The residency interview season is an exciting and challenging time. Interview invitations spark the fires of hope while rejections can be a source of disappointment and uncertainty.
In order to maintain constructive and effective attitudes and actions during the residency interview season, there are several ideas and tasks applicants need to keep in mind. We will discuss some of the top 5 residency interview season action-items below.
1. Practice and Prepare
Absolutely NO ONE should go into a residency interview without extensive practice and preparation first. This would be like taking your driver’s exam without ever having driven a car. You probably get some of the general concepts, but actually understanding all the rules, expectations, nuances, common mistakes, and best strategies is a completely different story.
Working with those who have experience in the field can be a key to successful preparation. That’s why we recommend professional Interview Prep via Match A Resident, which includes hours of video and written lessons, extensive specialty-specific question banks, recorded practice answers with AI Feedback, expert coaching, and beyond.
2. Follow Up with Residency Programs
Correctly following up with residency programs can be an excellent method of garnering several more interviews than if you hadn’t done so. There are three main methods for following up: a handwritten letter, email, and a phone call. You can learn more about each in the video below:
3. Research Programs for which You Have an Interview
It is absolutely critical that you research each program you expect to interview at. This will allow you to come into the interview with plenty of extremely specific questions tailored to that program. Asking meaningful questions helps show genuine interest. Landing an interview and having no questions for the program is a huge red flag. Researching the program will also ensure you are not caught off guard about specific aspects of the program they may expect you to already be familiar with.
You can utilize resources like Match A Resident for researching detailed information regarding program criteria, Compatibility Scores, and very importantly – Interview Feedback from thousands of previous residency applicants.
4. Set Yourself Up for Success
Besides completing the skill-based preparations for your interview, make sure your mindset, setting, and physical body are prepared as well. That means having incorporated regular physical activity into your schedule during residency interview season. Storing stress in the body clouds the mind and makes preparation as well as performance more difficult. Additionally, building a confident mindset before interviews paves the way for successful delivery. Finally, make sure your setting is prepared in advance of interviews. This means your clothes, breakfast, and the like are prepared the night before. For online interviews, you should have a well-lit and well-tested, bulletproof setup. For in-person interviews, plan to know exactly where you are going and to arrive early enough to get lost (in case you do…).
5. Send a Thank You Letter
Sending a Thank You Letter cannot be understated. Failing to send a kind Thank You Letter (via email or something handwritten) shows a lack of courtesy and interest – both of which will do you no good come Rank Order List time. So do yourself the favor of completing this essentially obligatory task.
As with the rest of applying to residency, it is all about optimizing each and every aspect of your process. The residency interview season is no different.
Taking advantage of the steps above can help you ensure peak performance, setting you apart and making you one step closer to a Match.