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Residency Interview
Questions

39 Questions and Answers by
| 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

Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?

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Residency Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    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 :)

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
  2. 2.

    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."

  3. 3.

    Is there anything we haven't covered, that you would like to ask?

      Before your residency interview, make sure you conduct research on the company and thoroughly review the program description for any clarification you may need on the residency position. Asking intelligent questions demonstrates to the interviewers your level of interest in their facility, and their residency program.

      If for some reason you are not prepared for the interview, and you need to think of questions off the top of your head, ask questions regarding their culture, traits they are looking for in the ideal candidate, and if there is anything not listed on the role description that this position will be in charge of.

      Here are some sample questions:

      - When would you like to have this position filled?
      - What is your favorite part about working here?
      - What is the facility's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
      - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
      - What do you see as the biggest challenge facing this facility in the next 12 months?
      - Is there any reason why you would not move me to the next stage of interviews?

  4. 4.

    What is your personal mission statement?

      Not everyone has a mission statement or personal mantra just off the cuff. In the workplace, especially when entering a role in healthcare, this is an important question to ponder. Do you have a quote that inspires you, or a saying that you grew up with that really resonates with you?

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My personal mantra is that 'people who shine from within do not need the spotlight.' I feel that it is incredibly important to be a humble caretaker and I take this mission statement very seriously. I want my team to be in the spotlight rather than being the kind of physician that takes credit for all of the good work."

  5. 5.

    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.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      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.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  6. 6.

    What do you believe is the greatest challenge your specialty will face in the next few years?

      The interviewers want to see that you understand being a Physician will come with great challenges. You will often face situations that are out of your control, and there will be times you feel that your hands are tied because of policy or the actions of others. Discuss the challenges you foresee and speak a bit about how you plan to succeed despite these challenges.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "There are numerous challenges I believe that I will face as a family physician, over the next few years. For instance, the new policy surrounding MACRA for healthcare payments, changes in the way physicians certify their sub-specialties through the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM), as well as the maintenance of certification (MOC) process. One factor that will help me to forge through is the fact that all family physicians are facing the same challenges so I will not feel alone in that."

  7. 7.

    Who has inspired you in your life and why?

      Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewer 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."

  8. 8.

    What are your strengths?

      Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks.

      In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand patients needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewers about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in the medical field.

      Some great strengths to mention are:

      - Communicative
      - Loyal
      - Collaborative
      - Tech Savvy
      - Flexible in Schedule/Availability
      - Persistent and Determined
      - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I think my strengths are in my perceptiveness and ability to be observant of the needs of others. These strengths are part of what makes me an excellent performer in high pressure, patient facing situations."

  9. 9.

    Are you applying for any other jobs?

      It always puts a little bit of fire under the hiring manager if the are aware that you are actively looking for a new position. Tell the interviewer about your search so far.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am keeping an eye out for viable positions. Although I am not in final stages with any other company, I am actively seeking a new position."

  10. 10.

    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."

  11. 11.

    While attending medical school, what fascinated you most about your cadaver?

      The interviewers would like to understand what intrigued you the most during your cadaver workshops in medical school. You can keep your answer brief but be specific and be sure to express your passion for learning when you answer this question.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The experience of cadaver observation and dissection is absolutely incredible. It's hard to think of just one most fascinating point! If I had to choose, I would say that the most fascinating is the exploring and discovery of every skeletal muscle. The human body is amazing."

  12. 12.

    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.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      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.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  13. 13.

    What types of activities keep you busy, outside of work?

      Having hobbies and interests outside of work is a very important part of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Talk to the interviewer about the activities that interest you outside of the workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have a variety of hobbies that keep me busy outside of work hours. First, I have 2 children who are involved in basketball and gymnastics. I also play on a baseball beer league, I volunteer at our community church and like to read."

  14. 14.

    What would you do if you witnessed a fellow resident acting unethically?

      The interviewers want to know that, if faced with an ethical dilemma or a dilemma in reporting a breach of ethics, that you will do the right thing. If, in medical school, you were trained on taking a specific course of action - now is the time to recite that. If not, you should create your own standard for ethics issues. Be sure to ask the interview panel if they have a system for reporting ethics issues, in their facility.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I see a fellow resident act unethically, I will refer to how I was trained on reporting ethical issues. The steps are as follows:

      1. Identify the breach of ethics.
      2. Apply the code of conduct or code of ethics to ensure that it truly is an ethical dilemma.
      3. Determine the nature of the ethical dilemma.
      4. Identify the trusted supervisor who should be made aware of the ethical breach.
      5. Implement the course of action.

      ...Rest assured, I have a very clear set of moral values and will not turn a blind eye to any breach of ethics in the workplace."

  15. 15.

    When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

      Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. When you work in the medical field, those setbacks can be amplified. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a patient. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. People need me to recover quickly so that I can concentrate on the next case."

  16. 16.

    What book are you currently reading?

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  17. 17.

    If being a Physician was not an option, what career path would you choose?

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  18. 18.

    Would you have any trouble working with a religiously affiliated hospital or medical facility?

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  19. 19.

    Tell us about the most interesting case you were exposed to while attending medical school.

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  20. 20.

    Are you willing to relocate for your residency?

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  21. 21.

    What are your plans, after completing our residency program?

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  22. 22.

    Have you completed all ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) requirements, to start a residency?

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  23. 23.

    Competition for this space is strong. What makes you a stand-out resident for our program?

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  24. 24.

    While attending medical school, what was your favorite course? Why?

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  25. 25.

    Tell me about yourself.

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  26. 26.

    All of our residency program candidates must pass a criminal record check and education verification. Is there any reason why you would not be comfortable with this?

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  27. 27.

    What are you reading right now?

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  28. 28.

    Do you have any questions for me?

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  29. 29.

    How do you handle stress on the job?

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  30. 30.

    If you could start your career over again, what direction would you take?

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  31. 31.

    Being a Physician is an incredibly stressful and demanding career. How do you manage high amounts of stress?

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  32. 32.

    How do you express your opinions on controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, and cloning?

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  33. 33.

    Are you applying to any other residency programs?

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  34. 34.

    We would like to know you on a more personal level. Outside of medicine, what are your interests?

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  35. 35.

    What do you see as the biggest difference between the U.S healthcare system and that of another developed country?

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  36. 36.

    Why did you choose your particular specialty?

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  37. 37.

    How would you like to see the delivery of healthcare evolve?

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  38. 38.

    What do you wish to gain through this residency program?

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  39. 39.

    What drives your passion for a career in medicine?

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