Before the Interview

  1. If you are going to cancel an interview, cancel early. The residency world is amazingly small.
  2. Dress in business attire for the interview.
  3. When flying, carry your interview attire on the plane with you!
  4. If you arrive early, check out the facilities on your own and get a feel for the city.
  5. If there is an “informal” event for applicants the night before, remember that this too is part of the interview. Residents and attendings who attend will be looking for your “fit” with the program. If alcohol is served, imbibe in moderation or not at all.
  6. Be on time; better yet, be early. Allow yourself time for parking and using the restroom before the appointed hour. Allow a full day to each interview.
  7. Know how to pronounce each interviewer's name.
  8. Be polite to everyone, including the residency coordinator/assistant. You never know who has a say in the process.

During the Interview

  1. Be familiar with your specialty: typical procedures, types of sub-specialties, outlook for the future.
  2. Take the initiative by shaking your interviewer's hand and introducing yourself. Sit forward in your chair and maintain good eye contact. At the conclusion, thank the interviewer and be sure to convey your pleasure in meeting them.
  3. Remember that everything you say is part of the record. Even when speaking informally with residents, be careful what you say.
  4. Don't ramble. Be brief and concise.
  5. For procedural specialties, be prepared to demonstrate a skill
  6. Taking notes during an interview should be handled carefully. Have a notebook handy and write down information that is new or important. However, we don't recommend taking copious notes during an interview. If there are significant comments, concerns, or particularly good or bad points about the program, that come up during an interview, write them down afterwards.
  7. Don't let a bad interview get you down!

According to federal law, you do not have to answer certain questions. Although it is not illegal for interviewers to ask nor is it illegal for you to answer, it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of this information. Discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or handicapped status is illegal. "Sex" includes discrimination on the basis of child-rearing plans. It is perfectly acceptable for you to politely decline to answer on the basis that you do not feel it is pertinent to your candidacy. Sometimes a joking rebuke of the question works well, but you must develop your own style for handling these difficult questions.

After the Interview

  1. As soon as possible after the interview, record your impressions and update your checklist.
  2. When you get home, send a thank you note to recognize their hospitality and to reaffirm your interest in the program.
  3. Use these tips to help you think through assessing the residency program.