Top Questions to Review Before Your Residency Interview
The main question you need to answer is Why?. Why you? You must be ready to answer any direct or indirect Why? question as well as be ready
to ask questions that show your high interest in joining this particular program. The way you answer other questions and questions you ask, in fact, are the answers on Why? question too.
(read a sample list of questions to ask here). But let us start with some possible direct Why? questions.
- Why did you apply to our program? (Why are you interested to join our residency program?)
- Why would you leave your home city/place of graduation? You have spent your entire life on [place] and your family is on the [place].
- Why are you willing to live here?
- Why are you interested in this hospital?
- Why should we take you over another applicant? How do you see yourself contributing to our program?
- What made you join medicine? Who inspired you to become a doctor and why?
- Why didn’t you do a rotation here?
- Why did you choose to interview here, while your [current location] program is strong? Have you had interview at [your place of graduation].
- Why this specialty? What made you choose?
- Why this school over your aways?
- How did you become interested in our school?
- Why did you become a doctor? What motivates you? Why are you here?
- Do you want to do research and why?
- Why did you leave your country? (IMG)
- Why did you decide to come to America? (IMG)
- Why do you have a one(two)-year gap on your CV?
- Why did you get this low grade on your transcript?
- Why are your USMLE scores so low?
- Explain your grades and board scores. Why...?
- Why did you not honor your 3rd year clerkship?
- Why [something] in your CV(Personal Statement)? Why do you have [this] problem in your academic record?
YOUR CREDENTIALS AND OTHER DIRECT QUESTIONS ABOUT YOU
Review your CV, personal statement, and all other aspects of your application before the interview.
Be prepared to answer fast and without doubts about your credentials and background.
Make a list of 5 characteristics that describe your strengths the best and make the interviewer know them.
- Tell me about [something] in your CV, personal statement.
- Tell me about the research you did.
- What was your class rank?
- What were your USMLE scores?
- Tell me about your 4th year rotations.
- What organizations do you belong to?
- Did you take a course to prepare you for your USMLEs? (IMG)
- Are there any physicians in your family?
- Who have been your greatest mentors, and why? Describe a major influence in your life.
- Tell me about yourself. Tell me a story about yourself that best describes you. Summarize your life history in 60 seconds.
- What are you most proud of in your life?
- What are your strengths?
- Do you consider yourself organized?
- How do you make important decisions?
- What kind of learner are you?
- What is unique about you? What makes you different from everyone else?
- What are your interests?
- What was your most significant life experience?
- Tell me something academic that you have participated in. Tell me about an academic and nonacademic achievement.
- What do you do in your spare time?
- Tell me about your personal interests and hobbies.
- Describe your typical day?
ABOUT YOU, INDIRECT QUESTIONS
- If you were asked to describe yourself in three(five) words, what would they be?
- Which is more important, knowledge or imagination?
- Select most meaningful words for you. From the list(respect, family, ... ).
- What do you value in your own life?
- How would your best friend describe you?
- What kinds of people are your friends? Describe your best friend?
- What qualities do you look for in a friend?
- Who are your heroes?
- If your house were on fire, what will you do first, which three objects would you save?
- If you had one wish what would it be?
- It's your execution and you get to request your last meal. What is it?
- What is the superpower you want to have?
- 3 people you would invite to dinner and why?
- Tell us a joke that you could tell a child.
- What is your perfect day? How you could spend your perfect day?
- What makes you happy?
ARE YOU READY?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How well do you function under pressure? Tell me about a time you worked effectively under pressure.
- What mistakes have you made, and how have you learned from them? Tell me about a mistake that you made that affected a patient.
- Tell me about a situation in which you overcame difficulties.
- How do you deal with constructive criticism?
- I see that you have many successes. Please tell me about some of your failures during medical school.
- How do I know you perform well under pressure?
- What worries you most about residency? What do you expect will be the hardest part of residency for you?
- Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?
- If you could change one thing about your personality what would it be?
- Tell me about a difficult situation you experienced in medical school and how you handled it.
- How do you feel about the 80 hr work week?
- How many hours of sleep do you require?
- How will you avoid burnout?
- How will you deal with it when, despite your efforts, therapy is futile?
- Have you always done the best work you could do?
- What type of patients are difficult and why?
- Tell me about a patient you had trouble dealing with.
Be ready to discuss any potential ethical issue you can imagine.
- What would you do if a patient refuses treatment for a life-threatening condition.
- What would you do if you knew an attending was repeatedly working while impaired(intoxicated)?
- What would you do if a man found down with AIDS needing CPR.
- Tell me about a time that you violated confidentiality and why you did it.
- What would you do if you saw a colleague making a mistake with a patient’s medication?
