With several residency interviews under my belt, I can now offer some observations about the process of being on the interview trail.
- You really can never have enough questions!
I usually prepare at least three questions in advance to ask interviewers when they offer to answer questions. However, I would now suggest preparing even more questions because sometimes the majority of your interview will be taken up by free time to answer questions. Honestly, I prefer to answer questions, not ask them. I would much rather field questions about my resume, specialty choice, or goals than ask question after question. But, alas, different interview styles exist and sometimes I need to be prepared to fill the space with questions. Fortunately, the more interviews I attend the more questions I seem to have, so at least it’s getting easier as time goes on.
- Expect the unexpected.
At my last interview, I planned to take a hotel shuttle to my interview location. However, on the morning of the interview the shuttle was in the repair shop. Thankfully I budgeted plenty of time, so I was able to take a cab instead. For my next interview, I will be sure to investigate my transportation options more carefully so that I have back up plans in mind in case the hotel shuttle is unavailable.
- Thai food seems to be the standard pre-interview dinner fare.
At 75% of my interviews so far, the pre-interview dinner has been Thai food. This doesn’t bother me at all since I love Thai food! However, I can imagine that it might be a bit terrifying for applicants who have never tried Thai food before. When in doubt, Pad See Ew is my meal of choice – not too spicy, wide noodles that are easy to eat, not drowning in messy sauce, and not just traditional Pad Thai (the obvious newbie choice). I think Thai food is a common pre-interview dinner choice because it is pretty hip and having diverse restaurant options shows a town in a good light. Whatever residencies are trying to show with their Thai dinners, I’m a happy camper!