INTERVIEW TACTICS

Author: Hammad Ehsan MBBS (KEMC) MD

Edited by Naeem Majeed MBBS (KEMU) BS (PU)

 

FOREWORD

To me, residency interview is all about making a story for yourself, starting from the event(s) that inspired you to be a doctor and your med school experiences to your aspirations for future growth (plans... fellowship); highlighting the fact that this man is a self-motivated, totally dedicated life-long-learner to whom medicine was not a matter of chance but of choice. Your inspiration towards medicine should be based on logical facts and events and through your life in general, and especially during your medical school there (should be) were experiences that strengthened your belief even further making you realize how blessed you are to have chosen this field. You should come up (or make them up) with tales (coz they'll ask you) showing that you are up to the task, having the right qualities and abilities that make you well-suited for medicine…


All I am trying to say is that, they will throw all sorts of questions at you, why you chose medicine/y u wish to b a doctor, y internal medicine/family medicine/pediatrics etc, why did you apply in our program , what sets you apart from the rest of the candidates/y should we choose you, etc... It’s your duty to sit down and think... memorizing and telling what your seniors have answered previously ( a common practice ) during interviews won’t do u any good and will make you look average to say the least...with all the growing competition, importance of brain-work can never be understated... take it seriously...


By the time you are ready for interviews , you will know all the questions they can possibly ask ( hey I’ll tell you) but it’s your responsibility to contemplate logical answers making you look a mature and professional doctor who knows what he is doing...
There will be a lot at stake... a lot of physical ,mental, emotional and financial effort will go into this long and tiresome roller-coaster ride to residency... so... be prepared , be confident and brace yourself for the worst in hope of getting the best that you truly deserve..

THE INTERVIEW


Once you get an interview call... You are half way through...calls are actually based on your scores and us clinical experience... always remember that more or less... all those who have been invited will have equal chances, so interview has a definite role towards your selection... you have to make yourself unique (figuratively speaking)...

 

PREPARATION


1. try to sort out which states you’ll be interviewing in first... like may be give first 10 days of November to new York, next 10 days to Chicago… etc… does not actually happen this way but interview planning should be well-organized...coz it will save you big bucks...


2. Call the program coordinator… set up a date… Ask them if u need (documents, passport etc) to bring anything...thank them for giving you the opportunity and that you’re looking forward to it...


3. If for whatever reason, u need to cancel your interview, do so in a timely manner, not a night before… somebody else will and should get that chance and its professional courtesy… something you’ll be remembered by... don’t forget you are representing your medical school and your country and any untoward behavior will take its toll on your juniors (this has happened before) so call them up and 1. Extend your apologies 2. Your appreciation for the opportunity.


4. as already mentioned go through the list of questions which will be appearing later...your answers should not only reflect your genuine personality but also they should b different from others...should not b as difficult as it looks once u start believing in the fact that each human being is different from other and we are like mere pawns having their specific roles to play in this great game of chess we call LIFE. (Just making sure you understand the point).

 

5. Go to the web site of the program (use FREIDA... alternatively u can get the address from ERAS) ...search it top to bottom... you should come up with at least 3-4 areas in which this hospital is different from others n that’s y u applied over here..it could b because they offer electives in field of your choice, they have ongoing research which is the area of your interest, they have a mentor program ensuring that residents have a professional approach towards building their careers , they have fellowship that you are interested in… or it could be that u did an elective over here n u really liked the atmosphere or u have a friend who already is working over there n who told u about the strengths of this hospital...or its their philosophy that doctors should not only be taught principles of medicine but they should also be well verse in the art of communication and they should have leadership skills, is in tune with your personality and that’s y it’s here that u see all your dreams come true so u should b selected...or u are impressed by the large patient population ‘that the hospital caters to which in your view is the backbone of training...or your impressed with the high achieving faculty...or their community programs like sickle cell program or aids program.etc...visit the web site n you’ll know what to say....

