All medical students have a bridge to cross in the course of their stay during medical school, and that is the residency interview. Becoming a physician is undoubtedly impossible unless you successfully cross this bridge. This interview has the sole objective of giving medical students the best chance to match in the residency program. Note that the interview is usually not a written test. It is oral, but you must be more than prepared for whatever questions you'll be asked. With increased preparation, you can better your chances of succeeding and being picked for the program. As a medical student, you should attempt all questions asked at the interview. Questions could border on various subjects, including yourself, issues related to your chosen field, your resume, work experience, and other general questions to test your mental preparedness.
Typical questions asked during the interview include:
May we get to know you, please? At this point, you have to introduce yourself, talk about yourself clearly, stating facts that are not contained in your resume.
What are your aspirations? Where do you see yourself in a particular number of years? Your answer must include realistic goals for yourself.
What motivated you to join the medical field? What's so interesting about medicine? Always give an honest answer here because those asking the questions already know what's in the field. Try not to make up general responses.
Most candidates usually get stiff during an interview session. Even though this is normal, with adequate preparation one should be able to attempt all questions boldly. If you are asked personal questions (i.e., questions about yourself), be sure that you give honest answers. Do not alter any facts about yourself. Do not give answers that may be difficult to explain or to prove. Practice the process of facing an interview panel beforehand because it helps immensely. Adequate preparation is the best way to overcome the interview. At times, the interviewer may ask difficult questions just to test your reaction under constraint; hence the need for preparation. Do not answer questions in haste; before attempting to respond, give it some thought.
Never allow low-self-esteem to manifest in any form during the interview. Never show any sign of weakness. Ensure that you practice answering all sorts of questions as you can never tell which ones might be asked.
The answer given should be short, precise and straight to the point. Do not give room for tautology and focus on the facts.
Avoid arguing with the interviewer and be as polite as possible. If you missed a particular question or did not hear it clearly, do not hesitate to ask for it to be repeated.
Familiarize yourself with the residency program's history, figures, and facts. Study statistics and other necessary information that can be of assistance in the residency match cycle. However, information must only be used when necessary so as to not get into trouble.
Try not to outshine the master and do not prove to be more knowledgeable than the interviewer. Consider him/her to be much smarter than yourself. An interview panel is a place where you must learn to swallow all pride.
Practice makes perfect
This is the golden rule that all medical students must follow. Now when we mean practicing, we're not referring to dummy interviews. You can conduct a live interview with a colleague, a roommate, you may consult your faculty board members and advisors or better still, sign up with online resources that offer interview practicing tools.
Every question asked at the interview has its purpose. You must answer all questions with confidence. Avoid being tense during the interview, which comes naturally with practice.
McCracken, G. (2009). The long interview (Vol. 13).
Delorio, N. M.' Yarris, L. M.' & Gaines, S. A. (2009). Emergency Medicine Residency Applicant Views on the Interview day process. Academic Emergency Medicine, 16 (s2), S67-S70.