The Covid-19 pandemic marked an era of change for The Match process. Of course, one of the most notable differences was the shift from in-person to online residency interviews. While this change can eliminate the expense of traveling to multiple program locations, it also means you’ll need to be fully prepared to ace the online interview. Below, we’ve provided tips to help you navigate your online residency interviews.
Do keep in mind that the transition to virtual interviews may or may not be a lasting change. It’s likely that upcoming years will include a mix of in-person and online interviews!
Top Strategies for Succeeding in Your Online Residency Interviews
Look the part.
Just because you’re not going anywhere doesn’t mean you don’t have to get dressed up! Program Directors want to see evidence of your professionalism, and your appearance plays a part in that. Your attire should be professional and conservative, and your hair should be neatly groomed. It’s fine to show some personality through your choices (a colorful tie, tasteful earrings, etc.), but keep in mind you want your interviewers to be impressed by your answers to their questions, not some element of your outfit.
Ensure your background is appropriate.
The last thing you want is for your interviewers to be distracted by a messy background. Set up for your interview in a room that is clean and absent of any “loud” décor. Good choices are a simply decorated office space or spare room. Noise is a factor here too, so if there are household noises (a running dishwasher or washing machine on a timer, for example), aim to set up in a room where you can close the door to block out background noises.
Check your lighting and camera angle.
Do a test run prior to your interview to make sure the lighting is bright enough to see you clearly and that your camera or laptop angle is flattering (i.e., not looking up your nose or at the top of your head!). Lighting should come from behind your camera, and your face/eyes should be level with your device. For example, you may need to use a stack of books to elevate your laptop. Or, you might need to adjust your camera stand to the right height. You should be visible from about mid-chest up, and we recommend being seated during the interview.
Prepare an “elevator pitch.”
Many of your interviews are likely to start with the question “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” Don’t be caught off guard by this open-ended question! Instead, prepare about 45-60 seconds of relevant, concise introductory material. Keep the content focused on aspects of your life that are connected to your pursuit of medicine and your interest in the specialty.
Prepare answers to common questions.
Your interviewers are likely to ask you about why you choose your specialty, your hobbies, and to elaborate on interesting aspects of your application, Letters of Reference, and Personal Statement. It’s a great idea to make a list of specifics from your application and supporting documents that you think you may be asked about and prepare discussion points for them.
It’s important to convey enthusiasm during your interview. Show how excited you are for this opportunity by smiling and exuding a confident, positive vibe. Eye contact is important too, so don’t be shy!
We hope these tips for success in your online residency interview have been helpful! Visit Match A Resident to see how our helpful features like Interview Manager and Rank Assist can assist you in making the most out of your interview experiences. Registered Match A Resident members can also access Interview Prep services!
For more tips on successful interviews (in person and online), visit our blog Taking Residency Interviews: 10 Steps for Success. You can also read about our post-interview tips here.