6. Develop a list of questions to ask the interviewer...can make a lot of difference...I’ll give u one but let me try to make one thing very clear… everybody will b repeating the same old thing n if u can come up with something which is out of ordinary… bulls eye... hint… try to turn the discussion towards a lighter topic or a topic which is a product of your own thought process ... Abdur Rehman used to ask this question which not only made the interviewer be more frank with him but also make him realize that this guy is not a bookworm but has the skill to discuss other topics and he is genuinely interested in our program… he used to ask how would people react to me as a doctor knowing that I am a Muslim... what are the problems I might face. You can ask what qualities I need to have to perform better in your program...alternatively try to find topic of mutual interest like Khurram Bhai, in Ohio university, spent most of his time discussing tom Clancy who is a famous novelist by the way… or, yours truly, discussed why Dan browns da Vinci code is a controversial novel during one of my interviews...


7. Make sure u know which time zone u r in...


8. Once in the city...or even prior to that u should know how to get there… u can google local transport… can use www.googlemaps.com to get directions… also can use www.hopstop.com. Doing a dry run is always good meaning try going there a day before... bottom line u don’t want to be late...without a reason...

9. On the day of the interview if you’re staying in a hotel you’ll have to check yourself out... so you can leave your stuff with the reception desk or if you have a carry-on luggage leave it with the program co-coordinator...


10. MOST IMPORTANTLY... think of at least three things that u want your interviewer to remember about u...for instance I was the class rep of my class... I told them I have leadership skills and being a CR you are required to have god communication skills to understand others n make them understand your point of view n also convince them to work for a single cause..Sohail riaz was a computer expert who had single handedly made class e book, a copy of which he carried during his every interview and it almost earned him a residency in St Louis University... PD there was really impressed with his computer skills and even copied e book on his computer… Abdur Rehman revealed that he was a poet with a vision, he took his poems and articles and described in detail his views that he had expressed in his writings thus giving himself an opportunity to mould the discussion in his favor...bottom line… if u are an artist or a writer etc… do let them know this n take your articles or paintings or their pictures with u...

 

 

 

MATERIALS TO HAVE ON AN INTERVIEW

1. All your board scores... copies of your CV… passport… one picture… these things are not required but just in case…
2. Notepad...why....

a. Write your interviewers name… e-mail
b. write name of the residents u came across... for thank u notes later..
c. to write down the impression u had of this program n how u did...you’ll b making your rank order list later where this will come in handy

3. Money
4. Good pen
5. Directions

DURING THE INTERVIEW


DRESSING


1. Boys usually wear black or grey 3 button single breast suits with ties n formal black shoes… don’t "mousse abuse"..Save time to have a haircut....use lint brushes or tape to catch the fuzz…


2. From what I have seen, ladies wear dark suits with round neck blouses/long collar formal shirts, closed front shoes with hair tied, just a hint of lip-stick, clear/pastel nail polish and subtle perfume... [Keen observation is among attributes of a good doctor :)]


3. Be well-dressed, well-pressed n well-in-time...n don’t forget your mint gums...for some reason halitosis seems to be a problem in US... I have even seen consultants carrying mouth fresheners...

ETIQUETTE
1. Be professional yet friendly… remember you’re being assessed for both...
2. Whatever you do… do not... I repeat do not talk down your country... your medical school, other medical schools… other programs where you have already interviewed... coz they’ll ask u which one is the best medical school in Pakistan…what problems did u face in medicine in Pakistan etc... be diplomatic…
3. Do not complain about any travel troubles or accommodation even if u had them...
4. be positive and SHOW A GENUINE INTEREST IN THE PROGRAM EVEN IF IT SUCKS..
5. Thank the coordinator in person that it was mighty nice of her to set up your interview... (she will sure like it)
6. Body language... offer a warm hand shake... not sweaty… not finger tips and certainly not bone crushing...
7. Posture... sit up straight with back firmly against the back of the chair feet on the floor and crossed at the ankles...
8. Look your interviewers in the eyes when you are talking or being spoken to (v.v.v. imp) shows your confidence level...
9. Don’t forget to smile… hold doors for those coming behind u...

