On top of knowing your residency application in and out, there are three questions that you must prepare for before all your residency interviews. These three questions require some thought and time. You need to do your research and if you answer too vaguely, you will harm your chances.
The three questions of course are
- Why do you want to come to this school / program?
- Why do you want to come to this city / location?
- Do you have any questions for us?
In many ways, how you answer these three questions is a strong indicator of your interest in a program. If your answers are vague or ambivalent, interviewers and program directors will see that you have not done your homework. This can negatively influence your interview.
I remember the night before each of my interviews, I would try to brainstorm a few responses for each of those questions. I would go through the school’s website and brochure to think of unique aspects that appealed to me. If I had friends in town, I would ask them to tell me why they enjoyed living there.
In the case that you did an elective there, I would be sure to mention how much you enjoyed the experience. Be sure to include some specifics of why you liked it there, whether it was the collegial environment or excellent teachers. Residents are another great resource to hear about the ins and outs of each program.
Similarly for coming up with questions, I would aim to brainstorm for a minimum of three questions to ask. You should not ask questions that can find yourself on the internet. Instead, probe deeper and ask questions that have opinionated or provocative answers. An example of a generic question would be “What intended changes do you see in the next five years?” A better question, could go like “I see that resident work hours have been reduced this year, what actions are in place to ensure adequate educational opportunities?”
By preparing for these three questions before each interview, you will look keen and interested at each interview. After all, the mentality you should have before each interview is that this school is now my top ranked school, even if only for a day.