So you received a residency interview - congratulations! For international medical graduates, the interview can very well be the most daunting aspect of the residency application. Your interview can be the most important factor for your ranking to be Matched. Residents Medical has some tips to help you impress Program Directors when they meet you for the first time.
Remember that Program Directors already know you were a great student throughout medical school - the interview is an opportunity to get to know you more as a potential colleague and as a person. As with the personal statement, you should convey qualities that don't appear on your CV but are necessary to give PD's a good idea about your character. For example, the ability to work in a team, teachability, humility, innate curiosity, and reliability are all great values that will convey your work ethic as a resident.
Confidence is Key!
The fact that you were chosen for an interview means you already impressed the Program Directors enough to make it past the most competitive step of the process. If you got this far, it’s because they are seriously considering you. Make sure you know all aspects of your application inside and out prior to your interview, from your specific duties in research to what you wrote about in your personal statement. Have detailed responses ready for general interview topics, such as why you are seeking this specialty, individual challenges you have faced during and after medical school and how you worked through them, accomplishments that you’re proud of, etc.
Keeping energy levels high for extended periods of time is a crucial part of being a doctor, so make sure your liveliness is present for the duration of the interview. Be excited when discussing your previous experiences, what you learned from them, why you’re interested in this program, and what your detailed future plans are. Remain alert, sit up straight, keep eye contact, and introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake. Your passion will shine through, and that’s what counts here because in the interview, who you are is just as important as what you know. Avoid filler words such as “like”, “you know”, and “um.”
Take Pride in Your Visa Status
You may be asked why you make a better candidate than an U.S. medical graduate. Discuss what makes your voice unique, how your experiences with different healthcare systems in different countries give you your perspective, and how you can bring in diversity. Make sure to focus on yourself, your qualifications, and your aspirations, as opposed to being critical of other groups.
As with all interviews, arrange travel and transportation ahead of time, get required paperwork in as soon as possible, be punctual, dress in business formal, and thank the Program Director for their time. Remember that the interview includes any and all correspondence and personal interactions starting from the time you receive the interview offer. Make sure to be polite, sell yourself in a genuine way, and ask questions. After all, remember that while scores and CV experiences speak for themselves, only you can speak for you. On a final note, be sure to write a brief but genuine thank-you note (preferably handwritten) to everyone you interviewed with; often times, interviews are conducted on their days off.
Are You Next?™