10. Letter of thanks
Write a letter of thanks to the person who interviewed u within one week n later drop a Christmas card n one letter at the end of season letting them know you really liked the program n it will b on top of your rank order list.. (Applies to all programs even the ones you didn’t like)… it should look something like this…


Jan 17,2007
2121 Paulding Ave
apt 2J Bronx NY
Dr LeAnn Coberly, MD,
University of Cincinnati,
Department of internal Medicine,
Dear Dr Coberly,

I had my interview with you on Dec,1 2006.I am writing this e-mail to express my gratitude and appreciation for taking time out to talk to me and evaluate me. I was introduced to your program by Dr Falana, but the experience in actuality was better than what I had imagined. I was impressed by the programs commitment to urban health care and by the amount of pathology your hospital gets from such a diverse population which is essential for clinical training. I was touched by the warm welcome extended to us by the residents. I was told about the opportunities to get hands on clinical experience and chances to make independent decisions with faculty providing a facilitatory role
My interview with you was a very pleasant experience. I felt very comfortable and was given ample time to express my views and ask questions. I believe your program has all the components I am looking for to start my residency training and will feel myself very lucky if I am given an opportunity to be a part of your team. Please let me know if you believe that a second meeting, or any other information I can give, would be helpful to you. I can be reached either by phone at (6463168916), or via email: (hammadehsan_81@hotmail.com). Thank you so much once again. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely,
HAMMAD AHSAN BHATTI
AAMC ID 12585127

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR...?


BOARDS AND GRADES...OF COURSE UR USMLE SCORES MATTER A LOT BUT AS ALREADY STATED, once invited to the interview you have, by theory equal opportunity to get residency...of course if somebody has better scores and us clinical experience then he will b the ready choice, nevertheless one can never b too sure how things turn out to be...people with average scores have made it real big so while at it, give it your best shot...


LEADERSHIP SKILLS/EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES are seen as evidence of meaningful participation towards society and thus it should be an essential part of your portfolio and u should be able to relate to your activities in a fluent flawless manner… coz they’ll surely ask you and any stammering will show that those activities were just cv fillers.


RESEARCH is always a bonus along with all the other forms of us clinical experiences... shows that your methodical person believing in scientific inquiry and furthering your knowledge base...


MATURITY... what program directors really hate is a fidgety nervous ill-at ease guy who is sweating and at loss of words when asked a question and who is not answering exactly what is asked...what u need to do is listen carefully first, absorb the question, take your time and then reply in a comprehensible manner with great deal of confidence and poise....that’s y it always helps to practice with your friends or in front of a mirror (give yourself 7-10 days)....

COMMUNICATION SKILLS...
this is perhaps the single most important factor playing a detrimental role in deciding your fate...and let’s be honest about it, we are not born Americans and it is always difficult to get their accent at such a short notice but still coz we have done our MBBS in English so that helps. At least we don’t have to translate medical terms like Chinese doctors... my advice would be to write down your answers (even if you are comfortable in spoken English) and practice them before interviewing… also get hold of a thesaurus and try to learn words that would allow you to describe the same thought in 3-4 different ways... not only it will make you look different but also show your command of language… at least for the time being... Americans have their own way of saying and doing things which you will learn as you move along taking your interviews… best thing u can do is start talking as soon as you land and try to gain from people, see how they express their thoughts... during the interview you should be busy like a bee… introducing yourself to whosoever comes across whether it’s a fellow interviewee or pd or chief resident and you should b able to share views, jokes and lighter moments with people around u... don’t b quiet...they’ll take a strong notice of you if you’re seen sitting alone all by yourself… so mingle with the residents and your colleagues... don’t talk in Urdu... even if you’re with a friend... it would b better not to take interview on the same day as your friend coz you two will be up against each other and one will be ranked... if at all ranked...

