How to Impress a Program Director

How to Impress a Program Director

Interview season is now upon us! Now that you have gone through medical school, passed your USMLEs, and submitted your ERAS, it is time to interview for those sought after PGY-1 positions. You have already impressed the Programs Directors on paper, now is the chance to seal the deal and impress them in person! Medical school graduates from all over the world are vying for these limited U.S residency positions so it is important to follow a few simple guidelines to ensure you make the best first impression.

Preparation: Leading up to the day of the interview there are many things you can do to make the process run as smoothly as possible.

  • Research the program, the curriculum, faculty-resident ratios, work hours, ancillary staff and benefits.
  • Be sure to answer both simple and complex questions. For example, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What would previous coworkers describe as your weaknesses?” For a complete list of commonly asked questions please see our previous blog, “Residents Medical Presents: Acing an Interview
  • Do a mock interview- or better yet do multiple mock interviews. There is no better preparation than practicing your interview skills one-on-one with someone. At Residents Medical we offer intensive one-on-one interview prep with current program directors.

The Day of the Interview

  • Remember this is your first impression so make sure to dress professional!
  • Look interested and pay attention to the interviewer.
  • Talk to current residents. Don’t be shy! Ask them questions about the program and their likes and dislikes.
  • Make sure the take thorough notes. After many interviews they will all start to blend together. It is important to write down key features about each program that you like and noteworthy conversations you had with the program director so you can include them in personalized thank you notes.
  • Know how to answer “why this specialty” and make your answer memorable.
  • Make sure to bring up any red flags such as gaps in your CV.

The Day of the Interview

  • Make sure to obtain email addresses from everyone you interviewed with so you can follow-up with them after the interview.
  • Make personalized thank you notes referencing conversations you had with that person and any key features about the program that stood out to you.