Residency Interview - Making a first impression

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After a Program Director or an associate PD gave a presentation about the program to all applicants, you start your one-on-one interviews. This is the culmination of your residency search process. You either make them fall in love with you one by one or... you don't... The impression you make in the first 2-3 minutes will make the most impact on interviewer’s judgment. The most likely question that starts the interview is

Tell me about yourself

This is by far the most commonly asked question, so be prepared. Even though it sounds as a straightforward one, you will be surprised how many rambling and Uhhhhhs, Ummmms and Ahhhhhhs it generates.

As this is usually the first question you are asked by each interviewer, you have to score high. Your answer will set a tone for the rest of the interview. Remember, first impression is hard to change. Interviewer will subconsciously appraise your visual and behavioral appearance. You can appear to match the program/interviewer culture or not and this impression is ultimately affecting an outcome.

Don't ramble, start with present and tell why you are well qualified for the program. By now you should already know what kind of candidate the program is looking for. Give the interviewer what he wants to hear. Focus on your experiences/strengths that match program emphasis. Rehearse your answer until you are comfortable with your speech. You will feel the power of the first impression you created through the rest of your interview.

See also: [Interview related tips [1]]

See how many people were asked the "Tell me about yourself" question and share your experience: