When it comes to applying for a residency program in emergency medicine, the interview is an important step in the process. This is your chance to showcase your interpersonal skills, personality, and passion for the specialty. Therefore, it’s crucial to be well-prepared. In this episode, John is joined by guests, Deena Bengiamin, Meenal Sharkey, and Brian Barbas to discuss and provide tips for preparing for residency interviews.

Know your application inside out:

Before going into the interview, make sure you have a thorough knowledge of your application. This includes your CV, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and any other relevant documents. Be ready to discuss any detail or experience mentioned in your application. Also, be prepared to explain any gaps or inconsistencies that may appear.

Research the program and what’s new in Emergency Medicine:

It’s essential to have a good understanding of the program you are applying to. Do your research on their website, social media pages, and any other available resources. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the current trends and challenges in emergency medicine. This will help you showcase your knowledge and passion for this field during the interviews.

Anticipate common interview questions:

See below for an extensive list of common questions that are asked. Read through the list and practice how you might answer some of these common questions. When interviewing you don’t want your answers to seem so rehearsed that they feel robotic, but you will feel more comfortable on interview day if you have at least thought about the questions you are being asked beforehand.

Prepare questions to ask the interviewer:

It’s important to have a list of questions ready for the interviewer. These can include questions about the program, such as its strengths and challenges, as well as more specific ones related to your areas of interest. Having more prepared than you think you will need is always better.

Practice with mock interviews:

To gain confidence and improve your interview skills, consider participating in mock interviews. This could be with a mentor or a group of peers, and it will help you receive feedback on your answers, body language, and overall performance.

Take Homes:
  1. Know yourself: your brand and what’s important to you.
  2. Don’t give up on any of your interviews, even if you don’t feel like that’s the program for you.
  3. Be sure to do a post-interview reflection including pros/cons, and feelings.

Post by Shannon Caliri, DO

Interview questions to consider:
Asked at almost every interview:

Why do you want to go into Emergency Medicine?

What are you looking for in a program?

Why did you apply to our program?

Where else did you apply?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Where else have you rotated?

What are your interests outside of medicine?

Do you know what it’s like to live in the Northeast/Midwest/Southwest?

What don’t you like about Emergency Medicine?

What questions do you have?

Common Questions (50-75% of the time):

How did you like (your medical school)?

Why did you go to (your medical school)?

I don’t know anything about (your medical school), tell me what the program is like.

Do you know Drs A/B/C/D?

Do you want to stay at (your medical school)?

Are you trying to train near your home?

Why did you apply to our program?

Do you want to live in a big city/college town/suburb?

What areas with EM interest you?

What else are you doing during 4th year?

When I go back to the interview committee, how do you want to be remembered or recognized?

Compare your two/three rotations sites, how are they different and how are they the same?

What are you most proud of in your life/ in med school, etc.?

What is your biggest accomplishment (in and outside of medicine)?

 Tell me something you learned during each phase of your education.

 What is the biggest sacrifice in pursuing a medical career?

 What was the best thing about your EM rotation?

 Most memorable day in the ED?

 Tell a time when you were wrong/made a mistake and had to rectify the situation.

 Tell a time when you disagreed with a decision your team was making and how you handled it.  If you could be any animal, what and why?

 What would your friends say about you?

What’s the most interesting/spontaneous thing you have ever done?

What is the most interesting thing about you?

 How do you relieve stress?

What is your biggest regret in life

Who is your mentor?

Formal questions:

What makes you angry?

What makes you frustrated? 

How do you deal with feeling angry/frustrated?

What would you change about yourself?

What would your friends say is your worst quality? 

What are the characteristics of a leader? 

Who is a good leader? 

What are the characteristics of a good physician? 

Who is your role model?

What do you see as the biggest challenge to EM in the future

Who was your favorite patient?

What differentiates you from other candidates? 

What is your best trait? 

Thought-provoking questions:

What activity outside of medicine best personifies your personality? 

What is your best memory of today? Med school? Your life? 

You can tell a lot about a person by the decisions that they make when their a teenager, how did you decide to attend the college that you went to?

If there was no EM specialty, what would you do?

What if you won the lottery and couldn’t practice medicine?

What is your favorite interview question?

First, he asked, “What makes you a good fit for this program?” AFTER my response he asked, “And what would make you a poor/bad fit for this program?” 

Hard Questions:

What don’t you like about our program?

Describe your ideal day in the ED.

How good of a medical student do you think you are? 

What did your attendings say about you behind your back?

Tell me about a time when you made a mistake or a bad decision (in medicine) and what did you do about it?

You are a buffalo running with your herd; what makes you stand out of the herd?

When is it okay to lie in the workplace?  When have you had to lie to a superior? 

You are at a party; a co-resident is doing cocaine, what do you do? 

Your numbers on paper are average compared to everyone else here; how should I present you to the interview committee?

How are you going to make your rank list?  How are you going to do it right now?  

Other Questions:

Are you close to your family?

What would you change about your medical school experience?

What would you change about your application?

What is not on your application would you like us to know?

Illegal and Weird Questions:

Are you married? 

How much do you drink? Sleep? 

What makes you so unique? 

Do you have good handwriting? 

What type of pizza is your favorite?

You have a 68-year-old male patient come in with lower back pain. What goes through your head and what does your differential look like? How will you approach this patient?

About Our Guests:

Deena Bengiamin, MD
Associate Program Director, Loma Linda University EM Residency Program

Meenal Sharkey, MD
Assistant Professor Director and Clerkship Director, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital

Brian Barbas, MD
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, EMIG advisor, Core Faculty, and Former Clerkship Director

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Interview Prep – Med Student Over Easy

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