- Tell me about one of your core values and a time that you went against it.
- What do you do if someone senior tells you to do something 100% wrong?
- Tell me about a mistake you made in patient care and how you rectified it.
- Would you rather be liked or respected?
- Tell me about a time you saw something unjust happen and you did something to stop it.
- How will you balance being a leader and being a team player during residency? How will you stand out amongst residents but still be a team player?
- What will you do in a situation if a chief/intern resident isn't doing his share of the work?
- Tell me about a time that you disagreed with someone in higher authority and how you handled it.
- What does leadership mean to you?
- Tell me about a time when you led a group or team and things did not turn out the way that you wanted.
- How do you think you can motivate your coworkers?
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with a team member and how you resolved the issue.
- Tell me about a time that you had a conflict with a team member and how you handled it.
- Which types of people do you have trouble working with?
- What qualities drive you crazy in colleagues?
- How will you feel about taking orders from a younger person or a woman?
- Describe important relationships you have had with people?
- Tell me about a time you had to build a relationship with someone you didn’t like.
- Tell me about a case that you found interesting and what you learned from it. Tell me about an interesting patient.
- If you were in charge of your medical school, what changes would you make?
- How would you make your least enjoyable clerkship better?
- What was your worst clinical experience?
- Present a patient to me?
- With what subject or rotation did you have the most difficulty?
- Tell me about the patient from whom you learned the most. What was your most memorable patient encounter?
- How are old patients different from young patients?
- Tell me about an uncertain diagnosis and how you went about coming to the correct diagnosis.
- What would be on page 200 of your autobiography?
- What can you bring to this program?
- How did you select undergraduate college and medical school?
- What are your career goals?
- Will you do a fellowship? In which specialty?
- What is your 10-year plan? What is your medical career plan?
- Ten years from now you look in the mirror - tell me what you see. Where do you see yourself in [five/ten] years?
- What do you think about new healthcare policies?
- What problems will our specialty face in the next 5-10 years?
- Do you think this field is overloaded?
- What do you think about what is happening in the Congress, WHO, economy, U.N., etc.?
- What do you think about the impact of pharmaceutical advertising on patient care?
- What is the difference between the health care systems of your country and U.S.? (IMG)
- What needs to be changed in our health care system?
- What do you think community medicine means?
- What is the most pressing problem in medicine today?
UNEXPECTED, TRICKY AND OTHER QUESTIONS
Here are just some important examples of such questions.
- Are you applying to any other residency specialty?
- How many residency interviews have you completed so far?
- What other programs have you applied to?
- Which residency programs have you interviewed at?
- Which other programs really impressed you? What about them did you like?
- Do you have any problems in your personal life?
- Have you ever quit or been fired from a job?
- What was the last [medical/ not medical] book you read?
- Tell me a story about anything. Teach me something in 5 minutes.
- Can you show one-handed knots both hands separately? (Surgery)
- What will you do if you don’t Match?
- If you are offered a position today, would you accept?
- Greatest fear about practicing medicine?
- If you could not be a physician, what career would you choose?
- Tell me something interesting that’s not on your application.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
In general, it is better not to ask questions, whose answers are publicly available, or questions whose answers may highlight your possible doubts about the program.
Review program website and all other publicly available information. Try to prepare some unique interesting questions to ask for each program separately.
Here are just a few general examples of questions that can be used to spark some ideas.
- What are the strengths of this program?
- What do you expect from your residents?
- What is the Board pass rate?
- Do residents have time/funding to attend conferences?
- Are publications required during training?
- What are the teaching/clinical/research opportunities?
- What hospitals participate in your program?
- Residency program's teaching, conference schedules?
- What research projects are the faculty and residents currently working on?
- What are the population demographics?
- How many people do you rank?
- What types of non-clinical responsibilities are there?
- Have any residents left the residency program? Why?
- Do you provide your residents with insurance? What are the policies?
- What percentage of your graduates enter fellowships?
- What scope of experience should I expect?
- Will faculty review job offers with residents?
- Do you have fitness facilities?
- Vacation, sick days? How many?
- Do you get opportunities to moonlight?
- How many hours per week are residents work? How many days per week?
- What is the city/community/climate like?
- How much does it cost to live here?
A lot of residency interview questions and answers pdf files can be found on the internet. It is possible to find internal medicine residency interview questions, family medicine interview questions, Ob Gyn or psychiatry questions etc. In fact, most questions are common for all specialties. But at the same time, some competitive programs have a very deep and complex interview process. It is not possible to be completely ready for all possible situations, but interview preparation can make your results better even with unexpected questions. It is also clear that not only the answers but the way you present them are very important. Even wise scheduling can help to pass your most important interviews with better results.