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Thread: What Residents look for when grading Interviewees

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    stateofequilibrium's Avatar
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    What Residents look for when grading Interviewees

    So it's interview season, and I'm spending my night finishing off all these reports on the applicants I thought for those of you already on the trail or about to start would like a fresh-new inside perspective from a Residents point of view on what we look for :

    (1) Appearance : Are you appropriately dressed, groomed? If not, do you have a darn good reason? Ie airline lost your luggage.

    (2) Can you actually hold a conversation? What this means, are you just sitting there in the back not talking and just going through the routine. Or are you actively engaging in conversation with the rest of the applicants and the Residents. What are you discussing? And most importantly, what is this telling us about you? If you're not talking, we're not learning anything about you and therefore are not going to be enthusiastic about you.

    (3) Are you interested in our program? Ask questions! Even if they are mundane, let us sell you the program. It makes it look like you're interested enough in our program to ask about the details that you'll rank us favorably.

    (4) Do you seem like you're academically sound? Does this mean board scores, etc? No, I could care less unless there's some other red flag. What this means is your thought process. The way you speak, organize your thoughts and responses. Your pose, demeanor, maturity, etc.

    (5) Can I work with you? Do I think you're going to work well with others in the program. Do I think others in the program will work well with you? Can I live with you seeing your face every day for X number of years? So if you failed any of the above, probably not.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Those are the main criterias I look for as I'm with the applicants. Rest assured, I read through your application, and I spend a lot of time reading them.

    A little bit about essays. The flowery essays that try to read like poetry or the next great american novel, those give me a headache. If I have X amount of essays to read, I want something that is simple, well-written and will quickly grab my interest. If it's all over the place, or tries too hard to be something it's not, I'm already forming a negative impression.

    Personal interests. I ABSOLUTELY want to know what you love outside of medicine. What are your hobbies? Your passion? And I want to hear you TALK to me about them and profess your love for them.

    -------------

    So what are the Resident's input really worth? A lot. We're the ones who are going to have to live with you for X years. After interviews, we spend actually a good amount of time discussing the applications and going over them again with a fine tooth comb. If we find any irregularities, we red-flag the application for another look, further investigation, or just drop the app.

    Lesson learned here? When Residents jaunter in, and start talking to you guys and asking for questions, be an ACTIVE participant. The program coordinator is watching carefully to and seeing who is having a good time and who is just sitting in the back.
    Posterior Fornix.

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    rokshana is offline Member Guru 11644 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenimg View Post
    HAHAHA!
    What more can I say.... intern year... was great, learned a lot, worked my %ss off, had all kinds of internal political drama (as is to be expected I suppose). DIDN"T KILL ANYONE! Passed step 3, somehow.... and now i'm getting worked over as a second year due to the new duty hour rules for interns.... Can't believe they have no night call and have to have 10 hours off every 24!
    Seriously though, sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. Two years ago this all seemed impossible, and now here I am, a senior... craziness.

    There Rok... You feel better now?
    And yes, I glanced at the forum every once in a while, but never really had a chance to get on topic, nor had the energy to post. Now that step 3 is done, I should be more "back in the game" so to say.
    I see you're still around, how much longer do you have?
    I have acheived attending status...

    studying for the internal medicine boards now....HOW did I sit and study for 8-10 hours at a time in med school? hour 3 and i'm ansy...

    humph! with these new duty hours life is gonna be harder for these residents after residency! (but the 10 hours free between hospital shift has been an ACGME rule for a while)...glad i'm not having to deal with this 16 hour thing...puts too much of the burden on the upper levels!
    Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Attending
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  3. #22
    citizenimg's Avatar
    citizenimg is offline Senior Member 662 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokshana View Post
    I have acheived attending status...


    Holy smokes... you mean there's light at the end of the tunnel???
    Good for you!
    And yes, I should have been more specific about my 10 hour complaint... what I meant was, the 16 hour limit with 10 hours off really messes the schedule up, as if they were to actually ever work a 16 hour shift, they would have to start later the next am. Ie, start at 8am, work till midnight... then they only have to come in at 10 the next morning. So really speaking it kinda limits them to a 14 hour shift instead.

    Man, I guess we're getting a bit off topic here.... this should be in another thread...
    PGY 2
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    Step 3 - pass - 1st attempt
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    ElizaE is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Here are my couple of cents about interviews. I am not a foreign grad but I can give you the stuff us residents look for. I should preface and say that I did lots of interviews. I couple matched with my husband. I did peds and he did IM.

