One of the main hurdles international and foreign medical graduates face while applying to U.S. residency is the interview process. This is the time to make a good impression and showcase your best qualities. However, it can be challenging to transform the interview from a formal process to feel like a casual conversation.
To prepare for the interview, research the program and the staff of the department, including administrators. This will allow you to prepare questions and feel comfortable with the people. You may also find a common area of interest that will help you connect. Be sure to listen, answer the questions, and do not recite prepared answers.
Next, it is important that you review the information that you are providing to your interviewer. Your application, Your Personal Statement, and your Curriculum Vitae. This is where you interviewer will look to ask personal questions. Take at least two copies of your CV with you. You may need to give it to additional interviewers. Never look at your CV when a question is asked about your past experiences, as it can show that you are unprepared and unfamiliar with your own work. Prepare to talk about anything that on these documents.
Tips to make the day of the interview run smoothly:
- Memorize your interview date. Nothing will put you to the bottom of a Program Director's stack like missing your residency interview.
- Do not be on time, be early! This will give you time to adjust and get rid of your pre-interview nervousness.
- Greet your interviewers with a firm handshake and be sure to make eye contact.
- Be pleasant, and do not forget to smile.
- If you are nervous, breathe steadily. This will help you stay relaxed.
- Have questions prepared to ask the Program Directors at the end of the interview
Here are some commonly asked questions;
- Why did you choose this specialty?
- Why are you interested in this program?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why should we pick you?
- Describe a challenge you have faced in the workplace and how you resolved it.
- What could you offer this program?
Answer questions confidently and calmly, and do not overthink. You have all of the answers already, the skill is in voicing them.
What to do post-interview
Document your experience. Write down the things you liked and the things you didn't. Your level of comfort and your feeling on the reaction the interviewer had toward you. Send thank you emails to each and every person you interviewed with. After a plethora of interviews, these experiences will start to blend together in your mind. It is imperative you have something to reference.
Good luck! With these tips in mind, you will undoubtedly have an impressive interview experience.
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