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Residency Application Process: Interviewing

  • Interviewing is a vital step in the residency process: they're not the only ones doing an interview — you're interviewing them, as well.

Once your application is submitted, the Training Administrator will forward your application, and a selection committee of faculty and/or senior residents will determine who will be offered an interview. Once you are approved for an interview, you will receive a request from ERAS to make an appointment. Interviews fill up very quickly, so it is important that you respond to each request in a timely manner. It is also important to note that more interview invitations are sent out than there are positions — this is to ensure that the most positions are filled at each facility. The amount of interview dates offered from program to program is based on the size of the program. A larger program will offer up to 10 dates, while smaller programs will offer only one or two.

Interviews can be held either with a panel or one-on-one. Often times, programs will provide an introductory session, allowing you to speak with the Program Director (PD) and ask any questions you may have. It is very common to get a tour of the facility while you are at the institution completing your interview. On the topic of things that are common, some programs will schedule interview days along with didactic sessions or Grand Rounds so that you can get a glimpse into the program.

Throughout the time that interviews are being held, there may be social events scheduled. These events give you the opportunity to ask questions to residents already in the program, so you should absolutely attend. These events are also a way for residents to determine if you will be a good fit for the program, a task they were given by their PD.

You may receive an email from the PD or TA stating that you are being ranked. If you do not get an interview invitation from a program by mid-November, the odds of you getting one are slim, as invitations are most commonly sent out in September and October. However, the last chance you have for getting an invitation to interview is mid-January.

Interviewing is a vital step in the residency process and can become stressful, so we've included some tips below for you to use when preparing to interview. Just remember: they're not the only ones doing an interview — you're interviewing them, as well.

1. Prepare in advance.

Do your research about the programs you are interviewing with so you know what questions to ask. Ask colleagues about their experiences.

2. Have questions prepared.

Don't ask about things the program will likely have listed on their website. This shows that you didn't do your research and that you aren't invested.

3. Practice.

We're not saying to rehearse your answers so much that you sound like you're reading a script, but you should have an idea of what you will say.

4. Dress the part.

Be sure to choose a professional outfit that you feel comfortable in. And don't forget to bring your CV, letters of recommendation, and any other documents requested by the program.

5. Follow up with your interviewers.

Send them a thank you card (or even an e-mail) to show your appreciation of their time.

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