The Residency Interview Process

The residency interview is a critical stage in the process of residency selection. All the months of paperwork preparation finally rewards you with the chance to find out how the programs on your list actually compare with one another. Unlike the earlier stages in the residency selection process, which are focused on background research, the interview provides the opportunity to visit and observe the program and meet your potential colleagues and mentors.

How to Prepare for
Residency Interviews

Know what to expect and what to do at each stage of the interview process.

Your Objectives During the Interview

1.  Assess how compatible you are with the program and how well the program meets your stated goals.

2.  Convey your sense of compatibility with the program to the faculty members, residents, and staff who interview you. This goes beyond making a good impression. In a sense, you are “trying the program on,” or demonstrating to the faculty and residents of the program that you would be a welcome addition to their ranks. Indeed, you may want to think of your interview as an exercise in role-playing, with you in the role of a recently matched resident in that program.  Role-playing is not the same as acting. In your eagerness to charm and impress your interviewers, avoid insincerity. Your interviewers want to find out who you really are. It doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose for you to give a false impression.

3. Assess the program’s relative strengths and weaknesses so that you will be able to structure a justifiable rank order list. Be careful not to let your attention to the third goal obscure the need to attend to the first two. Being prepared to address all three goals will increase your chance of having a successful Match.

Residency Program Objectives During the Interview

The goals of the interviewers during the interview process are similar to those of the residency candidate. They seek to confirm and expand upon the information that you provided in your application. They are also trying to determine how compatible you would be with the residents and faculty in the program. Just as you are trying to put your best foot forward, the representatives of the residency program want to show their program in the best possible light. However, it is ultimately not in the best interest of the program to paint a misleading picture. Like you, your interviewers are attempting to shape their rank order list of their candidates for the Match.

Strolling Through the Match residency guide



Updated for 2018: Strolling Through the Match

This practical resource from the AAFP is a must-read for students interested in a career in family medicine. Get your copy now for updated information on navigating the Match process, access to helpful timelines, and tips on applying to and ranking programs.

Download Strolling Through the Match »(84 page PDF)

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How to Prepare for
Residency Interviews

Know what to expect and what to do at each stage of the interview process.