Do show up early. Whether it’s for the dinner the night before the interview or the interview day itself, being early is always a good idea. Give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes whenever you head out, especially if you are unfamiliar with the location. Showing up late is an easily avoidable way to stick out…in a bad way!
Do go to the pre-interview dinner. The pre-interview dinner with residents is a great opportunity to ask questions and get the honest scoop on residency programs. It’s also a great way to see how you mesh with the residents. Are these people you could see yourself working with, learning from, and having fun with over the next 3-7+ years?
Don’t have more than a drink at dinner. If the residents and other applicants order a locally brewed beer at the brewpub you are having dinner at, by all means, don’t feel like you can’t have a drink, especially if the residents are encouraging you! With that being said, be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming. It may be an informal environment, but the pre-interview dinner is still a part of the interview!
Do your homework. The night before, peruse the residency program’s website and any notes you may have taken to remind yourself of why you applied to the program in the first place. It will make your visit and conversations with faculty and residents much more productive and useful. And if you get the names of your interviewers, look up their biographies online–you may even have similar medical or personal interests!
Do know your personal statement and CV like the back of your hand. Anything on your application is fair game for discussion on your interviews. Review and be prepared to discuss everything on your CV and in your personal statement.
Don’t say “No, I don’t have any questions.” We all know it’s coming, so be prepared! Brainstorm questions you can ask that can’t be found on the program’s website, and feel free to write them down so you have them on hand when asked the interviewee’s favorite classic question. Saying “no” conveys disinterest, which is not how you want to close an interview!
Don’t forget to send thank you cards or e-mails. To show your interest in a program and professionalism, thank you cards or e-mails to your interviewers and/or the program director is something you’ll want to do within 2 weeks of your interview.