    Just so you all know, once you got an interview, it means that you jumped over some sort of hurdle. Now it is time to relax and not only try to impress the program but let them impress you as well. At dinner (they have a dinner the night before), be personable and ask questions. Ask about how the program is dealing with the new work hours, are the attendings approchable, do you get to do procedures, etc, etc, etc. Please do not sit there and stare at me. I will be honest, I went to a dinner with all foreign grads and the conversation was so stilted (that may have sounded like all foreign grads don't talk... sorry it was just this group). I did my best to revive it and get them to talk but it was so painful. Do not be a painful dinner guest. You can talk about yourself and ask the resident what they do for fun, etc, etc (it doesn't all have to be business). DO NOT get drunk. Do not talk about picking up chicks, do not talk about the one time that you did something crazy when you did get drunk. Yes we had candidates that did all the above. People may laugh but it reflects poorly on you.

    Interview day: Dress nicely. Ladies, dark suit, skirt or pants. A nice blouse (make sure it does not gape at the button holes). My personal opinion (take it or leave it) is you should wear pantyhose with your skirt and closed toed shoes or perhaps a peep toe (ok I like shopping and I like shoes, forgive me gentlemen). Men: dark suit and a nice tie (nothing too wild). Do not wear weird multi-colored socks or white shoes (had a candidate do this as well). Ladies keep the makeup light and professional. I think that about covers it. I guess the goal is for people not to go "the guy in the pastel green colored suit" or "the girl in the hooker shoes".

    Most of the faculty will not ask you to prove your knowledge, they know your scores. Rather they will ask you standard interview questions. Why did you apply here. What do you want to do afterwards, etc etc. I stopped being nervous of these interviews after awhile because they were all the same.

    There will be tour of some sort, there always is and they will feed you lunch. Another chance for you to talk to residents (hopefully different ones) about the program. Be very wary of any program where you do not get face time with the residents. There is something wrong.

    Residents get asked what they think of the candidates at some point. My program did this every week and put up the pictures of the candidates up and we could all voice our opinions. If we had lots of negative things to say, this bumped the candidate down on the list (but not out of the running most of the time).

    Good luck everyone and let me know if I can answer any more questions.

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    rokshana is offline Member Guru 11644 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaE View Post
    Here are my couple of cents about interviews. I am not a foreign grad but I can give you the stuff us residents look for. I should preface and say that I did lots of interviews. I couple matched with my husband. I did peds and he did IM.

    Just so you all know, once you got an interview, it means that you jumped over some sort of hurdle. Now it is time to relax and not only try to impress the program but let them impress you as well. At dinner (they have a dinner the night before), be personable and ask questions. Ask about how the program is dealing with the new work hours, are the attendings approchable, do you get to do procedures, etc, etc, etc. Please do not sit there and stare at me. I will be honest, I went to a dinner with all foreign grads and the conversation was so stilted (that may have sounded like all foreign grads don't talk... sorry it was just this group). I did my best to revive it and get them to talk but it was so painful. Do not be a painful dinner guest. You can talk about yourself and ask the resident what they do for fun, etc, etc (it doesn't all have to be business). DO NOT get drunk. Do not talk about picking up chicks, do not talk about the one time that you did something crazy when you did get drunk. Yes we had candidates that did all the above. People may laugh but it reflects poorly on you.

    Interview day: Dress nicely. Ladies, dark suit, skirt or pants. A nice blouse (make sure it does not gape at the button holes). My personal opinion (take it or leave it) is you should wear pantyhose with your skirt and closed toed shoes or perhaps a peep toe (ok I like shopping and I like shoes, forgive me gentlemen). Men: dark suit and a nice tie (nothing too wild). Do not wear weird multi-colored socks or white shoes (had a candidate do this as well). Ladies keep the makeup light and professional. I think that about covers it. I guess the goal is for people not to go "the guy in the pastel green colored suit" or "the girl in the hooker shoes".

    Most of the faculty will not ask you to prove your knowledge, they know your scores. Rather they will ask you standard interview questions. Why did you apply here. What do you want to do afterwards, etc etc. I stopped being nervous of these interviews after awhile because they were all the same.

    There will be tour of some sort, there always is and they will feed you lunch. Another chance for you to talk to residents (hopefully different ones) about the program. Be very wary of any program where you do not get face time with the residents. There is something wrong.

    Residents get asked what they think of the candidates at some point. My program did this every week and put up the pictures of the candidates up and we could all voice our opinions. If we had lots of negative things to say, this bumped the candidate down on the list (but not out of the running most of the time).