KNOWLEDGE BASE...
Ok, a lot of New York programs have this bad habit of asking clinical questions and making you solve clinical scenarios… don’t worry... try to use it to your advantage… if u are good which u should be coz of all the viva voce training, then you’ll have a great chance, at least they’ll surely rank you which itself is nothing short of an achievement… I believe one important fact that led to my and Sohail Riaz’s selection was our handling of case scenarios...we had recently took our step3 and as you know a part of it consists of ccs cases, which are computer based simulation cases, and if you’re comfortable with them then you’ll be fine during the viva. I’ll b posting a mnemonic that I made which deals with how one should approach a clinical case...

DONTS...
LET ME JUST QUICKLY GO THROUGH THINGS THAT CAST A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON UR CANDIDACY AND MUST NOT BE DONE NO MATTER WHAT....
1. Failure to participate in activities during college/medical school days...
2. No apparent career goals…
3. Overemphasis on money…
4. Failure to explain any blemishes like failed subject on your record… you should come up with a plausible reason for your poor performance...
5. Poor scholastic record…
6. Condemnation of medical school, other programs (they were asking clinical questions), past professors.
7. Unprepared for interview… asking questions that should have been a part of your home work...
8. Merely fishing around, beating about the bush with no real interest in the program…
9. Too quiet, nervous, ill at ease with fishy limpy hand shake not looking in the eye...
10. Too hyper, aggressive, conceited, know-it-all sort of guy with lack of courtesy…
11. Lack of knowledge about the field and does not seem to be a self directed learner...
12. Either unable to express oneself clearly with poor diction and grammar or giving indefinite and inappropriate answers to questions asked...
13. Unhappy in life with parents/partners overly controlling in life decisions...

QUESTIONS THAT THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR WILL ASK YOU


I’LL BE DISCUSSING ONLY THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND HOW I RESPONDED TO EM… AGAIN DON'T COPY WHAT I SAID AND TRY TO TAKE IT AS AN EXAMPLE/ GUIDING PRINCIPLE AND TRY TO COME UP WITH UR OWN ANSWERS…


1. Why did u choose medicine?
I used to say that although it came as a natural choice to me because both of parents being doctors hence my early introduction to this lifestyle however I was not forced instead it was my own decision to join this profession..my inspiration was actually the respect and satisfaction my parents had from treating their patients and then I told them I was part of the medical camps my parents arranged for poor people, running small errands... your inspiration could be your uncle or aunt or a doctor’s visit when u were little or coz u were resident of a distant village with no doctor at all... but it has to sound natural yet unique....

2. Why did u opt for internal medicine/family med/pa
As I applied in internal medicine so ill b sharing that, nevertheless it will give u some idea as to how your reply should b if u are applying in any other field...I used to say... it is so because of three reasons...firstly I strongly believe that I have natural aptitude towards medicine which I discovered during my medical school internal medicine rotations which started in 3 rd yr... secondly I really like the thought process and intellectual stimulation involved in the whole process of finding a cause for patients illness coz when a patient comes to u, he has just a complaint and now it’s your knowledge and inquisitive mind that would change that presenting complaint into a diagnosis based on facts and clues following the logical steps of history, Physical examination and labs... or you can say that that u like to think of yourself as Colombo/detective looking for hidden clues and signs that would lead to the mystery behind patients suffering... use thesaurus to allow yourself the liberty of expressing the same thought in different ways...thirdly I used to say that... I think medicine is the field that gives u the flexibility/freedom/liberty to
express yourself and I explain how... most of the branches of medicine like pulmonology/nephro/heam oncology, etc take their origin from internal medicine and once you’re done with the basic training u can join field of your interest and taking the same principle still further suppose u opt for gastro and during your rotation u feel that u have a natural tendency towards hepatobiliary medicine or e.g. heamachromatosis and u start intentionally short listing and seeing those patients in your clinic than naturally you’ll be picking signs and finding associations that others don’t have the slightest idea about, you can conduct your own research and be known for the contribution u have made towards existing pool of medical knowledge (noble prize here I come) and that’s why I opted for medicine to have that flexibility and this fact really excites me about all the opportunities one can come across...

