Interview Season 101

Interview season is officially upon us.  Thus far, you have stressed over writing a personal statement, ensured your letters of recommendation were uploaded on time, and reviewed your activities section countless times in search of typos which all culminated in successfully submitting and certifying your ERAS residency applications.  This culmination marks a major transition in the application cycle. 

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Your paper application is locked in and pending review by programs across the country.  No looking back.  All efforts must now be focused on preparing for interviews.  While a daunting task, we are here to walk you along each step of the way.  Here we provide an outline of what to do these upcoming weeks.  Each of these topics will be addressed in more detail as we progress but use this as your road map to interview success.

Waiting

One of the more anxiety provoking periods of the application period is waiting for interview invitations.  Some specialties may begin releasing interviews the day after ERAS applications are submitted, while other specialties allow programs time to comprehensively review applications prior to releasing interview invitations.  Many students will remain idle as they wait for interview invites.  Maximize this time to prepare for interviews.

Prepare

The best way to excel in interviews is through preparation.  An applicant should know her or his application backwards and forwards.  You should know what is in your personal statement and be able to discuss at length any activity, experience, or research project that is listed on your CV.  There are important questions that you will be asked frequently that you can already pre-contemplate and pre-formulate responses to.  Use our list of the most frequently asked interview questions and accompanying response aids to help think critically about how you will answer these questions. 

“Practice helps bolster your confidence and allows you to take control of an interview.”

Dr. Carter J. Boyd, Founder, Med Student Edge

Practice

The final step of preparing for interviews is practice.  This is crucial for interview day success.  Real life rehearsals of your interview answers help to parse out how responses could be phrased more eloquently or otherwise tweaked.  Practice helps bolster your confidence and allows you to take control of an interview.  To assist you, we are offering virtual mock interviews with immediate direct feedback.  Stay tuned for details tomorrow on how to sign up.

Scheduling

Scheduling interviews can present a critical challenge, particularly as interviews are occurring in a condensed period.  It is to your benefit, however, that you do not have to account for travel considerations.  The most important item here is to stay organized.  As conflicts arise, reach out to program scheduling coordinators to rectify any potential conflicts.  Always remain courteous in these communications—they can make or break you. 

Interview Day

Given the virtual formatting, interview days will be unique this application cycle.  Virtual socials and info sessions will vary based on the program.  By this point, you will be well polished and ready to deliver.   Focus on listening and interpersonal skills during interviews.  Be patient with technological difficulties as they arise.  Show flexibility and patience as delays will inevitably occur.

There is a lot ahead of us this interview season.  Don’t worry—this is just the framework that we will be walking you through in much more detail over the upcoming weeks.  Check back regularly for updates and new content.  Have specific questions? Contact us directly or leave a comment so we can address them. 

Visit here for all interview prep resources.

Carter J. Boyd, MD, MBA
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