|IMG Home | Overview | IMG Match | USMLE | Clinical Electives | Research | Letters of Rec| Personal Statements | Interviews | IMG Strategies | Resources|
Residency Interviews for the IMG Match Applicant
Talk to me
It’s time for interviews! Interview season each year generally runs from November thru February of the year the applicant is applying for the match. Try to schedule your interviews in a particular geographic region all at the same time, so you can minimize travel and expenses. If you are still waiting to hear from a particular program, and are heading to that part of the country, you may call the program coordinator and politely mention that you will be in the area during a given time period and would like to know if you could interview during that same time.
Interview days are generally arranged to last most of one day. You’ll arrive at the hospital in the morning, and usually be given an overview of the program, including rotation schedules and history of the program. You’ll be taken on a tour of the facility and learn the nuances of each program as well as meeting the residents. This is a great time to learn more about each program. Avoid asking questions that are easily available on the program’s website.
Things to Remember
Don’t be late! Take the amount of time you expect that is needed to drive or commute to the hospital and double it. If you are early, walk around the hospital and look around to familiarize yourself with the area a bit. Lateness will always be remembered when it is time to discuss residency candidates.
Dress sharp. No sloppy hair. Make sure your suit is pressed and neat. Take a look in the mirror before you get to the program office! People will remember the candidate with messy hair.
Be happy. Smiling candidates that are warm and engaging will be remembered, as will candidates that are quiet and look bored. If you are not an outgoing person normally, pretend to be one for the day! Candidates who don’t ask questions may seem uninterested or distracted to residents and faculty.
Talk to the residents. Residents know the ins and outs of that hospital and can tell you all the great things, and not so great things about a program. They can tell you if there are problems or concerns at that institution. Remember, everyone is a spy. If you seem like a complainer, or ask silly questions, the residents WILL remember and report back to the residency committee! Don’t ask about things like vacation time, salary, or Visa questions.
This idea goes both ways. Interviewers will ask you many questions about your background, your training, your qualifications, and your ability to handle residency in the US. You need to be prepared for questions that relate to your ability or experience relating to direct patient care, taking care of patients using English (if it is not your first language), your medical school training, and your overall desire to train in the US.
You will also be given the chance to ask your interviewers questions about the program. Avoid basic questions about schedules and salary or benefits. These are all on the program website. Try to look for insightful questions that show you’ve been paying attention. This may involve asking about growth areas for the program, new opportunities for training, and clinical opportunities in particular areas (free clinics, away electives). Don’t ask about work hours or immigration issues. Also avoid politics and religion.
The “Second Look” is a chance for you to return to the institution to spend more time talking to residents, looking around the wards, and attending conferences or teaching rounds in order to gain a better appreciation of how the program you are interested in really functions. Whenever possible, you should plan to take this second look. In addition to giving you valuable insight into whether or not you will be happy, it provides the admissions committee more certainty that you have a genuine interest in their program.
When given the choice between candidates that are otherwise equal, they generally will rank the applicant higher that has demonstrated more interest in the program (or have other reasons to apply to that program e.g. local family) This is your chance to schedule additional time with the residents, and also attendings and program directors. See if you can spend an extra ten minutes at the end of the day to express your continued interest in the program and ask any last minute questions you have.
It’s customary to send a thank you e-mail, letter, or card to the program director and any faculty who have interviewed you. These should be brief, and mention one or two aspects of your conversation which the interviewer will remember later. At some programs these will be filed IN your residency application such that they will be read again when they review your file. These messages are a gentle reminder to the interviewer about who you are, and give them something to remember you by. If you want, you may write these at the end of the day, then drop them off at the program office and given to the secretary or administrative assistant to deliver them. These will make for rapid and free delivery of your note!