Interview season has arrived! By the middle of October, students will generally have received the majority of their interviews. Always remind yourself that once you have that interview, you have just as good a chance and being in their next residency class as anyone else who was invited! You are meant to be there. WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
While the total number of recommended residency interviews does vary by specialty, in general, you will want to strive for completing 10-12 interviews. Please check-in with your specialty Chair in mid-October. Share with them where you have received interviews. This step in the advising process is very important. If you have not received an adequate number of interviews, it will be important to submit additional applications to “safety” programs. While it is still possible to submit applications to additional programs in mid-October, fewer interviews are offered as the interview season progresses. In addition, I will be reaching out to individual students this week who may want to consider additional application strategies for success based on their current ERAS submissions.
If you have not yet heard from your top program, you may want to consider calling and inquiring as to the status of your application. However, proceed cautiously. Programs receive an overwhelming number of applications and any additional correspondence/communication can be a burden. Always be very courteous and simply state that you are inquiring about the “status of your application.” Express your interest in their program and thank them for their consideration and time..”
I have included some key advising points below and have attached several documents to this email to assist in your interview preparation. As always, please reach out if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance.
1. Interview questions from post-match surveys
Each year following the match, Chairs complete a post-match survey to relay information about their residency application experience. Students are asked to share the interview questions they were asked.
This document details questions prior VCOM students were asked during their interviews.
- Possible interview questions from The Successful Match 2017
Released with written permission provided on 6/19/2018
- AAMC Recommendations for questions students can ask residency programs (https://www.aamc.org/download/77936/data/residencyquestions.pdf)
- During your interviews, you will most certainly be asked, “Do you have any questions for us?”
The best strategy to be prepared for this question is to research the program before you go! Know the major strengths (or weaknesses) of the program. This will help you tailor some specific questions to show your interviewer how interested you are in them because you have done your homework! Avoid questions about leave and pay. This information is typically available on the residency web page. In addition, please be aware that there is no negotiating either of these contractual obligations as they will be standard for all employed residents at the institution.
- Preparing for your interview:
A PowerPoint presentation by Danielle Denny, Administrative Assistant to the Depts. of OB-GYN and Pediatrics
TIPS FOR INTERVIEWING
Dr. Thomas’ advice for Interview etiquette:
- Interview scheduling (and canceling)
If you must cancel an interview, it should be done with as much notice as possible. Never cancel an interview with less than 2-weeks notice except for true emergencies. This demonstrates poor professionalism and reflects poorly on you and VCOM. Remember, program directors know each other and will talk! Furthermore, if an interview is canceled too late, the program is unable to extend an interview to anyone off their waiting list and students do not have time to rearrange their schedules. Remember, you might be that student who is invited for an interview off the waiting list, so be thoughtful of all involved in this process. If you do need to cancel, you may email or call. If you are canceling with a short lead time (i.e. two weeks) an email cancellation should be followed with a phone call. A sample statement could be, “Thank you for the opportunity to interview. At this time, I would like to cancel/decline the interview. Thank you for your consideration.”
- Meet the residents
Many programs will offer a time to informally meet the residents. This may be the night before. Try if at all possible to attend. Dress appropriately. Don’t imbibe too much alcohol. Remember you are always on interview. If you make a bad impression, it will be reported back to the program.
- The night before the interview.
Double check the time and location and ensure that you have a back-up alarm. Be prepared! Remember sample questions and think about your answers. Think about a patient presentation (general, not a scripted H&P) that you can present if asked. Review the program where you are interviewing and try to ask questions that are specific to that location (not something you can quickly find on the website). This always makes a good impression and shows that you have a sincere interest in the program.
- Interview day
Wear a suit on interview day. Be early or at the very least on time to the interview. Leave extra time for traffic, parking, finding your way in the hospital. Have questions prepared for your interview. If you can’t remember or make up new questions, ask ones you have asked others at that program. See if you get different answers! Be polite to everyone!
Overall, just remember to be sincere in your answers and heartfelt! At the end of the day, take some notes on the program. It may be helpful to create a chart. After all your interviews, those call schedules and nuances will all blend together! Be sure to collect business cards/names/email/addresses to be able to contact residents, faculty and staff later.
- Attendance policy:
Remember the VCOM attendance policy which is in the student handbook. Try to schedule as many interviews as possible during your research/scholarly activity period. The attendance policy at your rotation may differ from VCOM’s policy so be sure to check with your individual site regarding their attendance expectations.
- BE COURTEOUS TO EVERYONE!
Be nice to everyone whom you meet. The program coordinators have a direct line to the program directors. Often, you will have the most contact with program coordinators and administrative staff for scheduling interviews, checking applications, etc. ALWAYS BE POLITE! Everyone deserves respect and remember you are representing yourself and VCOM.