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How the Interviewer Evaluate Candidate?

There are a couple of steps that the interviewer evaluate the candidate:
1. The candidate is evaluated on "paper" before he/she walked into the room. We generally spend 3-5 minutes to go over all the application package including MyERAS document, USMLE score, MSPE, transcript, PS, LORs.
- MyERAS document needs to be clear and concise. Sometime, less is more, specially for the applicant with complicated experience. We pay a lot of attention to the medical schools (less important for CMGs since interviewers generally don't know Chinese schools very well); past experience, honors (for AMGs), and publications.
- USMLE score is extremely important. A great score will give me a great first impression and set up a positive tone for the interview. If you failed in the past, please make sure you know which part you failed, why you failed, and what you have done to fix it.
- LORs - EXTREMELY EXTREMELY important! A strong LOR speaks for everything.
2. When the candidate walked into the room, he/she is evaluated in person. If you look good in paper, please make sure you look good in person as well. There are many times I found a candidate looked very good in paper, but was a completely disappointment in person. On the other hand, if you good less competitive in paper of you didn't prepare your application very well, you still have the chance to make up in person by showing your great personality and thoughtful ideas.
- Everyone is hard working, team player, responsible etc. You really need to find out what is the most shinning point you have and be ready to use example/past achievement to make your point. Don't be afraid to repeat what was in your application. We only spend 5 minutes to go over 20 pages document. Most likely we didn't notice your strength, or we have forgot about it when you walked in. Please help us to remember your achievement that is relevant to residency training.
- You need to show us you know what you want, why this is what you want, what have you done to get what you want, and what you want matches your experience (strength). The last point is very important for candidate who switch specialty for various reasons.
- We like people who can show their maturity, independent thinking about not only medical knowledge, but also life in general
- Please keep in mind interview is a two way communication. We like people who can talk with us, not simply answer my questions. We like people who can ask challenge and thoughtful questions to show your thought process.
- Please know your application well, including LORs. We will notice any discrepancy between paper and person.
3. After the interview, based on interview "in paper" and "in person", each candidate will be assigned a score, which will decide your ranking or a pre-match offer.

How the Interviewer Evaluate the Candidate?

There are a couple of steps that the interviewer evaluate the candidate:
1. The candidate is evaluated on "paper" before he/she walked into the room. We generally spend 3-5 minutes to go over all the application package including MyERAS document, USMLE score, MSPE, transcript, PS, LORs.
- MyERAS document needs to be clear and concise. Sometime, less is more, specially for the applicant with complicated experience. We pay a lot of attention to the medical schools (less important for CMGs since interviewers generally don't know Chinese schools very well); past experience, honors (for AMGs), and publications.
- USMLE score is extremely important. A great score will give me a great first impression and set up a positive tone for the interview. If you failed in the past, please make sure you know which part you failed, why you failed, and what you have done to fix it.
- LORs - EXTREMELY EXTREMELY important! A strong LOR speaks for everything.
2. When the candidate walked into the room, he/she is evaluated in person. If you look good in paper, please make sure you look good in person as well. There are many times I found a candidate looked very good in paper, but was a completely disappointment in person. On the other hand, if you good less competitive in paper of you didn't prepare your application very well, you still have the chance to make up in person by showing your great personality and thoughtful ideas.
- Everyone is hard working, team player, responsible etc. You really need to find out what is the most shinning point you have and be ready to use example/past achievement to make your point. Don't be afraid to repeat what was in your application. We only spend 5 minutes to go over 20 pages document. Most likely we didn't notice your strength, or we have forgot about it when you walked in. Please help us to remember your achievement that is relevant to residency training.
- You need to show us you know what you want, why this is what you want, what have you done to get what you want, and what you want matches your experience (strength). The last point is very important for candidate who switch specialty for various reasons.
- We like people who can show their maturity, independent thinking about not only medical knowledge, but also life in general
- Please keep in mind interview is a two way communication. We like people who can talk with us, not simply answer my questions. We like people who can ask challenge and thoughtful questions to show your thought process.
- Please know your application well, including LORs. We will notice any discrepancy between paper and person.
3. After the interview, based on interview "in paper" and "in person", each candidate will be assigned a score, which will decide your ranking or a pre-match offer.

Should I Bring a One-page Resume During the Interviewe?

Generally speaking, I don't think it is necessary. The program coordinate should have prepared all the documents for the interviewer in advance. If a program doesn't give your C.V. to the interviewer, it tells me the program is very dysfunctional and disorganized. This is not a program you want to spend the next few years to get trained.

However, after reviewing hundreds of MyERAS document. I discovered that many of the applicants could have done a much better job to fill the MyERAS document. A lot of them are very messy and give a negative impression to the interviewer. For the applicants with complex experience, it might be a good idea for the applicant to prepare a 1-2 page C.V and clarify to the interviewer.

Is It OK to Tell the Program They are My Top Choice? Will This Affect My Ranking?

Yes, it is OK to say "your program will be my top choice" or "I will rank you on top of my list" etc. However, most likely, this will not affect how the program rank you. Personally, I think it is too early to tell the program " you are my No. 1 choice" right after the interview (unless it is at the end of the interview season). It makes the program to think you are too desperate. I prefer something like: I still have a few interviews to go. However, from all the programs I interviewed, I like your program the most. I think it will be my top choice. You can always send a follow up email at the end of the interview season to let them know you are going to rank them No. 1 (again, this WILL NOT change how the program rank you).

How to Answer the Question Regarding Specific Clinical Knowledge Which You are Not Sure During Interview?

Please keep in mind, you are interviewing a training position. We don't expect you can answer medical question like an attending (although it will be a huge plus if you so!. We want to see level appropriate answers. The most important things is not to get the right answer because there is no right or wrong answer in most of the time in medicine. The most important thing is to show your thought process: why I think this way and why I chose this work up/test. Therefore, you should focus on: I will do this... because I think/worried...

Level appropriate means if you have limited clinical experience (fresh graduate, only a few months observership etc), we expect you function as a medical students (means know almost nothing) to tell us a few differential ddx and possible management/work up, very similar as the ones you encountered in your CK exam. If you claim you had lots of experience in the same specialty, we would like to hear more about your thought process and why.

Residency Interview Frequently Asked Questions

1. How was your trip (how was your day)?
2. Tell me about yourself
3. Why do you choose this specialty?
4. Why did you choose our program? How did you hear from us?
5. Tell me about your medical education (training) in your country?
6. Why did you choose to come to the U.S (for residency)?
7. What is the difference in health care system between U.S. and your country?
8. Tell me about a case
9. Tell me about your research
10. Why apply residency now (after so many years of research)?
11. Why there is a gap in your training?
12. What do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
13. Are you interested in fellowship?
14. What is your strength and weakness?
15. Give me a reason why we should rank you (why choose you over other very qualified applicants)?
16. What kind of people do you enjoy working with (or having trouble to deal with)?
17. What kind of patients do you have trouble to deal with?
18. How well do you function under pressure?
19. What do you do outside of work?
20. Do you have friends (families) in the US?
21. Where else have you got interview calls from?
22. Are you looking in a specific geographic area?
23. Do you have any questions?