An Introduction to Residency Interviews

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You’ll be relieved to learn that most residency interviews are pleasant experiences. Programs want you to learn about them as much as they want to learn about you. Since a compatible match is in everyone's best interest, you should encounter few to no adversarial interviews.

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Most residency interview visits are day-long affairs. While no one format exists, generally anticipate you’ll tour the facilities, as well as interview with the program director, two or three faculty members, and one or two residents. You might also attend rounds or eat lunch with faculty or residents. Often, programs host a reception for all interviewees the night before the official interview day.

Because of the length of residency interviews, you’re required to be "on" for long periods. As such, the interview trail can be grueling. Ensure you schedule interviews so you'll have plenty of energy to make a good impression and plenty of time to learn as much as you would like about each program.

Poorly executed interviews do occur. To make the best impression, follow these guidelines:

1. Prepare in advance

The first impressions you make and your answers to common questions will both have an impact on the outcome. Many schools offer mock interviews with faculty, which are a good way to practice.

2. Be professional and respectful to everyone

This should go without saying: The whole experience is an interview, starting when the program contacts you to offer the interview, and ending with your last communication prior to the match. Even casual interactions with the administrative staff, current residents, or other applicants may be considered when you’re evaluated for a position.

3. Ask thoughtful questions

Information about salary, benefits and on-call hours will be provided in advance through information packets or can be found on the program’s website. Asking about them during the interview reflects poorly on you. Instead, impress your interviewers by asking questions that help you evaluate the program as a good fit for your educational and career goals.

4. Send thank-you notes

Follow up to thank the program director and key faculty, unless the program specifically requests otherwise. Ask your interviewers for their business cards so you’ll have their contact information at hand. Use your thank-you notes to highlight important points that remind the interviewer of your time with them, and reiterate your interest.

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Supporting the Transition to Residency

The transition to residency is a time of critical importance in a medical student’s journey to become a physician. The AAMC is developing tools and information to better support students, their advisors, and program directors during this phase.

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Advisors: Advise Smart

Login to Careers in Medicine to view key resources for your students.

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Program Directors: Select Smart

Find PDWS software support, resources for you and your students, important dates and a timeline, as well as ERAS news and announcements. 

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