Along the interview trail and on my audition rotations, I decided to ask for advice from residents on interviews, and on choosing a residency program. Here’s a compilation of 10 pieces of interview advice that I gleaned from residents in those conversations!
Expectations are much lower for medical students than they are for residents, so this is the time to make mistakes, ask questions, and try to get as much exposure as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or advice!
Where you do your residency will very much affect and shape how you’re going to practice medicine. Make sure it’s a program that practices medicine the way you’d like to practice in the future.
Enjoy 4th year.
Fourth year is busy, hectic, and can be full of travels (depending on where you chose to apply), but most of the residents (and attendings) I spoke to remember it very fondly, especially second semester 4th year.
Trust no one.
This may sound a little cynical, but I found it to be solid advice. No matter how great the team you work with is, no one is perfect. Never assume that something has been done for you–always double-check.
Check hotel reviews.
Check for bed bugs. Never put your bags on the floor. Make sure that your room is a non-smoking room, and consider at least mapping out how to get to your interview location beforehand, if not actually physically driving there to get a time estimate. Allow extra time for potential traffic.
Pay attention to how everyone interacts with each other.
Do the people there acknowledge your existence? Do the residents seem happy? Do they even know each other? How is their relationship with their attendings? Do they seem to feel comfortable asking questions?
Make a “book o’ love.”
Start a binder and fill it with helpful handouts and resources that you accumulate over the years that would be helpful for your future practice.
Listen to your gut.
Trying to come up with your rank list can be difficult, especially if you really like a number of programs…but deep down inside, there’s a little voice in there that’ll tell you where you’re meant to go. Trust that voice. Don’t rank a program based on perceived prestige.
Go to a place where you’ll be happy.
The core requirements of each program in Family Medicine are mandated to be the same, so after you factor in boards pass rates and accreditation, one of the most important things to look for is a good “fit.” Is this a place where you’d want to spend the next 3 years of your life? Will you be happy working with these people? Does it offer the things you’re looking for in a program? Is it a place you’d enjoy living in?
Always order dessert.
(“Is this a ‘during the interview dinner’ piece of advice, or general life advice?”
She really did have a point–if there’s time, order dessert! And to take it onto a deeper level, don’t forget to enjoy the process. Yes, all the interviews can get very tiring and may even start to run together after a while, but this is also an exciting time–it’s a chance to travel, to see all the opportunities there are out there! Make the most of it, and enjoy the journey!
- What advice would you add to this list? Share it with us in the comments!