Tips for Acing Your Residency Interview

If you received residency interview invites, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for the interview. Make sure to read everything you should know about how to prepare before, what to expect during, and what to make sure to do after the interview.

Preparation BEFORE the interview

Do your residency interview homework. Learn about:

The program: Spend time researching the program’s history and make note of anything unique. Using Match A Resident’s Interview Feedback Feature is a great place to start.

Know the people that you may meet: You can do this by reviewing the program’s website and social media accounts. Making a good impression at the right time can be the difference in getting ahead of the pack.

Location: It’s important to become familiar with the area where the program is located. This shows that you’ve thought about what it would be like to make your home in the area.

Remember everything in your MyERAS Application: Every experience you list in your ErasCV can become a topic of interest, which you should be able to discuss in detail. Be prepared to talk about any awards or accomplishments you listed, volunteer experiences and how they’ve enriched your path, hobbies, and everything else you’ve submitted.

Review your Supporting Documents: Know what you put in your Personal Statement, as they can ask questions about anything you mentioned. Be ready to discuss your story, qualities as a physician, and future goals. Being familiar with any Letters of Recommendation available to you is also to your benefit.

Think of questions to ask the program: Interviewers want to know that you’re serious about their program, so you’ll want to have some questions to show that you’re genuinely interested. *Stay away from money, hours, and other superficial topics.

Practice answering questions!

Here are some common questions that interviewers ask:

–        Tell me about yourself.

–        What are your strengths/weaknesses?

–        Why did you choose this specialty?

–        What do you want to do after residency?

–        Why are you interested in our program?

–        What is most important to you during residency?

–        Tell me about the last book you read.

Use Match A Resident’s Interview Prep services to learn how to answer interview questions, practice, and get AI feedback on your practice responses! Premium access also includes coaching sessions with an interview expert.

Practice (out loud) and repeat.

Repetition helps you remember your key points, and it enables you to deliver them in a conversational way. When you first start practicing, you’ll likely sound like you’re reading from a script; the more times you repeat the answer, you’ll find your personality, quirks, and mannerisms slowly becoming part of the response. This is what leads to having a conversational tone during the interview, which is exactly what you should aim for.

Have mental bullet notes for application questions. While developing your answers for interview questions, do not memorize a full answer. Instead, create mental bulleted lists of notes, so you can speak more naturally.


Checking your setup for virtual residency interview

Remember to check:

–        WiFi speed/reliability

–        Lighting (consistent source, flattering)

–        Audio/Camera (high quality, flattering angle)

–        Visual Background (clean, appropriately interesting)

–        Background noise (eliminating it)

Check your set-up well before your interviews. After you feel confident about your set-up, make sure to schedule time to test it before every interview to ensure everything is working properly. Once this is out of the way, you’ll be able to relax and get into a positive mind frame before the interview begins.


Pick out professional attire

You’ll want to look polished and sophisticated, which will help communicate that you are taking the opportunity seriously and that you understand professional norms.


For in-person interviews, arrive early. Create a strong and positive impression from the start. Show up at least 30 minutes early. Have contact information for someone in the program, just in case you get lost.

Be aware of how you are communicating.

Sit up straight and avoid unnecessary fidgeting and fiddling. Do your best to show confidence as well as receptiveness. Do not lean aggressively forward or become too relaxed, slumping in your chair and splaying your legs apart! Throughout the interview day, you want your body to demonstrate how enthusiastic, honest and open you are.

Know and be comfortable with yourself. When you get nervous, you may exhibit more unnatural habits. One must be knowledgeable about their body habits in order to properly keep them in check while interviewing.

While speaking, consider how you are conveying your thoughts. Do your best to answer questions fully without rambling, show your enthusiasm for your experiences and goals, and always speak genuinely. If you get tripped up on words or taken off guard by a difficult question, smile, keep moving forward with the conversation and stay in the present moment.

Articulate your thoughts. The fewer fillers such as “Um, er, like, uhh, etc.” the better you will come across. Unfortunately, saying “like” often makes you come off as less mature and desirable from the program’s point of view. Additionally, try not to overcomplicate ideas or topics.

It is okay to pause and briefly reflect on difficult questions. It is better to appear thoughtful and introspective than to spit out whatever nonsense first comes to mind.

Use the last bit of your interview to really drive home a statement of interest. Make sure to tell your top program(s) why you want to be there, and remind them how much you want it! This can leave a lasting impression, which is crucial!

Use appropriate eye contact, smile, and most importantly, be yourself!



Prepare now for Successful Residency Ranking

After you’ve aced your residency interviews, remember to send Thank You Letters to reinforce your interest in the program. Make sure you also read about sending Letters of Intent to programs that you are more interested in. Remember, Residency Experts is here to help you with our Residency Document editing service!