    Good luck everyone and let me know if I can answer any more questions.
    since you are new here you may not realize this, but many of those here are IMGs...and since you are not a foreign grad (nice to let us know that we here are getting advice from a US grad) you may not know the difference (since all foreign grads look and act alike) IMG are s US citizens that were(usually) born in the US, raised in the US, went to kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school, and college in the US and for whatever reason didn't make it into a US med school and went abroad to become and MD....the 2 short years we spend abroad doesn't somehow take away all our social graces (well maybe for some it does )and we know how to dress ourselves and act around other people.

    i have been on many a dinner myself (both as the interviewee and interveiwer) and the behavior you describe i have seen in many a US senior as well so uncooth behavior and inappropriate stories are not just the realm of the "foreign" grad.

    funny, but i believe one of your responsiblities in going to a residency interviews dinners is to make the applicants comfortable and give them a sense of the comraderie and friendliness of your program...maybe the foreigner was staring at you was because they were waiting for YOU to say something about your program or yourself to break the conversation...afterall you are the host...guest usually follow the lead of their hosts at a dinner. And frankly, the one that usually is getting drunk and telling inappropriate stories is one of the residents (since many see it as free food and booze...).

    by all means give relevant advice, but please, respect us enough to realize that just because we went to school in the caribbean, we are no different from someone who took the DO route to become a doctor when we couldn't get into a US MD program, and that we don't need remedial education on how to act in the US.
    Last edited by rokshana; 07-20-2011 at 12:01 PM.
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    ElizaE is offline Newbie 510 points
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    I apologize but I did not mean any offense. I was giving a general description of what I thought people should do at an interview. This would be given to any US grad and IMG. I recall that one of the other residents did have a candidate that talked about getting drunk and it was noticed. Others saw people get drunk at interviews. I am sorry if you were offended by my post. I did not mean it that way. I was trying to give the other side of the coin and what residents notice and how it works behind the scenes. How much imput residents have in the process, etc. As a matter of fact, when the foreign med students were iterviewing, I did my absolute best to get them to talk about themselves and to ask questions, but it was difficult.

    It appears that perhaps I am not welcomed on these forums as I am a US grad. Good luck to you all and I hope that you will all match into residencies of your choice.

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    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12692 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaE View Post
    Men: dark suit and a nice tie (nothing too wild). Do not wear weird multi-colored socks or white shoes (had a candidate do this as well). I think that about covers it. I guess the goal is for people not to go "the guy in the pastel green colored suit" or "the girl in the hooker shoes".
    Thanks for the insights, ElizaE. Wow... I am amazed that people will get all the way through four years of medical school, study hard enough to earn an interview invitation, and then actually show up for that interview wearing any of the above! I mean, a residency interview is only one of the most important meetings of your professional life. Getting annihilated at the dinner, dressing like a chump/bimbo, or otherwise behaving boorishly is simply not likely to get somebody matched.

    (Oh, and no worries. I'm a straight dude, and I like shopping, and I have a bit of a shoe problem my darn self. No harm, no foul. )

    "When I haven't any
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    rokshana is offline Member Guru 11644 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaE View Post
    I apologize but I did not mean any offense. I was giving a general description of what I thought people should do at an interview. This would be given to any US grad and IMG. I recall that one of the other residents did have a candidate that talked about getting drunk and it was noticed. Others saw people get drunk at interviews. I am sorry if you were offended by my post. I did not mean it that way. I was trying to give the other side of the coin and what residents notice and how it works behind the scenes. How much imput residents have in the process, etc. As a matter of fact, when the foreign med students were iterviewing, I did my absolute best to get them to talk about themselves and to ask questions, but it was difficult.

    It appears that perhaps I am not welcomed on these forums as I am a US grad. Good luck to you all and I hope that you will all match into residencies of your choice.
    no, there are many other DOs and US MDs that post here and some feel that they are Gods gift to medicine and to this forum because they had the luck to get into a US MD school...others of course realize that getting into med school is a crap shoot and there but for the grace of God go they...DOs and caribs MS are very much in the same boat..we both didn't get into a US MD program and found an alternative way to become a doctor...

    your tone seemed a bit condesending...if it was not meant to be so, then i'm sorry i took it that way...but it is the way that post came off to me...

    BTW a US grad = AMG= US MD.
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    citizenimg is offline Senior Member 662 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by devildoc8404 View Post
    (Oh, and no worries. I'm a straight dude, and I like shopping, and I have a bit of a shoe problem my darn self. No harm, no foul. )
    Oh the shaaammmeeee!!!
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    I second that teratos. Many times I hear program directors say the dinner before the interview is optional. As far as I'm concerned that was the resident interview for the candidate.

    Also, some programs give little weight to resident opinions about the candidate, others much more. I think either way the program director will listen to the residents that voice a strong opinion about their top 3-4 candidates. In the same way, if an applicant is a train wreck the director will note it.
    Doug Tanita, M.D.
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    -- Anonymous

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    sweettonics is offline Junior Member 518 points
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    Where does the pre-interview dinner typically take place? Specifically, what setting - formal dinner, business casual, casual? I'm sure it varies, but I've heard from friends previously they would go anywhere from a 5 * restaurant to a local hole in the wall (albeit a very good hole in the wall)...some folks I spoke with were unimpressed by programs that didn't wine and dine them, whereas others felt uncomfortable and stuffy in that setting and would've preferred a more relaxing atmosphere...just wondering if you guys had a take on this.

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