Friday, November 13, 2009


If you have got an interview through ERAS that means another fair interview because the program has all the information about you and then they have selected you for interview.
Interview through contacts (recommendations):
You would find many people saying that these contact interviews are just to make you happy but just think that a lot of people have contacts but they do not get interviews. So I would say that even in these interviews you should try to do your best.

These programs are generally looking for good candidates, with good communication skills and they do not ask you technical or professional questions like some clinical vignettes and MCQs test before interviews, but that does not mean that you should not read anything.

Try to do some study especially some Emergency medicine topics. These programs would have a very formal interview and would probably consist of your interests, hobbies, future goals, objectives and things like that. Typical interview questions would probably be:
1. Initial introduction, how was your journey, any difficulties and things like that.
2. What are your interests?
3. What do you like about our program and why you have selected our program?
4. What can you do about our program, which some one else can not do? (tough question).
4a. What type of person are you, means academician or practitioner?
5. If you have done some research, they might ask you what were your specific interests about this research?
6. What is your future plans? In terms of fellowship, private practice and some research interests.
7. Most of the programs would like to know about your future affiliations to their program. So try to establish a root with the city in which you are being interviewed and tell them your plans that you would be staying in USA and do your fellowship and then join the faculty. Green card holders and citizens have advantage on this part. They are interested to know, how long you will stay with them because nobody wants you to train and let you go.
8. They might ask you about something that is extra-ordinary in your CV, so be prepare for that.

