Anesthesiology residency interview questions and sample answers can help you learn what to expect during your residency interview and how to tackle any type of question thrown your way. Whether you’re looking for ERAS interview prep or CaRMS interview prep, anesthesiology is not the easiest residency to interview for. You can expect a wide variety of questions, and you’ll need to impress your interviewer if you want to land a spot at your top choice program. In this blog, we’ll look at how important the anesthesiology residency interview is, how to prepare for it and some sample questions and answers to guide you!
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How important is the anesthesiology residency interview?
If you’ve been invited to interview after matching with any anesthesiology programs, you’re in the home stretch. While anesthesiology is not one of the most competitive residencies to match into, nailing the residency interview is still important. Acing the interview can help you land a spot in the program of your choice. Simply matching with a program isn’t enough. You’ll need to prove that you are the best candidate to fill that open position. Highlight the experiences you have in your residency CV and explain why you have the necessary skills, values and abilities needed to be an anesthesiologist. Discuss your personal experiences which have taught you the needed communication and teamwork skills that are so necessary to the specialty. Share your motivations for becoming an anesthesiologist and why it is important to you. Your interviewers will respond to passion and genuine interest. They want to know the real you, so be genuine in your answers.
Your interviewers will be looking for the best of the best, so it is important to come prepared. And if you do attend your interviews and still go unmatched in a position, get ready for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, which begins immediately after Match Day. This also means prepping for the SOAP residency interview questions. There is still an opportunity for you to find a position through SOAP, so don't be discouraged! Even if you choose to reapply next year to anesthesiology, there are ways to improve your residency app so you don't go unmatched again.
Anesthesiology is a good choice for international medical graduates (IMG), as it is among the more IMG friendly residency programs. Again, acing the interview is crucial here if you want to get a spot over the domestic US MD graduates. You'll need to bring a stellar application and impeccable interview performance to sway your interviewers in your favor. The match rate for IMGs applying to anesthesiology residencies is around 9.9%, which means it is not impossible, but still challenging to get a spot in a program. To help you prep for the interview, you can ask an IMG residency consultant for advice or to conduct mock interviews with you. To help you prep for the interview, you can ask an IMG residency consultant for advice or to conduct mock interviews with you. Be ready for IMG-specific lines of questioning, too, with IMG residency interview prep.
How to prepare for an anesthesiology residency interview
To prepare for your residency interviews, it’s best to start early and give yourself some time to practice your delivery as well as prepare your answers ahead of time. While thinking on your feet is a good quality for anesthesiologists to have, you don’t want to improvise in one of the most important professional interviews of your career. Residency interview preparation services can definitely help you out with mock interviews, feedback and advice on your prep. Residency interview coaching may also be a great idea for candidates who need advice on their interviewing skills or want to practice before the big day.
It's also common for programs to host virtual interviews instead of the traditional panel interviews. Brush up on your video interview skills so you’re ready for any interviewing scenario. Different programs will use different interview types, but you can check when you receive an invitation where, when and how the interview will take place.
Interviewers can ask a variety of different question types during a residency interview. These are designed to not only get to know you but to understand how you will contribute to the program, what skills you have and what level of experience you already have. While some of these questions will be open-ended and therefore tricky to formulate an answer to, others will be routine and have simple responses. For the open-ended questions, remember to stick to your point and try to avoid rambling. A few sentences per question is usually just right.
A few different types of questions you might be asked about during your residency interview are:
- Your knowledge of the residency program
- Anesthesiology procedures and best practices
- Your knowledge of the medical field
- Background and personal experiences
- Career goals and ambitions
- Interpersonal and patient skills
Prepping for your residency interview? Learn how to ace it by watching this video.
Be sure to research the programs you’ll be interviewing with and come ready with a list of questions to ask your interviewers. You’ll have a chance at the end of the interview to ask these questions so take advantage! Ask about the day-to-day workload, the team members you’ll be working with, the program’s board pass rate, position remuneration and any important information you’ll need to know when you start a new position.
Come prepared to answer questions about yourself. Your anesthesiology residency personal statement will be a good place to draw from when you’re crafting your answers. Don’t hesitate to self-reflect and give honest, genuine and deep answers to questions. Residency programs want to learn as much as they can about you and your motivations, so they can gauge whether you are the right fit. And in return, interview your interviewers about the program and team you’ll be working with so you can be sure it's a good fit for your personality and desired workplace.
You might be tested on your medical knowledge or asked to elaborate on any clinical experiences you have on your residency CV. If your interviewer hasn’t read your CV, don’t worry. Elaborate on your professional and clinical experience and what qualities or lessons you gained from it, rather than just restating or listing them. You can also highlight any research experience you have or discuss interesting articles you’ve read about anesthesiology as a medical field.
You can also calculate your chances of matching into your desired specialty with BeMo’s residency match calculator!
Next, we’ll take a look at some common anesthesiology residency interview questions you might be asked, as well as some sample answers!
10 common anesthesiology residency interview questions
1. Why anesthesiology?
Anesthesiology is a discipline that requires a high level of skill, focus and knowledge, and I enjoy a position where I can combine this balance of abilities. I enjoy being able to work as a part of a team in a position where I can play a critical role, taking on either a support or leadership role as needed. I think anesthesiology offers both flexibility and challenge, and it appeals to me to be able to be involved in a diverse field.
