5 Tips for Residency Interviews
Residency interviews can be very stressful – both the actual interview and the decision of which programs to rank, and in what order. This decision will determine the next 5 years of your life….no pressure!
Interviews vary from program to program, with some really testing your orthopedic knowledge, some focusing more on your CV and experience, and others just wanting to get to know you better as a person. The ideal interview, in our opinion, incorporates all of these aspects, and you should be prepared for each. Follow these 5 tips to help set yourself up for success during interview season!
#1. BE PREPARED – This cannot be over stated and is true for many aspects of the interview. For starters, you should be prepared to answer questions about orthopedic surgery, after all, you are applying for a job in this specialty. Some programs will have you take a test to start your interview, so being prepared for this aspect of the day can get you started on the right foot. Brushing up on classification systems, anatomy, and treatment principles is a great place to start when preparing to crush your interviews!
Next, be prepared for the questions you KNOW you’ll get asked, much like pimping, these are very predictable questions – “Why orthopedics?”, “Why this program?”, “Why should we pick you over other applicants?”, ‘Tell me about yourself.” You should practice answers to all of these questions that highlight why you are a unique applicant. Practice answering more fun and off the wall questions too, "If you could be any car, what car would you be and why?", "Whats your favorite candy?", "If you could be any fruit, what fruit would you be and why?". It's important when asked these questions during the interview that you come up with something, don't just say "I don't know". Practice makes perfect.
Prepare good questions for each program. Come up with 7-10 questions to ask and use these to truly learn more about the program, and its future. Undoubtedly, most of your questions will get answered throughout the interview, which is why we recommend you come up with so many.
Finally, know yourself. You’ve given all of these programs a copy of your CV, your research, extracurricular activities, etc. You should be prepared to answer questions and provide answers for anything on your application. It is very embarrassing for an applicant to stumble through questions about their own CV or experiences.
#2. BE PERSONABLE – These are the people you’re going to work with for the next 5+ years, and to an extent, the people who are going to be responsible for training you to be a great surgeon. They should get an idea of the real you. No one wants to be surprised by the person they get when you show up for your first day of work. Everyone you come in contact with matters! Similar to auditions, be nice and personable to everyone - program directors, faculty, staff, other students...EVERYONE. The more people on your side the better! Also remember that you’re interviewing programs, just as much as they’re interviewing you – make sure it’s a good fit.
#3. BE PROFESSIONAL – This can be a fine line, especially at programs where you have rotated or spent a lot of time. Often times, you’ve spent time hanging out and working with the person interviewing you, but remember that this is a professional interview. Don’t get caught in the trap of being too casual and laid back. This can be a turn off to people who may not know you well and are looking in from afar. It should also go without saying, but make sure you are well groomed and dressed professionally.
#4. BE HONEST – Don’t make up lies or excuses about anything! If you have a blemish on your application obviously don’t draw attention to it, but if asked about it, own it. This is a job interview, and you should treat it as such. Everyone wants a genuine person on their team…just keep this in mind.
#5. HAVE FUN – This is a stressful time for everyone, but have fun with it! If you’re having fun, or at least trying to, you’ll come off more confident and more fluid. It’s part of the process, and everyone has gone through it. Having a good time can go a long way!
Keep these 5 tips in mind when preparing for residency interviews, and we'll see you on the other side!
There are a lot of funny interview questions that get asked. What fun or off the wall questions have you been asked or have heard of being asked? Let us know below!