Tuesday 15 November 2011

Dealing with residency interview questions - 2

1. Why did you apply to this program?
This question is asking you why did you chose this program over others. Even though an honest answer would be like - "I applied to all programs in FM/IM/psyh/peds/path etc and there was no discrimination during the application process so there is no special reason why I chose you over another because I didn't" NEVER say that in an interview. Try to maintain exclusivity and indicate specifically "I applied to this program because I am attracted to __." The blank can be opportunities for fellowship, the city, the fact that your significant other also is in the program/city. The answer to this question can potentially change the outcome of the interview.

2. Why this specialty?
This should be obvious to the faculty if they had read your personal statement, but a lot of them don't. If you get this question then use this opportunity to convince program of your interest in the speciality. Appear well read, if you are going to say you want to do heme-onc after residency and that is why you want to do internal medicine, make sure you are able to continue the conversation. The answer to this question can potentially change the outcome of the interview.

3. What regions did you apply?
This question is similar to question 1 above, but on very broad terms.

4. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
This is a great interview question because the interviewer is asking you about your goals, ambitions and the direction you plan on heading. There is no wrong or right answer to this question but there is always an answer that fits best with the program or faculty question. Read up a bit about the program and the faculty that are interviewing you and use this information to tailor your response. So standard answers are - practicing in private practice, academics, industry, pharmaceutical company, even some say gone back home to work etc. The answer to this question can potentially change the outcome of the interview.


5. What have you been doing since graduation from medical school?
This question is an elaboration of your CV type question. Importantly, if you have gaps in you CV, this is a stupendous opportunity to clarify those gaps. Remember, that in your CV you can not write excuses, reasons or justifications of why your graduated in 2005 and are applying for residency in 2008 with a gap in between, this question gives you a chance to do just that.

6. What special areas are you interested in family medicine/psychiatry?
This is akin to asking what fellowship would you like to do after internal medicine. There are a few areas of sub-specialization you can do after FM and psych, know about these options so you answer specificaly as to what you want to do after residency. Read up about the fellowship options after family medicine residency here. 

7. Where do you want to work later on in your career? Do you want to do inpatient or outpatient in the future?
This is usually asked in programs that have a career track outpatient programs. Also faculty may be interested in knowing if you want to pursue primary care or if want to be an internaist/hospitalist. An answer to this question will not change the outcome of your interview

8. Do you like to do procedures?
Again, you may answer yes or no, it will not affect the chances of program ranking you.

9. Are you interested in a fellowship? If so, why that fellowship?
This in reality has no bearing on your ranking chances but is very important reason as to why you chose the place. You can use this answer to your advantage and reiterate what was discussed in first few questions.

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