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Residency Interview

39 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated July 1st, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 39
What book are you currently reading?
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How to Answer
The interviewers would like to know what you choose to read about in your spare time. Your favorite type of genre can tell a lot about you! Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewer about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most.
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Top 35 Residency Interview Questions with Full Content
What book are you currently reading?
The interviewers would like to know what you choose to read about in your spare time. Your favorite type of genre can tell a lot about you! Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewer about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most.

Rachelle's Answer
"Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience and success. I feel that every professional should read it - it comes highly recommended."
Anonymous Answer
"Recently, I have been reading mystery novels by Agatha Christie. Each of her stories presents with a crime and prime suspect. Christie draws the reader's attention away from the prime suspect until the reader believes that the crime was committed by someone else. I enjoy reading her mysteries because they highlight the importance of details and how the smallest detail can change the entire story."
Rachelle's Answer
This is an intriguing writing approach, indeed! If there is any way to connect the dots between mystery novels and what you are aiming to achieve in your career, be sure to do so.
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Anonymous Answer
"Currently, I am reading "The One Thing" by Gary Keller. It's about the one thing you should do today to make your work easier or do away with unwanted items and help achieve your short and long term goals. I especially like the domino effect described in the book, which shows that tiny changes can fetch significant results."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic response! You are detailed while offering a fun glimpse into what you have learned so far.
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If being a Physician was not an option, what career path would you choose?
This hypothetical question will give the interviewers some insight into other topics that interest you. There is no right or wrong answer here! If you could do everything over, what would you do, and why?

Rachelle's Answer
"I certainly do not regret the direction I have taken my career; however, if I had to completely start over in a new direction I would likely pursue my Degree in Education and become a teacher. Both of my parents were teachers and they seemed to have a very fulfilling career. I enjoy coaching and leading others so, any tasks in my current career that related to these skills, are very welcome."
Anonymous Answer
"I certainly would not change my decision to become a physician, but if I had to pick a different path, I would like to go into a field that studies behavioral neuroscience. I am fascinated by the concept of cognitive-behavioral therapy and the power that we, as human beings, can have over our minds. I want to incorporate CBT in my practice one day."
Rachelle's Answer
Very in-depth and interesting response. This is excellent, and you give the interviewer a lot of insight into what excites you in the medical field.
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How do you stay on top of trends and changes in the medical industry?
The interviewers want to be assured that you fully immerse yourself in the healthcare industry. This includes keeping up to date on new trends, and having a great understanding of the challenges your industry faces now, and in the future. Talk about a couple of your favorite resources when it comes to staying on top of medical industry trends. It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers if they have any fresh recommendations for you. This can start a great conversation that will be helpful to you!

Rachelle's Answer
"I follow a few resources online for up to date information on the medical industry. My favorites right now are the medical blog, 'Uncommon Student MD'...a blog created by student doctors in medical school and residency. The other resource I read on a regular basis is 'Health Data Management', online. Do you have any recommendations for me? I love to learn and would appreciate knowing about any new and helpful resources."
Would you have any trouble working with a religiously affiliated hospital or medical facility?
Questions surrounding topics such as religion and politics can be tough to navigate! The interviewers want to see how you navigate controversial topics. This is the time to discuss that you are neutral and professional whenever it's required of you. You can keep your answer basic and to the point.

Rachelle's Answer
"While at work, I keep my personal opinion to myself when it comes to topics of religion and /or politics. I would not have any trouble working at a religiously affiliated hospital or medical facility so long as the religious aspect did not interfere with my ability to care for my patients."
Anonymous Answer
"I do not have any trouble working in a religiously affiliated hospital. The standard of care and professionalism is the same regardless of whether the hospital is religiously affiliated or not."
Rachelle's Answer
Good answer! Clear, and to the point.
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Anonymous Answer
"Being a doctor, I have no religious or ethnic boundaries. For me, every person in the world is a human first, so no religious affiliation would interfere in the care I give to my patients."
Rachelle's Answer
Very well crafted response. Bravo!
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Tell us about the most interesting case you were exposed to while attending medical school.
This is a conversational based question intended to get to know you a little bit better, and the types of cases that you find to be the most interesting.

Generally speaking, the cases that are most interesting to you will likely be to do with the specialty you are looking for.

Think about the most impressionable case that you have worked on. Take a few minutes to set the stage for the case, name a couple of points that intrigued you the most, and talk about why. If you know the outcome of the case, discuss that briefly as well.
Describe your personality to us in 3 words.
The interviewers would like some insight into how you view yourself, and your personality. Notice they are not asking how others would describe you; but how YOU would describe yourself.

Here are some great personality focused descriptive words that will help you to stand out.

- Adaptable
- Brave
- Compassionate
- Dynamic
- Exuberant
- Friendly
- Generous
- Helpful
- Intelligent
- Kind
- Optimistic
- Polite
- Rational
- Sincere
- Thoughtful
- Understanding
- Versatile
- Witty

Avoid giving the same usual answer that everyone else will! Also, be sure to explain your answer to the interviewers.