2. What are your goals in terms of a career in anesthesiology?
I plan to specialize in pain management. As someone with chronic pain, I understand patients’ needs and concerns. It is so important for patients to have someone who understands what they are going through and to have someone who can advise them on their options, their risks and the best course of action.
3. Who is your role model and why?
My older brother has always been a role model for me. He is a practicing defense attorney, and his commitment to his clients and to his own integrity are values I have always sought to emulate in my own career. Law can be a challenging career, and I often look to his example when having to make tough decisions.
4. What do you think are the qualities of a good anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists need to be calm and level-headed, but more than that they need to be stellar communicators. They need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with their colleagues to ensure the patient is receiving the best care, but they need to be able to build a rapport and trust with patients. Anesthesiologists also need to be open to communication with themselves since they are relying on their own judgment and skills when performing a procedure. They need to be able to trust their judgment or be able to admit when they don’t know the answer and how to ask for help.
5. What is the biggest challenge you foresee in an anesthesiology role?
Anesthesiology is a demanding specialty, so I foresee one of the biggest challenges being burnout or feelings of being overwhelmed, particularly during residency training. As a med student burnout wasn’t unheard of, so I developed ways to step back and take stock of a situation or learn what my limits are and what my personal signs of approaching burnout are.
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6. Why do you feel you are a good fit for an anesthesiology role?
I have worked hard to develop the two most critical skills for anesthesiology, which are my medical knowledge and my technical skill. I achieved the highest scores in my class on my USMLE Step 1 exam and my technical proficiency was noted by all my clinical supervisors and attendings during my rotations. I never hesitated to practice my maneuvers and physical skills, and I interacted daily with all the patients I could to improve my skills with patients.
7. How would you counsel a patient about the potential risks of anesthesia?
I think it’s important to use clear and simple language to explain the risks of anesthesia, but not to talk down to patients. I would review the risks of anesthesia and explain how the anesthesia will be administered for the procedure. I would also give some time for the patient to ask any questions of me.
8. What would you say is the most important part of patient care for an anesthesiologist?
Patients need to feel they can trust us. They need to feel comfortable, informed and that I as their anesthesiologist am capable and reliable. To achieve this level of trust, the most important thing is to communicate with the patient, building rapport, answering questions and demonstrating that I understand their point of view.
9. What makes you stand out from other anesthesiology candidates?
As a candidate I stand out because of my experience. As you can see from my CV, I have experience working in a surgical setting assisting the anesthesiology team with routine procedures. My time working in surgery was eye-opening in that it taught me that even the most common procedures may surprise you with complications requiring the intervention of the anesthesiologist and medical team. It truly showed me how critical anesthesiology is and how important it is for an anesthesiologist to be in sync with the entire medical team.
10. What is the most important lesson you have learned in your medical career?
The most important lesson I have learned is that you can never be too certain. It is always worth double checking, getting a second opinion if need be and taking care with all the steps of care when treating a patient. In medicine even a small mistake or an overlook can have deadly consequences, so nothing is ever wasted by trusting your instincts if you have any doubt about something.
More anesthesiology residency interview questions
12. Do you prefer to work alone or as a team?
13. Why did you choose to apply to this residency program?
14. Can you explain the gaps in your residency CV?
15. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
16. Do you have experience administering anesthesia in emergency situations?
17. What was your favorite class in medical school?
18. What’s the most recent book you’ve read?
19. How will you contribute to our program?
20. What is your philosophy of patient care?
21. Are you interested in research activity?
22. Are you planning on a subspecialty?
23. How would your colleagues describe you?
24. Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made.
25. What are your interests outside of medicine?
26. Have you had any interesting cases?
27. How do you deal with stress?
28. How do you deal with conflict?
29. Tell me about a time you were disappointed in your performance.
30. Describe your process for preparing a surgical suite.
1. How do I ace my anesthesiologist residency interview?
Acing the anesthesiology residency interview means being well prepared. Mock interviews and preparing your answers to common questions are some of the best ways to ensure you’re ready.
2. What questions do they ask during a residency interview?
Interviewers will ask a variety of different types of questions. These might include questions about your personality, background, career goals and experiences, or questions about how much you know about the program, your understanding of anesthesiology or what you’re looking for in a residency program.
3. What questions should I ask at the end of my interview?
At the end of the interview, always take the opportunity to ask your interviewer questions, too. Ask about the program, expectations for candidates, hours, salary, the work environment or team and anything else you may need to know before you accept.
4. How do I prepare for a residency interview?
Preparing answers to common residency interview questions means you’ll have ready responses and won’t get stuck. You’ll also be able to do some self-reflection and really provide the strongest answers possible to help you stand out.
5. What should you not say during a residency interview?
Try to avoid rambling or getting off topic when you deliver your answers. You should also avoid speaking negatively about other specialties or residency programs you’ve applied to. Interviewers don’t want to see arrogance, either, so keep yourself humble when you’re speaking of your accomplishments or level of skill, but don’t downplay your abilities.
6. How many residency interviews is good?
There is no universal number of residency interviews required to land you a spot, but typically candidates may have up to 10 interviews during the match process. Once you’ve had a few interviews with different programs, it will be clearer which ones are a good fit for you.
7. How many interviews do I need to match anesthesia?
Again, there is no universal number of residency interviews needed to match into anesthesiology. However most candidates will find a position after a handful of interviews.
8. How should I introduce myself in a residency interview?
When introducing yourself in a residency interview, be polite and professional, give a firm handshake and make eye contact with your interviewer.
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