Interview Lifestyle

Residency Interview Tips for a Virtual Cycle!

Virtual interviews are in full swing for medical school, residency, and fellowship applicants. Here are some tips to make the most of your interviews. Wishing you all the best!

Making a good virtual impression:

In the virtual format, your first impression is not your firm handshake or tailored suit. It will be the quality of your internet, audio, and video! Make sure you are well prepared to stand out. Here are some supplies you may consider for Zoom interviews. Although these are just suggestions, we recognize that many individuals face financial barriers that may limit access to technology:

  1. Audio: Headphones with a microphone (prevents reverb from your computer audio), consider noise reducing microphones to block out any background noise.
  2. Lighting: A bright lamp or ring light placed in front of you so your face is well lit. May consider having it higher than eye level so you are not squinting and looking directly into the bright light.
  3. Video: Webcam with 1080p quality (can consider buying an external webcam which will have much better quality than a laptop webcam).
  4. Reliable internet 
    1. You may check your internet speed by typing “internet speed test” into Google. 
    2. Consider a wifi extender if you must be far away from your main router. It will expand the reach of your internet to parts of the building that may not get good service, and prevents lag for a seamless interview.
    3. Have a backup internet and computer option if things go wrong– can use your phone’s mobile hotspot in case you lose your main wifi connection. Borrowing or using a backup ipad, laptop, or desktop computer can also be helpful if your computer breaks down suddenly.
  5. Background: 
    1. A chair that does NOT swivel (so it’s not distracting).
    2. Put your setup against a white or neutral background (can use removable wallpaper or a blanket if you don’t have this available). 
    3. May also consider an interesting and professional background item like a bookshelf, fun painting, plants, or your favorite photos can make for a great conversation starter and highlight your hobbies! 
    4. If you have your bedroom as a background, make sure it is clean and spotless.
      1. Tape something by your camera to remind you to make eye contact with the camera while speaking.
      2. Download and test the interview platform beforehand (Zoom, WebEx, etc).

Answering Questions: 

Prepare a GREAT answer to each of the following questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why this specialty
  3. Why this school
  4. Strengths and weaknesses
  5. Interesting/challenging patient case
  6. Behavioral: 
    1. Time you failed
    2. a mistake you made
    3. working on teams, being a leader
    4. dealing with a conflict
  7. What do you do for fun?
  8. A short spiel about EVERY activity on your application, what you did, and what you learned from it. 
  9. Be able to talk intelligently about any research including your role, the hypothesis, analyses, results, and conclusion.
  10. Any questions for me?

Staying organized for interview invites!

You will be getting a LOT of emails. 

  1. Make a calendar where you are writing down dates of all interview invites as you schedule them so you can quickly glance if you get a new invitation and so you don’t double book yourself. Can sync your calendars across different platforms (ie Outlook to Gmail/google to iOS).
  2. Have a separate email account just for your interviews that will spam you with notifications so you are very unlikely to miss anything.
  3. Be professional and cordial in all emails that you send to the program coordinator, residents, etc.
  4. Here are all the ways you can get a notification about an interview invite:
    1. Text messages (set up forwarding in gmail to your phone number)
    2. Email notifications (enable notifications on your phone)
    3. Email forwarding to your main/school account
    4. Desktop notifications
  5. Here are the major platforms for scheduling interview invites
    1. Thalamus
    2. ERAS (
    3. Interview Broker
    4. Direct emails from the program coordinator

Best of luck!

Emotion General Global Health Healthcare Disparities Interview Narrative Reflection

Out There: Part 1 (An Interview Series)

Out There: Part 1

By Janie Cao
Edited by Mary Abramczuk

I met Thanos Rossopoulos through a community service leadership program. As with almost everyone I’ve met, I stereotyped him at first glance (subconsciously, of course). I thought that he was going to be like most other first-year medical students I’d met before—smart, hardworking, and…pretty fresh from college. And guess what? I was only mostly right.

The first time I heard him share his story, we were at a group dinner. I was sitting too far away to hear everything but at the perfect distance to want more. He said something about ‘7 gap years,’ the oil and gas industry, and living in India. That was enough to nag at my curiosity, so I unashamedly asked for an encore. He graciously obliged.

Like many people in their early twenties, Thanos wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life when college graduation arrived too soon. He remembered that at the time, he’d just wanted to do something exciting, something risky, something “radical.” So when they offered him an engineering job that would put him in the oil rigs of India for one and a half years, he said yes. There, for the first time in his life, Thanos stared into the glare of deprivation. Not really what he wanted, but perhaps what he really needed.

Growing up in Orange County, California, he had been raised in a privileged “bubble,” as he called his sheltered childhood. But he didn’t know how sheltered he was until he stepped foot into India, where he saw mansions and slums coexisting side by side, all in broad daylight. “It took India to force me to face inequality,” Thanos reflected, “and it didn’t sit with me well.” What he made sound like ‘just a slightly uncomfortable feeling’ was in fact the beginning of a tenacious zeal to alleviate human suffering. He was a tad modest.

The impact of those years in India manifested powerfully after he returned home. Whereas in the past, he did not even know to look for inequality, now that was all he could see around him. So, what did Thanos do next? What would you have done?

To be continued…

Photo Caption: "...Taking a stroll in the morning before my shift on the oil rig. If you look closely out in the distance you see the top part of the oil rig I worked on behind the trees. This was from a small village called Radhapur in the state of West Bengal. Very beautiful place." -Thanos Rossopoulos