Top 15 Residency Interviewing Tips

Be genuine in your conversation

We can usually see through those who seem to be saying what we want to hear

Know the program

Be prepared–make sure you know the basic facts about the program/read the website. Have questions ready to ask. “Oh, I heard it was a great program…” is not the ideal answer. If for some unusual reason you haven’t had time to read about the program ahead of time, try to expand upon the elements of the program you’d heard about in the introduction/tour.  For example, “I didn’t know about the family stress clinic until I interviewed, but I am really excited about it.”

Show some positive energy

Preferably in the form of energy or enthusiasm for some aspect of the program you are visiting.  Programs look for people who want to be there!  It doesn’t have to be gushing – just energy and interest. And, if you can’t find some energetic interest for something in the program, maybe you don’t want to be there – use that information to make your end of the decision.

Whatever question you’re asked – be totally honest

Or say you don’t feel comfortable talking about it if it’s inappropriate.  A whiff of dishonesty or lack of integrity is the kiss of death, and FAR more problematic than a weak grade or other misstep.

Always have a token question ready

Interviewers often ask “do you have any questions for me?”  Saying “no thanks” makes us feel either you don’t know much about the program or aren’t interested in finding out more.  It’s OK if you use the same question over and over again; it’s good to get perspective from several different people within the same program.  One of my favorites is “what do you see as the strengths (or weaknesses) of your program?”

Be enthusiastically true to yourself

There may be aspects of the training process or even the field of FM that do not appeal to you as an applicant, but rather than mention or focus on these, focus on the areas that excite you, truly excite you, and talk enthusiastically about them.  Relate your other passions in life to your choice of FM in a non-cheesy way. 

Know why you are going into family medicine

Be prepared to answer this question succinctly. No need to state your entire application.

Attend any extras

If you’re serious about the program, make sure to participate (for example, resident dinners)

Convey the 2 or 3 things that you absolutely wanted your interviewer to know

Make sure you get these points across prior to the end of the interview (the ones you prepared prior to interviewing). You should expect to have multiple interviews during your visit so pick the interviewer you feel would be the best recipient of this information (perhaps the residency director). Remember, interviewing is a special opportunity to highlight points or aspects of your application that YOU think are special – help the interviewer understand your “specialness.”

Treat everyone (office staff, nurses, residency coordinator) with kindness and respect

Be familiar with your own application/Re-read your personal statement

Stay in touch

Absolutely express your interest (if the shoe fits) to faculty and/or residents.

Take down notes on what you liked and disliked after each interview

This will help you compare programs at the end of the interview trail. Be sure to include your emotional response in your notes

Make a list of your strengths and weakness and be prepared to talk about them

Prepare answers to common questions in advance

Don’t memorize/be natural. Do you have any specific interests within the discipline?

What are you looking for in a residency program?

Why Family Medicine?