Tips for Asking Questions on Interview Day
“What questions do you have for me?” If you're a fellow fourth-year student, you've probably already heard this question a few times. In fact, at one of my recent interviews, the entire half-hour conversation was answering my questions about the program. By the end of the day, it can sometimes feel like you've asked the same two questions on loop for hours. But if you ask the right questions, it can be a great opportunity to learn more about the program and your future colleagues. Here are some questions that have helped me on the interview trail.
Can you tell me more about (specific aspect of program)?
Make sure you do your research before asking this question. Show that you are familiar with their program. Look at the program's website, talk to others, and listen to the introductory presentation at your interview. Be sure you ask about a feature of the program that genuinely interests you, and make sure it's a question that can't be answered by a cursory search on their website.
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of your program? What aspects would you change about the program?
It's hard to get an idea of a residency program in the few hours you spend with them on your interview day. This question gets you the pro/con list from an insider. Often, they will also follow up with how the program is working to improve in its areas of weakness. It's also helpful to get both resident and faculty opinions, and see how they differ. However, remember that what one individual perceives as a strength or weakness may not apply to you, and take their answers with a grain of salt!
How will your program help me to develop in (your area of interest)?
One of the key parts of an interview should be to find out if the program is a good fit for you. Will they encourage and support you to grow in your passions? For example, one of my goals during residency is to continue to develop my advocacy skills. I want to know if the residency has mentors and opportunities for me to continue learning about advocacy.
How does your program respond to concerns brought up by residents?
A great residency program is dynamic and will adapt to the needs of its residents. Ask current residents how they feel program leadership responds to their concerns. What are specific examples of changes that were made because of resident feedback? Is there a disconnect between how residents and faculty view the responsiveness of the program?
What qualities do you expect every resident would take away from training at your program?
This is a great question for the program director. This helps identify their vision and goals for the program. If the goals of the program and your personal aims align, then you'll know it's a great fit!
Good luck on the interview trail!