Preparing for Residency Interviews

As no medical student needs telling, a medical education is a marathon. Med school alone can be similarly described, but before that comes the long and arduous process of actually getting in. Furthermore, before you start practicing, there is all the practical experience and training that needs to be completed as well. Only after that can you start trawling the healthcare jobs boards for a suitable vacancy – a process which is, in itself, arduous. And then of course you need to pass the interview and be accepted on terms that are acceptable to you. Heath Jobs, an online recruitment service offering registered nurse jobs among others, advise that this last stage puts you, on account of the shrinking talent market, in a bit of a stronger position. Nevertheless, you need to get there first.

Medical Residencies

One step in this process of “getting there” which we haven’t mentioned is the medical residency. Practical experience is of course absolutely necessary before you are let loose as a fully qualified healthcare professional. At the end of medical school, you will find yourself filling out electronic applications to all potential residencies you would like to attend – and selecting the right one for your specialty and expertise is in itself no small feat.

It’s only after this though that the real work starts. After your applications have been accepted (often in disparate parts of the country and at seemingly unreasonable times) you actually need to pass an interview in order to begin. Like the positions themselves, these interviews will be similarly geographically and temporally dispersed. That is a challenge you need to meet before attempting to even pass the interviews.

It is unsurprising that for many medical graduates this can be a daunting experience. Nonetheless, this is the way things have been done for a long time, and the advice is certainly out there for those preparing for their medical residency interview.

Tips for Acing the Medical Residency Interview

So, how can you really impress and be accepted for a medical residency? Much will depend, of course, on the specifics of the residency but there is much advice that also applies in all cases. Here follows some of that advice, which takes the form of two major points:

Know Yourself (And What You Are Worth)

This general tip covers quite a lot, but all of that is important. For one thing, you need to know your application inside out, which is the same thing as knowing yourself, as a potential medical professional, inside out. For example, all grades (good and bad), letters of recommendation and areas of strength/weakness should be included not only in the content of your application but also should be firmly in your head. This will allow you to really know what you are worth, emphasize your strengths, and ameliorate – in the interview – the effect of any of your weaknesses.

Know the Program

It is the job of the healthcare institution to supply you with information on the residency itself, but prior to the interview, they will certainly already have done that to a large extent. If you are ignorant of anything that has already been communicated, then that doesn’t bode well for your chances. However, you will not know everything and having a set of intelligent questions ready is also vital.


Beyond having prepared yourself with a knowledge of yourself (as a candidate) and the program you are going to take part in, all that’s left is the usual interview techniques. Be open, enthusiastic, friendly, look them in the eye, etc. Know what will come up, know your worth, and you are already in the strongest possible position.

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