Body Language in Residency Interview Questions

At RIQ – we talk a lot about the content of your answers. This is, of course, really important. However, the delivery and energy you bring to the interview can be equally important.

A lot of our clients are nervous. This is expected – but you cannot let nervousness be the predominant emotion that you convey during your interview. A trick we teach our clients is that the enthusiasm is very close to nervousness as an emotion when it comes to interviewing. Even by doing a small mental shift from “I am so nervous right now because I really want to match here” to “I am so enthusiastic right now because I really want to match here” can make a huge difference. I have even had clients admit their nervous and explain the reason – that they really want to match at a particular program. This honesty is universally well received. After you admit it, the interviewer will reassure you and the entire interview goes much more smoothly thereafter.

For some – you may be at the end of the interview season and simply worn down. You have to dig deep and bring out the same energy and enthusiasm. It becomes really obviously that you’re disengaged and trust me – someone will notice and let decision makers know.

In terms of energy level – you have to temper it to your interviewer. Some interviewers are extremely high energy – very excited to see you. You have to match that and 10% more. This way – you are showing excitement and enthusiasm. If you’re usually a lower key person, this can come off as a lack of interest.

If you have an interviewer that is lower energy, quieter – do not come in bursting with energy and loudness. This can be jarring – again match that interviewers energy but give it 10% more. This makes it comfortable for them – and you won’t come off as an overly eager person.

Finally – posture. I have had candidates sit up straight as a rod. I have had candidates slouch completely. I think neither are favorable. Sitting up straight as a rod may be great posture – but you automatically look stiff. If you slouch, you’re looking too casual. My suggestion is to lean 10-20 degrees towards your interviewer as a way to show openness and interest. Most candidates and clients do this automatically – but having it spelled out can be helpful.