Good questions to ask during your residency interviews

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Medical students are often nervous about where they will match when it comes residency time. Where you do your residency is an important stepping stone for the rest of your career. In addition to your clinical evaluations and letters of recommendation, residency programs also take your interview into consideration.

During your residency interview, you will likely be asked a lot of questions about your experience, background and goals. Before your interview, you may be thinking about how you would answer typical interview questions. It’s a great idea to consider your answers ahead of time to feel better prepared.

Why You Need to Ask Questions

A residency interview should not be one-sided. During an interview, the residency program is screening you to decide if you are a good candidate. But you should also try to determine if the program is a good fit. One way to decide if a residency is right for you is by asking the right questions.

It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions ahead of time. If you are nervous during your interview, you may draw a blank and forget what you wanted to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask the same questions to different members of the interviewing panel. It may be helpful to get different perspectives.

Interview committees expect questions from their applicants. In fact, if you did not have questions, you may come across as uninterested. Although questions are acceptable, avoid focusing exclusively on one topic, such as your salary. Asking a variety of questions related to different aspects of the program is a good idea.

If possible, ask current residents some questions. Your exposure to current residents and opportunities to interact may vary by the interview. For example, some interview panels include have a senior resident. If you have a chance to talk with residents, take advantage and ask questions. They may be one of the best ways to learn more about the program and get honest answers.

What Questions Should You Ask?

Residencies are not one size fits all. When deciding what to ask, consider what matters most to you. For instance, a resident’s schedule can be tough, and it is good to know what to expect. Consider asking how many hours residents work and what the call schedule is like. It is also helpful to understand how you will be evaluated during your residency. Will it be a face to face meeting, an online evaluation or a combination of methods?

Maybe you want to work with a specific patient demographic or conduct research. If that is the case, ask about opportunities for each. It may also be a good idea to ask some general questions about the program, such as what the program’s strengths and weaknesses. You may also want to know what type of fellowships residents get after leaving the program and what advantages the programs has over others in the area.

 

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