while it is important to answer all the questions we are asked during an interview. It is equally important to ask the right questions to the interviewers as well. Since we prepare so much time and effort mentally and physically to ensure that our interviews go well, we should also spend a little time coming up with good thoughtful questions that make the interviewer interested in us more than just what you impress them with usual interview.
The following are good ideas to start with when you work on your questions to ask the programs.
1. Look for ideas on the program website and note down things that are not described or mentioned. Ask questions that are not readily available on website, program brochure, AMA FREIDA or other sources where a resident applicant may commonly look first. There is no point in repeating what is easily available. You will save some embarrassment because if you ask a question whose answer is online, the PD could easily say: look it up and that really makes you look lazy.
2. Questions regarding problems in the program. No program is exempt of issues which plague any organization. Interpersonal conflicts, insubordination, poor leadership, lack of commitment on part of faculty and trainees are all common problems that can plague any program to a certain extent. Do not be afraid to ask those in charge if these are an issue and to what extent they believe are affecting the program and the training.
3. Residency related questions: There is a subgroup of issues that affect teaching programs, which may have direct repercussions on your training. Make sure you ask if there have been any residents whose contract expired and was not renewed and why? Were there any residents who were expelled and what was the issue? Did anyone drop out of the program voluntarily and if so why did they do it? This is important because, malignant programs are strife with residents that are unhappy. Even one resident leaving the program is one too many (because the curriculum and support structure and overall program sucks). Keep this in mind and in many cases, this will be the only opportunity for you to ask for these things.
|Good Questions to an interviewer can often create a great impression|
4. Faculty related questions: Is there a major shake up in regards to faculty leaving? This is important because after all the quality and nature of the resident training depends heavily on the kind of faculty who teach. If there is a mass exodus of experienced faculty then it may be because the program and the institution are in trouble. Ask if they have hired new faculty and was this in addition to or a replacement for some one who left? This will be an important distinction – if they hired people because they are expanding, then it is totally different than hiring someone because others are jumping ship. Ask these questions.
5. Changes and restructuring of program: Are there any changes that are anticipated in the next 1 years or 3 years. This is important for 2 reasons. Short term changes will likely affect your immediate working, while long term changes will affect your overall satisfaction and benefit you will obtain from program.
6. Perceived weakness and negative issues: Ask the faculty and the program director if they perceive any weakness in the program and if they do, what are they doing to address those issues.
REMEMBER ASKING THE ABOVE QUESTIONS IS TOUGH BUT NO NEED TO ACT TOUGH ASKING THESE QUESTIONS! Doing so, you can and will jeopardize your interview and affect your chances of matching. So a few pointers are required here as well.
1. use TACT in asking the questions: don’t blurt these questions in a group interview, take some time out privately and make good use of during the interview with faculty or program director (PD). No one likes to be put in a spot in front of a crowd and certainly not the faculty
2. Use FINESSE in framing the question. There is not much to say here except that it is one thing to ask, “what are your perceived issues with the program” and completely another to ask “what’s wrong with you people?”
3. Question APPROPRIATELY: when asked if you have any questions, then using that cue, go ahead and ask your questions. Do be an inquisitor and fire question upon question without giving enough time for the interviewer to think and formulate an answer.
4. Do your RESEARCH on the program: This is because you don’t want to look disinterested, and to ask things that are readily available on line or multiple other sources for the job. This will raise red flags during your interview.