alternatively u can say that... to me internal medicine is a perfect blend of science ,arts and philosophy...it is based on scientific method… and as one of my teacher once said that a doctor has three duties… learn … teach and add to the existing knowledge highlighting the importance of research and philosophy because for example you have a patient with incurable disease and death looming around, you should b able to counsel him about not losing hope and how he should cope with his present issue and how he can still be a useful member of society and his meaningful contribution towards community can be source of inspiration for others... and I say arts because although surgery would a better way to explain that point but since I am interested in medicine I feel that as we know there are different drugs to treat the same condition, but which drug, what dose and which combination of drugs would be better suited for the given scenario at hand is an ART that comes with clinical experience and takes time to develop....

3. Why did u apply in our program?
Or what do you know about our program…what benefit will u have if u train with us… how are we different...???
I have discussed this point earlier on, u need to visit their website… go through it and try to get as much info as u can about the program, program director, ongoing clinical trials, faculty, and especially about their goals and aims and philosophy and try to match it with your aspirations during the interview ...there is definitely a good impact if u know somebody who is already working in their program (senior/friend), it shows that you’ll take lesser time adjusting...they also ask if u have any relative in the city… people usually respond that they have some uncle or friend doing business etc... seniors working in the same program can be only helpful if he has a good impression otherwise it can be counterproductive....then u can always say u like the city, that u love the life of a big city or a suburban city for that matter..compare it to your native city and say that u have a homely feeling about it...tell them because there are so many programs thus the competition is tough and bar is raised making it a conducive environment to strive higher....

4. What qualities will you be bringing to this program
or tell us your strengths/why should we choose u/how do u describe yourself...???
ok now people would be saying I am honest and professional and hard-working and active and down-to-earth and what not...what they want to ask is that how that good quality would help u to b a good doctor and how this has helped u so far(prove it... any story… event etc..)
I used to say... to select or not to select is a decision that rests with you however I would like to take his opportunity to tell u about my personal attributes which I believe have enabled me to be a well-suited candidate for this profession and your program… I am a very efficient person...and if u are efficient u tend to do these little things that matter a lot like for example u reach hospital 10-15 mins earlier than your supposed to be and in addition to your routine work you study your cases thus allowing yourself not only to answer questions when asked but also to ask intelligent questions and we know that consultants are flowing rivers of knowledge and it would take one good question to get their attention which would contribute a lot towards distinguishing yourself from others but also enhancing your knowledge base....and then I used to go on telling them that throughout my life this quality has made me a high achiever and allowed me to do more in lesser time..

...then I used to say that I have leadership skills and an essential part of which is communication skills...I can convince people… negotiate with them ... in a hospital you have patient issues where u have to counsel them thru their difficult times… then u have physician issues where one can be like a bridge btw administration and your colleagues helping to resolve any problem that surfaces...also as a leader u should b able to make other people work as a team for example you are running a code (CPR)...for the whole process to b swift and organized it is imperative that u should know strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team so that u r able to decide who is the right man for which job... who will manage airway, who will do the cpr, or who will be quick enough to take the I/V line and who is skilful at passing endotracheal... and the same principle applies when you reach a certain position in your career where your given the responsibility as a program director to conduct interviews and assess and induct people who are the deserving candidates to be trained by your program... and I have no doubt that I have these skills ...and then I used to describe that I was the college head boy and later became CR of my class and how I used to ensure participation of whole class in different events that I used to organize like theme days , class-trip, class function etc… they used to ask me then what is theme days and thus the discussion was steered towards an area which was my comfort zone... you will be given ample time to say what u have to say... so u should have enough material and topics to keep them attentive... BOTTOM LINE>> so if you are saying I’m honest or humble, u should be prepared with a story signifying your quality...

