.
Arrive at the interview early; after all, it’s far better to be 20 minutes early than 2 minutes late. Bring extra copies of your CV in a professional briefcase or binder, just in case.
4.Ask questions that will impress
Near the end of most interviews, you will probably be asked, “Do you have any questions for us?”
Although this question seems innocuous, it’s important. It’s key to give an impressive answer. Now is your opportunity to separate yourself from your competition instantly. Ask insightful, relevant questions about the institution, your potential co-workers, the program, and the working conditions. Prepare questions such as:
- What traits do you look for in your ideal candidate?
- Where do you see this program or institution being in 5 years?
Also, be prepared to ask questions based on the interview itself. Take notes. Most importantly, think about whether this institution could be the best fit for you.
If you’re looking for top-notch residency programs, PhysEmp can help you find them. We have the best jobs and the most up to date contact information for employers throughout the country. So start your search today!