Read some dermatology residency interview questions and answers examples to get an idea of what you can expect. As a pretty competitive residency to match, the dermatology residency interview requires good preparation to secure a spot. Dermatology can be a tough residency to match into as in international medical grad, so be sure to look into some IMG residency interview prep to help you ace your interviews. In this blog, we’ll look at how competitive dermatology residency is, how to prepare for the residency interview and some sample dermatology residency interview questions and answers.

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How important is the dermatology residency interview? How to prepare for a dermatology residency interview 10 common dermatology residency interview questions More dermatology residency interview questions FAQs

How important is the dermatology residency interview?

Dermatology is one of the most competitive residencies to match into, simply because there are fewer spots available and a relatively high number of applicants. Dermatology is sought after since it promises a different kind of physician lifestyle. In general, dermatologists enjoy a higher job satisfaction rate, excellent pay and less hectic schedule. Dermatology is considered a less demanding position, although this does not mean that residency training will be a breeze.

To get a spot in a coveted dermatology residency program, you’ll need to nail the interview. To do this, it’s important to stand out from the crowd of other applicants and prove why you are the ideal candidate. Performing well in the interview is especially important for international medical graduates (IMG), since dermatology is not one of the most IMG friendly residency programs.

If you don’t find a position, there’s still hope to match into dermatology. The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) starts right after Match Day, so be ready for the next round of interview by reading some SOAP residency interview questions and answers. Remember if you do go unmatched after your residency interviews, you can still improve your residency app and reapply next year. Try rewriting your dermatology residency personal statement or brush up on your interviewing skills.

How to prepare for a dermatology residency interview

Preparing for your residency interview is crucial. Some of the best ways are to prepare your answers ahead of time and then practice with mock interviews. Having your answers ready to go will ensure you can be calm, confident and assured in your interview, and practicing your delivery will polish your performance. Residency interview coaching or residency interview preparation services are great professional resources to use for mock interviews, feedback and help with this important step in your career. They can also guide you on some of the best questions to ask residency programs to gauge whether they are a good fit for you.

It's important to start your residency interview prep early, so you have plenty of time to practice and get comfortable sitting for an interview. Residency interviews happen in a short timeline during the match, and you may have multiple interviews to attend and very little time in between to take a break. You’ll need to make the most of your interview prep time and get started before your interview invitations start coming in.

Below are some other tips for prepping for a residency interview:

Check out BeMo’s residency match calculator to predict your chances of matching into the specialty of your choice!

Next up, we’ll look at some common dermatology residency interview questions and sample answers to get you started on your prep. After these, check out our 20 additional questions which are common for interviewers to ask during a residency interview.

10 common dermatology residency interview questions

1. Why did you choose dermatology?

Dermatology was my first choice of specialty for two reasons. The first was because it is a career which will allow me to interact closely with patients and really get to know them, especially as I accrue regular patients. I would be able to meet patients from all backgrounds as well, which is appealing to me. The second reason I chose dermatology is I understand personally what it is to suffer from chronic skin problems, and I want to help others to feel comfortable and happy in their own skin and appearance.

2. What are the qualities a dermatologist needs to be successful?

I think important qualities to have would be superb communication skills and empathy. You need to be an active listener for your patients and really understand their point of view. Skin is a very personal topic and when patients come to us with concerns or issues, we need them to feel they are in a safe and understanding space. Being able to communicate well and with consideration is very important for successful patient interactions. Being a listening ear for patients and demonstrating empathy for their concerns helps to build trust and instill confidence in your treatment of them.

3. What do you think are the pros and cons of being a dermatologist?

The pros of being a dermatologist would be getting to meet such a variety of patients and see a variety of conditions and diagnoses. No day will be the same as the last, which keeps you on your toes. Some of the cons would be of course long working days and balancing the workload with personal time.

4. How would you help patients manage common skin issues such as rashes or acne?

For common skin issues I would start with a thorough patient examination. The best treatment would usually be an anti-inflammatory cream for rashes or salicylic acid for common acne conditions. However, allergies or reactions can happen with topical options such as these, so I would check a patient’s history to be sure there are no indications of poor or allergic reactions to these treatments. If the initial treatment is not effective or causing a reaction, I would switch to prescribing an antibiotic ointment or corticosteroid for example, depending on the diagnosis to help control the problem.

5. Are you planning on entering a subspecialty?

I am interested in pursuing a fellowship in immunodermatology. In medical school it was fascinating to learn more about the various dermatological disorders and how they can affect patients. It would be rewarding for me to be able to work with long-term patients on diagnosing, treating and maintaining their skin health, particularly when they are living daily with these unique and often painful conditions.

