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The Inner View

Thomasrobey72x724Thomas Robey -- “That's it?”

I walked out of the emergency department where I just finished interviewing, wondering where the time had gone. Granted, this was my first residency interview. Many of my peers are in the midst of a grueling travel schedule. How many more will there be? I have no idea. Will they all fly by as this one did? Will I find myself out on the street wondering, “what next?” The likely answer is no. A lttle bit of preparation could go a long way. My goal is to be able to think by the end of the mind numbing exercise in self reflection known as the match.

What are your strategies to deal with the same questions and the endless slide presentations that you encounter on the interview trail?

Here are my once-tested tips on interviewing:

1. Physician, be thyself. It's probably less tiring if you do not need to put up a front of who you are all of the time. It's not in your best interest to pretend to be different than you really are. Plus, that's a lot of work!

2. When you answer a question, use specific vignettes. Think of this as "evidence-based interviewing." Your evidence is examples from the past. Plus, people remember stories better than abstract ideas.

3. Prepare for common questions. Each field will have a couple of common questions that are asked in the interview. Stock questions include, “Where will you be in 5 or 10 years?” or “What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Colin provided some of his stock answers in a previous post. Be sure you are ready to talk about your hobbies. I spoke today about Wunderkammern.

4. Have two or three questions about the program that you are ready to ask when the, “Do you have any questions about the program?” question comes along. I'm interested in knowing what kind of social and professional support I'll get as an intern and how the program can nurture some of my specific interests, so you can bet I'll be asking that of my interviewers.

Hopefully by the end of the day, the folks on the admissions committee will have better insight into your motivation and personality. My goal is to provide them with an “inner view” of my credentials. By now, we've undergone so much self-examination that a conversational interview should come naturally. My challenge is to get comfortable enough to let the good stuff show.

What are your interview pearls?

November 26, 2008 in Thomas Robey | Permalink


I hate interviews... I feel like a used car salesman and I'm the used car!!! You tell them what they want to hear, make it sound special (so they don't confuse you with interviewee #74 who said the same exact thing), and then you pretend to ask informed questions about stuff you could look up yourself on their website. I'm so not looking forward to this song and dance again! I propose that all applicants be forced to undergo intense mental status examinations and then we can get back to the real purpose of interviews: to weed out the crazies!!!

Posted by: BP | Dec 2, 2008 6:04:47 PM

good advice! i would add to think seriously before you list something as a hobby or an interest. my own pet peeve is students who say they are voracious readers, then can't list anything meatier than the nanny diaries (this is a real example!)

thomas, i hope you're interviewing at the univ. of utah, you'd be a nice fit here. if you do, stop by (anybody can find me, i headquarter in the gme office).

Posted by: anne vinsel | Dec 3, 2008 9:48:13 AM

Hello Anne,

Alas, I am not interviewing at Utah, though many of my excellently qualified classmates are! The couples match required my wife and I to cut our list to a few cities where each of us had a couple of options!

Posted by: thomas | Dec 7, 2008 4:19:04 PM

Interviews are rely boring thing for a person. Its like make confuse to the person how takes interviews. Now we are saying about new problem for the cold country. the problem is sinus infection. so we have to take care our health for better tomorrow.

Posted by: evera | Nov 14, 2011 10:22:04 PM

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Posted by: david | Dec 1, 2011 12:40:42 AM

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Posted by: Seerly | Dec 7, 2011 12:54:19 AM

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