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years....??
people say that a rule of thumb exists in this matter...if in a community program you’ll say ....I want to be a hospitalist (after your 3 rd yr u join a hospital) because that would allow u to b a part of an academic environment helping u to keep abreast of all the new drugs and techniques being introduced in medicine n also because you’re interested in teaching...when in a university program you’ll go on to tell them the fellowship u want to do....
I never bothered about this rule...where ever I went I told them about the fellowship I intended do...I leave the choice up to u...
my response was that I want to do pulmonolgy n critical care because...there is a dire need of pulmonologist in a country where smoking is a common habit n where we have few community programs running for the prevention of its consequences... and critical medicine because for me it is one of those branches where u see the wonders of medicine being done at their very best... it is something very divine although life and death is a decision that rests with the GOD ALMIGHTY but u have been given knowledge by GOD to do your best and save the suffering humanity..the results are quick and that’s y they are more than satisfying... also u can say that again there are very few trained people in Pakistan but repeating the same thing over and over n that too in a way against your country is not advisable...

6. Would you be staying in US or going back to Pakistan?
Again whatever is the part of your story… just let them know that... whether u plan on staying for sometime after your fellowship or u want to leave as soon as you’re done... whatever it is ,be straightforward... u can never tell if a program likes u to leave USA or not... they might be of the opinion that after training you should serve US or in other case they may have opinion opposite to it… so your best bet is to let them know honestly what you’ll be doing and it should be in synchronization with the rest of your story...

 

7. Tell me something about yourself...?
Give an introduction of yourself, your medical school, your birth place… talk a little about your parents, siblings... and then maneuver the discussion towards your stronger points like tell them you’re hardworking dedicated person, that you’re very dynamic in terms of always wanting to do something constructive and also in terms of always wanting to learn more about different topics in medicine... that you’re very calm cool collected customer who thrives under pressure and some of your best scores and achievements have been when u were really pushed to the limit... or that u r a born leader and time n again you have found yourself in that role where a lot people were looking up to u...or u are a good teacher... they might ask u to teach them a topic, sort of give them a presentation … be prepared for that especially if you have mentioned something in your cv that u did case presentations in conferences... last yr one of our college fellow got his residency just because he gave an excellent presentation on a topic that he mentioned in his cv although his scores were average...

8. What are your weaknesses?
ok this is a tricky question and you have to show your strengths AS your weaknesses... begin by saying...
I am a very emotional person and its difficult for me to tolerate if somebody lies to me or deceives me...I know in actual world u come across all sort of people and one should develop the tact to deal with all of them... or u can say...
I am sometimes so much focused at the job at hand that it becomes difficult for me to take time out for myself... you know how medicine is even if one wants to go out with friends or play golf… one simply cannot because… duty comes first :) or u can say...
sometimes, not always, I become a bit too critical towards those around me because I am always striving for the best and want others to share the same enthusiasm...I ought to give everybody their space ...I am working on it… or may b you can say...
I am a very sensitive person really feel the pain if I come across somebody clenched in the jaws of an illness…
I need to improve my physique… Perhaps a little more exercise
J (well… you get the point)
DON’T GIVE THEM ANYTHING

9. How do you spend your leisure time...??
I like to ring up old friends… ask them how they have been… lets meet up...spend time together... go to the movies… I like talking to people and making new friends... (communication skills ;))
10. do you have any interest in research...???
don’t just say that ...yes sir I do… that means nothing... you should b able to prove that u do...if u have already done research and got experience then well and good, otherwise u should be able to come up with topics or areas that come under field in which you want to do fellowship...
as I was interested in pulmonology n critical care… I used to say that earlier in an ICU patients of sepsis were treated with broad spectrum antibiotics with not a great deal of success but recently something new has popped up... zygress... which focuses on inhibiting protein C...mediator of inflammation and its effect on outcome of sepsis is an area I like to spread my wings as a researcher...how did I get that info...easy… go to pubmed.com… look for topics by date and focus on recent topics... you’ll know what to say....

