CONGRATULATIONS 🎉!!! You made it to interview season!!! You should be proud of yourself, you have accomplished so much getting here, taking the USMLE exams, struggling with money, family issues, rotations, getting your letters, etc you have, really accomplished so much already, and the best is yet to come!!
This will be a LONG post including:
1- How to write a letter of interest 2- Interview skills
3- Most frequent interview questions
4- How to write a thank you letters + examples for different specialties
5-How to write a letter of intend
Interview season could be tough, stressful and may seem endless, but it’s time to relax, enjoy the process and meet cool people and get to know more about the hospital that you'll be working soon!
I'm on vacations this week, already finished my first rotation of Ob floor, night float, NICU, Ultrasound, two GYN rotations, and now going into my second night float starting next week! :)
I'm taking this week to enjoy with my family, friends, study, work on some research projects that I want to publish next week, and write this article on my blog
I have been wanting to make a post about interview season for some time, and fortunately today I found the time to work on it, hope you guys enjoy it!!
Also next week I'm planning to do an Instagram live video going through all of this information, you can follow me in: @doctor.sebas :)
I'LL START TELLING YOU TO:
ALWAYS MAKE EXCELLENT FIRST IMPRESSION
• Always be on time and dress approperly .
•Look your interviews in the eye, smile and greet them by name
(Other years I would tell you to offer your hand for a firm handshake but impossible this year since it's all be online, and specially with COVID lol)
Be humble, be nice with everyone – They are watching you all times 🤗
•Pay attention to every comment the interviewer makes and take notes afterwards. Get the names, including spellings, of the interviewers
You will then send a TYLetter & make it personalized mentioning those facts! 📩 (Examples below)
Letter of Interest
(Please put in your own words)
Letters are of interest could be really helpful sometimes, and I know many people that got extra interviews just from reaching out to the program
( I personally got 3 extra interviews just from doing this!!)
When you e-mail programs sending letters of interest or when preparing for your interview make sure to first read about the program, location, attendings publications, those are things that not many people will pay attention and you can distinguish yourself from asking or mentioning different things from that!
Eg, if the PD was doing research on a topic and you happen to do something similar that’s something that you can bring that! Or even if you haven’t, you can mention that you read his article and you have similar ideas and want to work in those projects!
Keep them very simple, mention in a few words why you like the program, a short introduction about yourself, and your ACFMG number/ contact info.
A questions that I got a lot is:
Who do I send this letter/ e-mail to?
I sent them to the e-mail that show up in ERAS (contact e-mail), sometimes it's the program director, sometimes the program coordinator, and sometimes it's just a general address.
When you start you letter you if it's addressed to the PC, you will start as... Dear Mr. x or Ms. x, right? but... How do know if the Program coordinator is a man or a women?
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TIP THAT ILL GIVE YOU, AND ILL EXPLAIN WHY!
Many times it will only say the last name, so it's impossible to know!
So the trick here is to copy that e-mail in google and you will get the full name of that person :) it work's most of the times!!
Knowing what’s around the Hospital also will make you sound a different.
Eg, in one of my interviews for Michigan State University when they asked me why I would go to Michigan I told them all the things that they had around the town and fun things to do, many attendings and residents had no idea about these places, they looked at me very surprised knowing that I really looked deeply into the program and the city!
Residency interview behaviors
that will impress impress the Program Director
Program Director’s survey! (Credits:Ohio State University)
The interviews that are the best are the ones that the PD can can sit down and talk to the candidate and not get to any rehearsed questions. These are the people that when the fifteen minute knock warning occurs, it feels like they just walked in the door, meaning the the interview went really smooth and just flew away. It happens with candidates that are pleasant, presentable, and easy to talk to. Candidates that bring that extra spice to the table!
The candidate who comes well prepared, knows about the program (from at least what can be gleaned from the program's webpage), knows the specialty, asks appropriate questions, but also allows time for the interviewers to talk and ask questions. Applicant that is formal but comfortable. Articulate in talking about their own research. Some candidates go even further and have already talked with current or former graduates.
Applicants that are well-rounded, goal-oriented, driven to succeed are the ones that will impress the program. Interest, inquisitiveness, & great interpersonal skills are the key to the interview day. Gather baseline program information from websites, brochures, residents in the program - then verify the details with the faculty or program director. Willingness to discuss problem areas on the CV in an honest straightforward and poised way. Sharing one insight about my program that lets the interviewer know you have looked seriously at the website or participated in conversation with current residents.
When you are interviewing:
1. Lean forward in your chair.
2. Engage your interviewer in the discussion.
3. Be interested and ask questions about the city as well as the program.
4. Use first person plural "we" when discussing program. Like when will "we" do our first c-section? It shows your interest and that you feel like part of the program. (Ob-Gyn)
5. Have a list of questions to review if they are not covered in the interview. Taking occasional notes when appropriate. Aware of the specialties of the faculty and general idea of research if appropriate.Knowing about the program is key.
6. Also be super kind to the residency coordinator! They have more input into this process than most candidates give them credit for having.
7. Have a sense of “appropriate” confidence with easy going but reserved manner and excellent communication skills.
8. Always act interested. Be nice to everyone you meet.
Don't ask the chair or the PD what the salary or call schedules are - these are details that could have been found with MINIMAL preparation by the applicant. If you're falling asleep - find a way to wake up. Drink coffee, mate, soda, but wake up!!
Don't "bad mouth" other programs during an interview. The person interviewing you may be a graduate of that program or may be related to that program director.
Don't be arrogant! Arrogance is a real turn off. Odd behaviors that violate conventions such as taking something off of the interviewer's desk is an automatic do not rank. Texting or responding to phone calls during informal meetings with faculty/residents is also a big DON'T DO.
Don't dress inappropriately, have a strong handshake, answer questions, use appropriate language, make eye contact, be able to carry a conversation, understand the research that the applicant has been involved with, and never treat the support staff poorly (secretaries/front desk attendants/etc).
Never act arrogant when meeting with residents and have a narcissistic behavior. Drinking too much at before-interview socials, talking about other students on the interview trail, will make you look really bad
(This year interviews are online so you don't have to worry about pre-residency interview, even though I loved them to get to know more about the program and the residents)
Avoid subjects which will control you and set your emotions reeling.
ALL ABOUT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Ok now it's time to practice questions, this isa list with commonly asked questions, go through them and also ask your friends and add the ones that they tell you. Please comment with extra questions if you have good ones :)
Ø Tell me about yourself?
Ø What do you want to know about the program?
Ø Why did you choose this specialty?
Ø Why are you interested in this program?
Ø What are your goals?
Ø What did you do before medicine? (To an older student)
Ø Why should we pick you?
Ø What are your strengths?
Ø What are your weaknesses?
Ø Where else have you applied?
Ø Are you interested in academic or in clinical medicine?