Residency Interview Questions

Residency Interview Questions

The Best Residency Interview Questions section provides High Yield information needed to pass the residency interview process during the 4th year of Medical School. 

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Best Residency Interview Questions

Personality Questions

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • How would you describe your personality? Describe your personality.
  • Describe yourself in 3 words.
  • What do you think your fellow medical students would say about you?
  • How would your friends and coworkers describe you?
  • What are your key skills?
  • What have you learned about yourself from previous jobs?  
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What motivates you? 
  • What makes you a good fit?
  • What are some of your strengths? What is your best quality? What makes you a good physician?
  • What makes you different?
  • What are your weaknesses? How do you handle your weakness?
  • What are your weaknesses, and how do you compensate for them? Use an example that you can turn into a positive trait that isn’t a real weakness.
  • What is your worst quality? If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • What interests do you have other than medicine? What do you do in your spare time?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How do you relax?
  • What do you do to cope with stress?
  • What leadership experience do you have?
  • What do you like to read?
  • When are you least efficient and effective?
  • What makes you procrastinate?
  • What is the greatest sacrifice you have made to reach where you are?
  • How well do you take criticism?
  • Have you always done the best work of which you are capable?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
  • How do you deal with conflict? Tell me about a time that you had a conflict with a team member and how you handled it.

Behavioral Questions

  • Does your test scores reflect your abilities?
  • How would you describe your decision-making style?
  • Tell me about a time you worked effectively under pressure.
  • Tell me about a stressful situation you experienced in medical school and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake and had to tell a resident or attending.
  • Tell me how you would deal with a resident who wasn’t doing his share of the work.
  • Tell me about a time when you were disappointed in your performance.
  • Tell me about a time you had to build a relationship with someone you didn’t like.
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year.
  • Tell me about a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed.
  • Tell me about a time your performance was criticized.
  • Tell me about what irritates you about other people and how you deal with it.
  • Tell me about a patient you had trouble dealing with.
  • Tell me about a time when you were upset with the behavior of a team member or faculty and how you dealt with it.

Medical Education Questions

  • Tell me about your medical education.
  • Why did you choose the medical school you attended?
  • What was your favorite course in medical school?
  • List several qualities that you feel are the most important in being a good medical school student.

Specialty Questions

  • Why did you become a doctor? What made you join medicine?
  • Why did you choose this specialty? Why are you interested in this specialty? Why do you want to go into internal medicine?
  • What would be the toughest and least enjoyable part of this specialty?
  • What will be the toughest aspect of this specialty for you?
  • How did you become interested in family(internal) medicine?
  • Why would you be particularly good in this specialty?
  • Tell me three things that would make you valuable to our residency program.
  • Why have you applied to this residency program? Why did you choose this program? This is the most specific question about a program. We will need to answer with facts about that particular program.
  • Are you applying to any other specialty?
  • What have you done to inform yourself about a career in this specialty?
  • What challenges do you foresee that will potentially affect this specialty in the next ten years? What problems will our speciality face in the next 10 years?
  • What clinical experiences have you had in this specialty?
  • What do you see as the positive aspects of this specialty? 
  • What do you see as the negative aspects of this specialty? 
  • What is the most challenging aspect of this specialty for you?
  • What problems do you think this specialty may face in the future? 
  • Why do you think you are prepared for the rigors of residency?
  • How did lifestyle considerations factor into your choice of a specialty?
  • What have you done to confirm your passion for family(internal) medicine?

Program Questions

  • Why are you interested in our program? 
  • How does this program align with your priorities for residency?
  • How did you come to know about our program?
  • Why did you apply to our program? Why do you want to join our residency program? “What makes this program appealing/special to you?”
  • Why did you choose our program?
  • What do you hope to gain from our residency program?
  • Why should we choose you? How do you see yourself contributing to our program?
  • Why should we want you to come to our program? What makes you different from other applicants? What can you contribute to the program? Why should we accept you into our residency program, instead of any other applicant? What sets you apart from the crowd? Why should we take you in preference to other candidates?
  • What can you offer to our program? Tell me three things about you that will make you especially valuable for our program.
  • What are you looking for a program director or an attending?
  • Describe your ideal residency? What are you looking for in a program? What qualities are you looking for in a program?  What do you consider to be important in a training program? What are you looking for in a program? What is your ideal program?
  • Describe the qualities you seek in a resident?
  • What is your perception about strength and weakness of this program? What do you perceive as negatively about our program? What are you avoiding in a training program?
  • What factors would lead you to rank a program very highly?
  • Why this City?

