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Interview Preparation

Researching programs:
 Once you get called for the interview, is when the real research begins. You want to be knowledgeable about the program so you can ask intelligent questions from your interviewer. You want to be able to say “I noticed blah, blah on your website, could you elaborate on that?”  Know what the program is known for. Try to find out where the residents are from and where they go. At interviews you are selling yourself. A good sales(wo)man knows to tailor a sales pitch to the customer. The only way to do that is to know the customer.  Plus, once you start interviewing, you will start getting very confused with all the details. So, it is better to be familiar with the basics before you arrive.

Interview packet:
(to be prepared for each program)
-Info on programs (see above)
-Contact info for programs (in case your travel is delayed or you get lost)
-Questions to ask during interview
-Notepad to take notes
-Envelope to keep business cards of your interviews/the chief residents

 Make a list of everything you need to take. That list should include everything from your passport to your toothbrush (forgetting a toothbrush is actually extremely stressful when on the interview circuit). If you take that list with you, you can also tick off everything when you repack to leave the hotel so that you don’t accidentally leave something behind.
I think it is a good idea to buy a travel alarm and a lint brush.

Cell phone:
 I would advise everyone to get a cell phone if possible. I think that they are invaluable when traveling. Especially for women, having a cell phone is important from a safety point of view; if something happens, you can call for help immediately. Moreover with T-mobile prepaid service, it does not call more than $50 per month. There are some more cheap packages you can look online.

Final Tips:
Courtesy is the most important thing to remember.
-You want to gush over the secretary. (S)he might remember to put in a good word for you with the residency director. On the other hand, (s)he could just, “oops”, lose your application.
-Be sure to send thank you letters/notes/emails to the program directors. Some people like to send letters to every interviewer, but that is not necessary. Just a few lines are enough. If you are really motivated, you can send a few lines immediately afterwards and send a longer letter closer to the match. That way you will be fresh in the program director’s mind when (s)he is making the match list.
-Every bit of correspondence should be run through the spell-checker. You don’t want to ruin a good impression with incorrect spelling or poor grammar.

CANCEL INTERVIEWS IF YOU DO NOT PLAN TO ATTEND. There is nothing more despicable, ungrateful, selfish, and morally defunct than the students who deprives his/her classmates and slanders the name of his/her medical school and country by failing to show up for interviews (or who cancels only 24 hours before – you should cancel as early as possible but no later than 72 hours before).

You may be thinking, “Well, so long as I get into a residency, I really don’t care about the rest.” Well, I have some important news for you: You will probably be applying for fellowship, and if you make a bad impression, that impression might still linger when you send your application out again. And, it is entirely possible that you might not match or that you might hate the residency you match at. In which case, you will be sending out your applications to the very same programs you treated so shabbily.

Basically, “what goes around, comes around.” Be a decent human being and nice things will happen to you.

Note: This article has been derived from "Roadmap to Residency" authored by AKU graduates, with permission from few of the authors. Name of the original author, has purposely not been mentioned on request of one of the authors, for privacy reasons. If you are the original author of this article and want your name to be mentioned or wish this article to be modified/ removed from this website, please contact us and we would be more than happy to entertain your request. We fully respect your privacy, acknowledge your efforts put in authoring this article and appreciate your hard work involved in it.

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