The Number 1 Residency Interview Question

Here it is guys, we wanted to share with you guys the most common, and MOST IMPORTANT residency interview question. We got asked this question at about 95% of interviews. Past RIQ clients almost always agree this is the #1 question they have been asked.

Tell Me About Yourself?

Think of  the answer to this question as your elevator pitch.  It is a short, sweet answer with the sole goal of proving why you are a special candidate, more desirable than the thousands of other applicants.

Residency Interview Questions

Here’s the honest truth.  Faculty interviewers probably have not read your application.  They may have skimmed it.  In the community hospital program during our intern year with around 30 residents each year, we received 7,000 applications. There are about 8 attendings that deal with the interview selection process.  They are not reading 875 ERAS applications.  So yes, automatic filters are applied.  Then, there are still 500 candidates that get invited to interview.  Even then, that’s still 62 ERAS applications per faculty member with busy practices and families…

You’ll be lucky if the faculty mentor glanced at your personal statement for 2 minutes before you entered the room for your interview.  This is why the “Tell Me About Yourself” is the single most important question you have to answer in an interview.  You have to assume they know nothing about you.  The faculty member wants to like you.  They want to be interested in what you have to say.  They are also very busy and you are the 15th candidate they have to interview that day.  So, you have to get this one right every time.

If you answer the question well, the rest of the interview will go your way.  If you answer it poorly, it’s very difficult to recover.  Your job is to provide some basic personal information but drop in your accomplishments, research, clinical experience, and future goals seamlessly into your answer – all in under 3 minutes.

Here’s our suggest answer outline:

  1. Background
  2. Undergraduate Training (optional)
  3. Medical School Training
    • Clinical Experience
    • Research Experience
  4. Volunteering/Service
  5. Interests/Future Goals

Whatever your answer is going to be, make sure that it’s succinct and includes all of the highlights of your CV.  By having a short summary statement of your life, hopes and dreams, you can really set the tone.  After that, the interviewer just uses what you say to ask easy follow-up questions.  Practice, practice, practice this question.

Residency Interview Questions

See more details, sample answers, and video answers/analysis in the membership section.