 

11. What motivates u to put forth your best effort..?? (SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY… give examples)

 

12. How do you define success...???(It’s the path that u follow with a clear focus in your mind and not the rewards u reap)

 

13. Qualities of a good doctor? (Keen observer, good listener, excellent communicator, sober counselor)...

 

14. Describe what relationship should exist between attending and those reporting to him?  (we should all be like a closely-knit one big happy family sharing moments of happiness and sorrow together, with the attending playing a fatherly role)...

 

15. What do you think your attitude towards nurses should b? (Good terms with them are imperative... you learn many little things of tremendous importance from them...)

16..describe an interesting case that u came across
this actually will show whether your experience in Pakistan is original or fake...they don’t expect u to tell them management of hypoglycemia or ventricular fibrillation...instead your story should be based on actual events and how a small mistake or a small effort made u realize that little things matter n became a clinical pearl for u and a source of enlightenment for others..u need to think hard for this...I used to describe a case where people were trying to figure out y a 70 yr old lady with cough n chest pain was having these symptoms by looking at the x ray and thinking on the lines of interstitial lung disease or bronchopulmonary aspergillosis… when I, the hero of the day, came into the scene and saved the day by declaring how foolish of them to not honor the time tested dictum of taking history n concentrating on the chief complaint as taught to us by our worthy teachers... her main complaint was chest pain n which was due to a rib fracture (visible on x ray but not being looked for)...

alternatively a burn victim started complaining of seeing girls in his crib(hallucinations)4 hours after the incident while being managed in our burn unit, which my seniors found rather amusing and it was my inquisitive mind which took upon itself the task of unveiling the mystery behind that boys rather preposterous claims...I did ABGs… and low n behold... hypoxia was the reason why that boy was hallucinating which later was confirmed by a chest x ray that showed signs of ARDS and my timely intervention (BY THE GRACE OF ALMIGHTY) saved the boy from his dreadful fate...hence the importance of taking your patients seriously was highlighted...when I told the program director (the program where I have matched) this (true) story... she said a rather similar thing happened to her once when she was a an intern… one night a CLD patient started screaming there are cockroaches in my room... everybody thought may b she is drinking again and that’s y hallucinating… so they treated her for delirium tremens... the next night she had the same complaint and the night after that... interestingly it was found that she wasn’t hallucinating at all… There were actually cockroaches in her room...bug control had to be called....

17.  Do u think your scores/grades are a good indication of your academic capabilities? (Yes sir they are… explain in detail how you have been doing all throughout your medical school, also mentioning the room for improvement which is always in the back of your mind)...


18. Did u do any mistake during your internship? (Begin by saying... my consultant used to say… if u haven’t done any mistake means you haven’t done enough n u haven’t learned enough... They will be assessing how you handled the situation and don’t forget to tell them what u learned from it... e.g.  I told a patient he needs to do saline dressing for a recently done skin graft instead of bactigrass or polyfax dressings which resulted in his graft loss...I admitted my mistake and we did the procedure all over again…  (No I didn’t…)


19. What criteria are you using to rank programs? (Fellowship... electives... IMG friendly... cordial working conditions... didactic teaching... exposure to a wide patient population...opportunities for scholastic activities, research etc...)


20. What if you don’t get a residency position? (I would like to start by pondering over my short comings and then I would make every effort to correct them and come back strong next yr. for example if I am lacking us clinical experience. I would get that etc...)