Struggling to answer those open-ended interview questions? Watch the video below

6. How would you rate your skill level working with patients?

I have always done my best to make each patient interaction positive and fruitful. During my rotations my superiors often praised my skill in working with patients and the extra effort I put into talking regularly with them and getting to know them. I feel very comfortable relating to all types of patients and I am assured in dealing with even difficult patients. For example, I have experienced more than one patient who was reluctant to listen to a doctor’s advice or who refused to take their prescription. I found that talking with them about their reticence or clarifying that they understand why they need a certain prescription and how it will help eases a lot of the reluctance or mistrust some patients have with physicians.

7. How do you build rapport with colleagues or coworkers?

I consider myself a friendly person, so I always like to introduce myself to new colleagues or coworkers and ask them questions, getting to know them and their interests. Of course, I would also share some of my own background and interests. It’s good to learn how a team operates and what individual idiosyncrasies are so I can make my own transition into the team easier. The more I know about how the team I am joining operates I easier it will be to determine what my role will be, whether I will fit in and how to avoid any friction in the workplace. I enjoy having conversations with my coworkers during breaktime and being in a friendly environment.

8. What kind of work environment do you like best?

I have always thrived in a work environment where its clear the team manages itself well and has the support of management. When roles are clearly defined and team members can seamlessly switch from working independently to joining the team for a discussion or consultation, I think of this as a sign of a great workplace. My ideal workplace would be somewhere I could work independently but have a team behind me as support, to consult with and engage with on special cases.

Working on your residency personal statement? Read this helpful infographic.

9. What are your thoughts on the use of fillers and other anti-aging products?

When it comes to anti-aging products, I take a more conservative view. I would begin the patient consultation and treatment with topical anti-aging options and gauge the effectiveness of the treatment and the patient’s satisfaction with it. For fillers, injections, or more invasive procedures I would recommend these only when it is clinically relevant and would of course take into account patient history and preference.

10. What would you do if you weren’t certain about a patient’s diagnosis?

If I have any doubts about a diagnosis, I prefer to run tests first in order to confirm what I am seeing. In the case where I am encountering something unfamiliar, strange or I run into inconclusive tests or other difficulties, I ask for a consultation with a colleague. Who I would ask would depend on the problem, as I want to ask someone who is most likely to have a conclusive answer for me. I would ask this colleague for their recommendations or input before proceeding. If I still wasn’t able to find a satisfactory answer I would delve into research and broaden my search for a consultation.

More dermatology residency interview questions

11. Tell me about yourself.

12. What makes you a good candidate for this program?

13. Why did you choose to apply to this program?

14. What are your career goals in the next 5 to 10 years?

15. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

16. What are you most proud of?

17. Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made.

18. How would your colleagues describe you?

19. How will you contribute to our program?

20. What is your personal skincare routine like?

21. Who is your greatest inspiration in the medical field?

22. Tell me about a disagreement you had with a colleague and how you handled it.

23. Tell me about a time you were disappointed in your performance.

24. Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made.

25. What are your interests outside of medicine?

26. How would you conduct a full-body skin exam on a new patient?

27. Describe a time you had to give a patient bad news.

28. How would you identify a cancerous mole?

29. Tell me about a time you were disappointed in your performance.

30. Do you have any questions for us?


1. How do I ace my dermatology residency interview?

To ace the dermatology residency interview, you’ll need to make an impression as the best possible candidate. Dermatology is competitive, so you’ll need to demonstrate a genuine passion for the specialty and prove you have the qualities of an ideal resident.

2. What questions do they ask in a dermatology residency interview?

During a dermatology residency interview, you can expect to be asked about your personal and professional background, your knowledge of the specialty, your expectations for the program and future career goals. Residency interviewers want to know who you are and how you will fit in with their residency program team.

3. How do I prepare for my residency interviews?

The best way to prepare for a residency interview is with mock interviews and by preparing your answers well ahead of time. Prep some answers to common questions and practice delivering them in a mock interview setting.

4. Is dermatology hard to match into?

Dermatology is a more competitive residency to match into because of the limited number of spots and high number of applicants. While not impossible, it is one of the more competitive residencies.

5. Is dermatology a good residency?

Dermatology is a coveted residency because it offers a more laidback work environment, good pay and a high-quality lifestyle. The residency training, though, is as demanding as any other program.

6. How many residency interviews are enough?

There is no magic number of residency interviews to shoot for, but most candidates have 10 interviews or less during the match. A better indication of whether you will be successful is if you have great interviewing skills and well polished answers.

7. What should I wear to a residency interview?

Wear professional attire to a residency interview. Make sure your clothes are well-tailored and fit well. Wear clothes that are clean and neutral. Avoid very bright colors or large, distracting accessories. Men and women can wear nice slacks with a blouse or button-up shirt, paired with a jacket or left without. 

8. What should you not say during a residency interview?

Avoid badmouthing other programs or specialties or talking about what you dislike about the specialty. Try not to ramble in your answers but keep to the point and avoid cliches. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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