Rachelle's Answer
"If I could describe my personality to you in 3 words I would say that I am thoughtful, intelligent, and friendly. My personality is well suited for a healthcare focused environment as my patients will find me to be approachable, with a mind that they care rely on, and a character that they can trust."
Anonymous Answer
"If I could describe my personality in 3 words, I would say calm, adaptable, and goal-oriented. During my days as a junior resident in the ER at a hospital, we were severely understaffed that day, and we had almost 25 patients waiting in the triage area. I was nearing the end of my shift, but I realized that the two residents and the attendant would have a tough time managing patients. So I took it upon myself to streamline the triage, screen patients right there, and get only those patients who needed immediate attention and treated those who I could in the triage itself."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a wonderful example of your biggest personality traits. This answer speaks so much to your character and dedication in the workplace.
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Anonymous Answer
"If I could describe my personality in three words, I would say that I am empathetic, thoughtful, and calm. My character is well-suited to family medicine because my patients will find me approachable. My style will foster the therapeutic patient-doctor relationship that is vital to family medicine."
Rachelle's Answer
Very well said! These are must-have qualities.
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What is your opinion on socialized health care versus privatized health care?
This is the type of question meant to start up a conversation between yourself and the interview panel. They want to see a bit of your personal opinion, your critical thinking skills and your ability to be diplomatic when it comes to hot topics. Avoid any offensive answers! It's best if you can bring an answer that appeals to both sides while not appearing wishy-washy.

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe that the basic concepts of socialized health care and privatized health care are good by nature, and speak to a range of patients. Some of my patients have expressed their love for socialized health care because, although they pay a higher tax rate, they are not caught in an expensive whirlwind when they face illness. Privatized health care on the other hand can offer significantly shorter wait times which is very important for those with potentially critical or debilitating illness. I believe it is important to have options for both so that people can choose."
Are you willing to relocate for your residency?
The interviewers want to know that you are serious when it comes to your willingness to relocate for this residency. The goal when answering this question is to assure the interviewer that having you relocate for this residency will not be a headache for them. If it's a challenging relocation for you, but you are willing to do it, be sure that the interviewers feel it is a simple decision for you, regardless.

Rachelle's Answer
"Yes, I am absolutely willing to relocate for my residency. For me, the right fit is the most important factor. I can easily pick up and go where I am needed."
Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I am willing to relocate for residency. I believe life is a journey of new experiences, each of which teaches me to become a better person, and in this case, a better physician."
Rachelle's Answer
Very well said! This is a strong answer.
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How do you invest in your personal development?
As a physician it is very important that you avoid professional burnout. Part of that means you should have a beat on your personal needs. Talk to the interviewers about how you are able to maintain a healthy balance by giving back to yourself. Personal development is a very valuable habit and can include things like:

- A regular yoga practice
- A daily meditation practice
- Attending courses and workshops for personal development
- Reading books dedicated to personal development
- Spending time with a mentor
- Spending time being creative
- Taking on a fitness challenge
- Practicing gratitude
- Building a bucket list and crossing items off

However you choose to invest in your personal development, be sure to show the interviewers that you understand the importance of investing in yourself.

Rachelle's Answer
"It is very important to invest in myself, especially with a high-stress, high-pressure job as a physician. For the last 3 years I have invested in a personal coach who helps me to uncover my personal desires, and assists me in making a plan to achieve those goals. Also, I am adamant about my personal fitness and health. I take good care of my body because it's the only one I have. I need to be a strong example to my patients as well."
Anonymous Answer
"Personal care and development are very important in the medical field. Prayer and spiritual growth are two significant parts of my life that keep me grounded in who I am and who I am striving to become. Life brings challenges, and my spiritual life allows me to handle those challenges so I can help my patients who are facing their own."
Rachelle's Answer
Beautiful response! You show a lot of wisdom and self-awareness, which will be incredibly important characteristics as you move forward in your career.
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Anonymous Answer
"Personal development is something I believe is very necessary for a high-pressure job as a physician. For me, my development comes in the form of my personal fitness and through painting."
Rachelle's Answer
It's great that you mention how important personal development is for you. Try offering up some more details, such as what kind of things you do to keep fit, and the type of painting that you do.
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Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewers about who has inspired your life and why.

Rachelle's Answer
"I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."
Anonymous Answer
"My mother is my biggest inspiration. She is one of the most hard-working and dedicated persons I have known in my life. She has always been my greatest supporter, and regardless of how tired she may be, she takes the time to listen to those around her. She sees the best in others and encourages them to be their best regardless of the challenges and expectations the world brings."
Rachelle's Answer
Your mother sounds like a wonderful person! If you take these qualities and apply them to your approach with patients, you will make a big difference in the lives of many. Nicely said :)
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