21. Teach me something interesting in 5 min, outside medicine? (Had I been asked that question I would have replied... sir I’ll b teaching you breathing exercise for relaxation... close your eyes and imagine you r walking along the shore line with cool breeze gently caressing your face, listening to your favorite music… now take a deep breath with open mouth… hold it for 5 sec… slowly release it thru pursed lips... I want u to do three sets of 5... u can answer the same thing if you’re asked how you handle pressure...


22. What type of criticism upsets u? (Which is not constructive and is intended to tease and not to correct... like how someone dresses and wears his hair… it should be constructive with suggestions on how to improve... be ready with a story)


23. How do you make important decisions of your life? (I begin by gathering as much info as I can from different sources about the matter at hand... then I go over the benefits I would achieve by making that decision and the risks involved like to take advice from people especially those who have already walked that path coz u learn a lot from other people `s experience...that’s how I do it..)


24. How does medicine in Pakistan compare to USA? (we are a developing nation, medical facilities are not available at distant places hence the delay in reaching a tertiary care center n opportunity to see advance pathology and as patients are poor so cost effective management is done meaning only those tests are ordered which are really indicated... research has a big role in medicine in USA and each day new drugs and protocols are being put forth e.g. evidence based medicine)...

QUESTIONS YOU WOULD BE ASKING FROM THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
(ASK 3-4 QUESTIONS OR MORE IF YOU WANT... NOT ASKING IS A SIN)
1.What kind of research opportunities do u offer...
2. Do you give dedicated time for research/conferences to your residents...
3. Do you your residents get any teaching opportunities...
4. Where are your graduates now and how many of them made t to competitive fellowships...
5. What qualities are u looking for in a residency candidate…
6. How do you evaluate your residents...
7. What kind of hand on experience is required by your residents to master during first yr...
8. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your program..
9. As a program director what has been your greatest source of accomplishment///frustration....
10. How do you feel I compare with rest of the candidates...
11. Any plans for future growth....

QUESTION TO BE ASKED FROM RESIDENTS
(ASK AS MANY AS YOU LIKE)
1. How has experience been for u in general...
2. Are you happy... over all do u feel you are treated fairly...
3. What is your daily routine like…
4. What is the team structure like on a typical floor...are u supervised...
5. What is the average number of patients u r responsible for...
6. What is the call schedule/clinic schedule like...
7. Give me an idea about the amount scut work that one has to do...does the hospital provides I/V lines and blood drawing teams...
8. What made u sell yourself to/choose/rank this program...
9. What do residents do for fun/how do they get along…
10. What kind of academic input is required as a first yr resident....

QUESTIONS YOU WILL NEVER ASK

(Coz you have done your homework by visiting FREIDA n website of the hospital)

1. PGY-1 rotation structure…
2. Starting salary…
3. Moonlighting allowed or not…
4. Vacations…
5. Sick leave info...
6. Do they accept IMGs…
7. What visa do they offer…
8. Pre match... you should know they offer it or not... if they do n you are really interested... tell them you are interested in an out of match position... if they don’t offer… it’s better not to bring up the topic...
9. How many hospitals are in this program and which medical school is affiliated....
10. Insurance benefits...
11. PDA given or not....lunch tokens… etc...

LAST WORD OF ADVICE
During your entire interview you are being assessed for one simple thing... will he be able to work with us and be a part of our team? Will he be able to get in...? Does he have the required clinical and communication skills to deal with his patients and interact with his colleagues...  give them every reason that you do....


PRACTICE... think of yourself as a bridegroom practicing his vows or better still, as president of United States mastering his speech to be delivered to the rest of the world and you need to take the same level of confidence into your interview in order to be triumphant...
Take one question at a time and think what your response should be...
you’ll only make a good impression if whatever you say comes directly from your heart... no matter how out of ordinary or outrageous your view point is... it should look natural...


Read this article at least twice and once each time before your interview incase u forget anything...
 

Read the AMA tips here http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/6701.html

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

 
 
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