9. In the interview board, there might be some people who have done research in the same area as yours. Please do not try to impress them or produce any conflict with them. Those people have spent their lives in research and your 20-30 minutes interview can not change their ideas instead it could hurt your chances. Those people just want to know that you are hard working and would perform the duties of a resident very honestly and comfortably.
10. Do not try to go into minute details of things like New research, development ad never discuss any controversial issue.
11. Do not show them that you are strictly Type-A personality. If you do not understand anything, you could always ask them to elaborate the question.
12. Please speak clearly. It does not matter if you do not have a very impressive American English accent but you should speak clearly and never end your statement with “You know what I mean”.
13. If at some stage you feel that you will not be accepted, do not give up. Perhaps the last interview question might help you and you will be selected.
These hospitals have a tendency to ask technical and professional and they might take a small MCQs session and Clinical skills on some patients. So, for these you should always be prepared. Most of the technical questions are from Emergency Medicine, Cardiology or might be OB/GYN.
You might be asked a special question “What have you been doing since graduation?”. It is asked specially to those who have not mentioned it very clearly on CV. If somebody has been actively involved with his field then it is not a difficult question but for those who are not involved with Medicine, it might be a tough question.
For example, you have not done pediatrics in your life and you are being called.
It is a tough situation and I would suggest that you should be technically and professionally prepared. Before going to the interview, try to read the important stuff in that specialty.
They might start your interview with the question that you have not done anything in Psychiatry or Pediatrics, so how you would do the residency. You can always satisfy them with your knowledge and by giving examples and comparing general medicine with pediatrics or any other fields. If you prove them that your general concepts are strong and clear then they would be satisfied.
Fresh graduates can debate on this issue of previous background.
1. Send a thanks letter to the program coordinator or director.
2. Before calling them to set the date for interview, try to find out with the current residents or other people in the program about the psychology of the director in terms of earlier interview candidates and later candidates. Some programs have a tendency to select from earlier candidates and some have the opposite.
3. Before going to the interview, you should always try to find out about your specific interview board personals and try to know their psychology. You should also know about their position in the program, their research interests and if the have any recent publications. Sometimes they feel good if you have the same research interest as them and they start talking about it.
4. You should try to arrive at that city or the hospitals 2-3 days before the interview and speak with the chief resident, other residents and interns. When you are asked in the interview about the program, then always quote that you have been here for 2-3 days, observing the atmosphere with residents and you really like the place. Try to make friends with the Chief resident because one of the chief resident is also in the interview board.
Formal suit (no shiny stuff, try to be conservative), dark charcoal grey, black or dark blue, conservative tie and formal shoes. Preferably short hair, no pony tails and preferably white shirt inside.
FOR LADIES: I would also recommend ladies to wear something like a (dark conservative color)mid lenght scirt suit with a blouse or a shirt and a jacket on top. a full length pair of pants is also a good idea. a regular port folio (black, burgundy or dark brown) for keeping documents. preferably shoes rather than pencil heels. try to look like one of those business executive ladies.
Please find some time and read the book “First aid for residency match and interview” by VIKAS BHUSHAN.
You can find the residency interview videos from the library.
You can test your general interview skills with mock interview videos available in public libraries.
General interview techniques’ videos are frequently available in the public libraries.
If you feel that your communication skills are poor then you surely have to make it better and for that try to watch TV, listen to Radio and make friends with American people.
Sometimes your interviewer might be funny person and would like to share jokes with you. Do not get over exceited at that time because he is not your friend but a program director. Do learn a few slangs also.
Key point to get residency is that you have to be confident not arrogant, you have to be strong and enthusiastic not weak and indifferent, you have to give them an impression that you will get the residency anyway and you are here for just to evaluate the program. Don’t feel weak and miserable be energetic and think positive. When your interview finishes the program should have an impression that you are a very strong candidate and if they miss you, they will make a big mistake.
My friend has recently been interviewed in Virginia and he was asked the following questions:
1. Why you want to join this specialty?
2. Why you have chosen our program?
3. Where do you see yourself now from 10/15 years?
4. Research interests
5. Discussion on the letters of recommendations my friend had
6. Hobbies and future goals.
Preparing for your Interviews
Remember to always be neat and well groomed, but comfortable, when going for your interviews. Conservative dress is still your best bet, so that means dark blazers, suits and dresses are appropriate.
If interviewing on the east coast remember to dress warmly. Always arrive at your destination early.
In most cases you will be on unfamiliar territory, so arriving early gives you the opportunity to find your way around the area and become comfortable with your surroundings.
The World Wide Web (WWW) has become a terrific source of information, especially about universities and teaching hospitals.
You can often find an up-to-date phone directory, campus map, and information about the surrounding community on a university’s web site. Be prepared to ask and answer questions.
The following are questions you should consider asking and answering during an interview.
Remember not all questions are appropriate for all interviewers. You would not ask a program director about the nitty gritty of patient contact. That question is more appropriate for residents. You would ask the program director questions about where the program has been and where it is going.
Remember you may be asked questions that are not only uncomfortable to answer, but illegal under state or federal law. These include questions about family, child care, birth control, race, nationality, physical disabilities, and religion.
You may also be asked something like, “If we offered you a position today, would you accept?” It is against NRMP regulations for you to be asked this questions at any time and we encourage you to report the occurence to the NRMP.
What could you be asked?
1. Do you have any questions?
2. Tell me about yourself?
3. What do you do in your spare time?
4. If you could be any cell in the human body, which would you choose to be, and why?
5. If your house was burning, what three objects would you take?
6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
7. Why should we take you in preference to the other candidates?
8. What would be the most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of your residency?
9. With what type of people do you enjoy working (not working)?
10. With what patients do you have trouble dealing?
11. Who are your heroes?
12. What is your energy level like?
13. What were the major deficiencies in your medical training?
14. How do you explain…(low grades?, leaves of absence?, poor clinical narratives?)
15. Have you always done the best work of which you are capable?
16. How well do you function under pressure?
17. Teach me something in five minutes.
18. Tell me about the patient from whom you learned the most?
19. What error have you made in patient care?
20. What subject or rotation was your most difficult?
21. Why do you want to go into this specialty?
22. Do you think you would be right for this program/specialty?
23. Why did you apply to this program?
24. What do you think of (current events topic)?
25. What would you do if a patient stabbed your best friend?
26. Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
27. How do you see the delivery of health care evolving in the twenty-first century?
28. What problems do you think this specialty faces over the next five/ten years?
29. Where else have you interviewed?
30. What if you don’t match?
31. Can you think of anything else you would like to add?
What to ask the Interviewer
1. What is the interviewer’s general opinion of the program?
2. What is the general framework of the training program?
3. Is most of the program conducted in the major hospital?
4. What is the composition and caliber of the teaching and attending staff? Are they fulltime or part-time?
5. Does the attending staff participate in daily rounds and conferences, or is the bulk of the teaching performed by other residents?
6. What is the conference schedule? Is time for conference protected time?
7. Are there any teaching conferences specifically for housestaff?
8. Does the program allow for research by the housestaff? If so, does the department fund it? Is there an elective time in which to do it? Are there faculty mentors?
9. Are rotations in related subspecialties included in the program?
10. Which electives are offered, and at what periods during the program?
11. Are residents permitted or encouraged to attend regional or national medical conferences?
12. Have any graduates of the program ever failed to do well on the certifying exams and if so, why?
13. Does the chair plan any changes in the program in the near future? Is the director likely to retire shortly or remain as chair during your residency?
14. What are the chances of permanent local practice after residency?
15. Is there a pyramid system? How many cuts are made each progressive year?
16. What is the financial status of the institution?
17. Has the program or institution ever been put on probation or been denied accreditation for any reason?
18. What does the director think of the programs offered by other institutions? Which of them, if any, would the director recommend?
19. What were the results of the most recent “intraining” examination? Is a minimum score required to progress to the subsequent year?
What to ask the Housestaff
1. What is the housestaff officer’s general opinion of the program?
2. Is there a medical library close to the hospital and does it contain an adequate selection of recent books and journals? Are there Melvyl hookups? Who photocopies for you?
3. Is there an adequate visiting professor program with other institutions?
4. How valuable are the conferences?
5. Are chart rounds conducted routinely?
6. What is the average number of patients for which each house officer is responsible?
7. Does the housestaff receive adequate clinical experience performing procedures? Who teaches these procedures?
8. What is the clinic schedule? Is there a continuity clinic?
9. Is an attending physician present during each clinic?
10. What does the housestaff officer think of the chair? What is the chair’s background and reputation? Is the chair sincerely interested in teaching housestaff? Is the chair readily acces sible to the housestaff?
11. Are emergency services readily available?
12. Do all wards of the institution have cardiac arrest carts and EKG machines?
13. Is a radiologist available 24 hours for consultation?
14. Does the hospital provide IV and blood drawing teams? Are lab results computerized?
15. When do rounds begin in the morning and at what time does the normal day end?
16. What is the oncall schedule? Does it change during the senior or chief year?
17. Is moonlighting permitted and is it available in the community?
18. Are meals provided free or at a discount for housestaff? Is there an evening meal? Is food available/provided at all hours?
19. Is parking provided? If so, where?
20. Are uniforms and laundry free of charge to the residents?
21. Is there adequate malpractice and disability insurance, including HIV disability insurance? Does the hospital provide health and life insurance?
22. What is the availability of housing and its average cost? Where do most staff live? If many staff people commute, what is the average commute time? Should there be a concern for safety in some areas?
23. Is there a housestaff association and what is its relationship with the administration?
24. What are the climate and general living conditions in the community?
25. What is the general atmosphere of the hospital? Is it a pleasant place to work?
26. What is the housestaff officer’s opinion of programs at various institutions?
After your visit, make notes about your experience. You should follow up your interview with a thank-you letter, mentioning the names of your interviewers. Letters are better than phone calls because residency directors are very busy during interview time. Also be sure to immediately forward any additonal information the program may have requested from you.


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