Here at my program residency interviews have begun, and I've already had the pleasure of meeting with awesome applicants who are all nervous for their interviews. And steal the free cookies at the interview lunches, that's my real motivation ;)
Today I wanted to share a huge list of interview questions I put together myself throughout my dozens of interviews last year, and a bit of general advice on how to answer them. I really hope you guys get some use out of them!
Getting to know you questions
These questions usually want to get down to who you are as a person, what your motivations are, and really just get down to whether or not you're the type of person that would fit at their program. Most of the interviewers are faculty who will be working closely with residents - they want someone who they would enjoy being on call with or working in clinic with. Here are some of the questions I got:
Tell me about yourself.
How did you end up here? (Similarly stated, Has medicine always been the plan/How did you become interested in medicine?)
What would your friends say is a negative about you?
Pick something honest but relatively harmless.
What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
What was your best job?
You want your answer to highlight a passion of yours that you want the committee to know about. For me it was mentorship and teaching, so I always brought up my summer spent teaching neuroscience and genetics classes to high school girls who I lived with and mentored over the summer (sort of like a summer science camp counselor, but we dissected brains)!
Tell me something about you not on your CV.
Describe yourself in three words.
What makes you unique?
What has made you successful?
What do you like to do for fun/What do you do outside of work?
What are you most proud of?
If your house caught on fire, what would you save if you could only choose three things?
What is the most risky thing you have ever done?/ What sort of risks have you taken in life?
Do you have a role model/Who has been most influential in your life?
What is your favorite book/author/recent book you read?
If you weren’t in medicine, what would be your fantasy job?
What was your favorite/least favorite clinical rotation?
As your advocate on the board, what's the one quality you want me to get across to them?
Getting to know how you deal with difficult situations
How do you deal with stressful situations? These questions really boil down to how you keep your composure under pressure and whether or not you're a person that can walk through the fire with them. They want real examples of mistakes or dilemmas and what you did, think of something! It's a little concerning if you don't have any experiences to talk about, then you come off as either not being helpful in/avoiding those situations, or someone who is just oblivious - none of these are good things. They want to know that they can count on you when they need to.
Describe a situation in which you made a mistake, and what you did to remedy the situation.
Describe a situation in which you failed.
Describe an ethical dilemma you faced.
Tell me about a difficult case you dealt with when you were a medical student. How did you handle it?
What is the most difficult decision you had to make?
Describe a difficult time in your life and how you dealt with it.
What kind of personality traits do you find most difficult to deal with in coworkers?
What kind of patient do you find it most difficult to relate to?
Getting to know your aspirations, ie what type of resident and physician you plan to be.
Even if you don't quite know what exactly you want yet, come up with something and stick with it. Package yourself up neatly so that your previous experiences and aspirations fit together and make sure it is consistent with what that program offers.
What do you want in a (insert specialty of choice) program?
Make sure to have answers for both your specialty and a preliminary/transitional year program if you have to apply for those as well (ie my answers for what I wanted from a prelim program were very different from my answers for what I wanted from a derm program).
Think about things like size of the department and how many residents they have, the culture of a place, breadth (or focus) of clinical cases, etc.
What are the three most important qualities that make a great a resident?
What can you bring to this program?
Where do you see yourself in (5/10/20) years)?
Describe what your typical day will be like from morning to night in 10 years.
Why do you want to come to city X (or stay in city X)? Why would you ever leave city Y?
Do not underestimate the importance of this question. Residency interviews are also a big ego game, residency programs want to invite/accept residents who will actually be ranking them highly, so if they don't think you're coming they may prematurely cut you off their list. If you have family there, or best friends, or some type of connection that makes you more likely to choose that city make it known!
Why do you want to work with our patient population?
Random questions I got...
All of these questions seemed to be getting at more of "who you are," and if you're not prepared for them, they can show a little more than what you want to portray to the committee (ie, you get asked the joke question and only have dirty jokes in your head). Stay honest in your answers, but if you plan for them ahead of time you can at least come up with good answers!
Would you rather be perfect but late or good but on time?
Who is your historical hero, and who is your modern hero?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Teach me something.
Tell me a joke.
And don't forget! Have well-researched questions to ask at the end of the interview! They can be regarding something that caught your eye on the website, something a current resident mentioned during the pre-interview dinner or tour, just have at least 2-3 questions prepared that show further interest in the program.
Would love to hear what other questions people got or any other comments you guys might have! Good luck with interviews!!