Future Plan Questions

  • What is your medical career plan? What are your goals?
  • What are your long and short term career goals?
  • How can this specialty fit your long term goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? What will you do 10 years after completion of residency? Where do you see yourself practicing?
  • Do you plan on pursuing a fellowship? “What are your ultimate career plans? Are you planning on a subspecialty? What field?”
  • Are you interested in academic medicine or clinical medicine?
  • How do you see the delivery of healthcare evolving over the next ten years?
  • Do you want to do research? “Do you plan on research as being a part of your career?” Do you have an interest in pursuing research or have you been involved in research in the past?

CV Related Questions

  • Items on your CV: your research, your extracurricular activities, your decision to expand.
  • You have spent your entire life on the west coast and your family is also on the west Coast, why did you want to come here?
  • How do you rank in your class?
  • What were major deficiencies in your medical training?

Unexpected Questions

Challenging Questions

Clinical Experience Questions

Medicine Questions

Illegal Questions

Law prohibits discrimination based on gender (including pregnancy and childbirth), race, religion, national origins, age and disability. If you are asked questions about any of these issues, you are not required to answer them. If a program is flagrantly pursuing this information, you can contact the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Deflect answers:

Psychiatry Questions

Surgery Questions

The questions below were taken from the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Web site and the American College of Surgeons.

  • Where do rotations take place?
  • How large is the facility and what types of patients are served?
  • Are residents required to do General Surgery at (name of the school); do they need to apply separately to the General Surgery Program and what is the General Surgery Program like?
  • What is the structure of the residency?
  • What types of cases are available?
  • How much involvement in patient care do residents experience?
  • Are there opportunities for attending scientific meetings?
  • Are laboratory research opportunities available?
  • What educational resources are available?
  • What conferences are held?
  • How do residents perform on Boards and in-service/in-training exams?
  • What is the vacation schedule for residents?
  • What is the call schedule?
  • What is the pay scale?
  • What health-care benefits are available?
  • What arrangements are available for meals on call?
  • What is the history of the Department, and what have former residents done upon completion of their residency?
  • What sort of housing is available?
  • What other provisions are made by the hospital?
  • What leisure activities are available in (the name of the city/town)?
  • How can I learn more about the Department?

The questions below were taken from the Mercy Healthcare Sacramento/Methodist Hospital Family Practice Residency Program.

  • What is the educational philosophy of this residency program?
  • Hospitals across the country are suffering extreme economic pressures; what is the assurance that (hospital name) remains economically healthy in the future?
  • What is the cultural profile of (name of hospital)’s service population?
  • What are the strengths of this residency program?
  • What are the weaknesses of this program?
  • (Hospital name) is a (religious denomination) organization. Does that impact the residents’ experience in women’s health?

Additional Questions

Questions to Ask During the Residency Interview

Questions to ask about:

  • Curriculum
  • Culture 
  • Learning opportunities
  • Big-picture questions about program philosophy – better for PD
  • Quality of life questions – better for current residents.

Go to questions:

Questions For Residents

Questions about Education

Questions about Research Opportunities

Questions about Teaching Responsibilities

Questions about Clinical Duties

Questions about Resident Performance

Questions about Program Performance

Questions about Employment Issues

Questions to ask Yourself

  • Can I be happy working in this program and with these people? 
  • Am I confident in the program and the sponsoring institution?
  • Are there factors that make this place (city/town/rural area) an attractive place for me to live during my residency?
    • Factors that you may include are:
      • proximity to immediate and extended family
      • happiness of spouse/significant other
      • housing/cost of living
      • quality of secondary school system
      • community opportunities
      • recreational activities

After the Interview

  • Send thank you cards/emails to program director and interviewer(s) you connected with – Very Important!!!
  • Complete the program evaluation forms
  • Begin to prepare rank list -> Watch NRMP Match Algorithm
  • Follow up with programs in January with specific questions
  • Complete rank list!

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