Reading medical fellowship interview questions and answers is a great way to calm your nerves and prepare for interview day. After choosing your medical specialty and completing your residency years, you may decide to join a medical fellowship and pursue further study in your specialty or even a sub-specialty. If you do, you’ll likely be invited to a medical fellowship interview, and its key to know how to answer the typical questions. In this blog, we’ll look at what medical fellowship interviews are, some common question types and a few sample questions and answers.
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What is a medical fellowship interview
A medical fellowship interview is similar to a residency interview, in that the preparation strategy and the type of questions you’ll most likely be asked is nearly identical. An interview to join a medical fellowship, however, can be more intense and more in-depth than your average residency interview.
Medical fellowships are one of many possible next steps following your residency years. In short, a fellowship is typically a one-year commitment to further study in a sub-specialty of medicine. Residents may decide to further specialize their interests and skills by applying for a fellowship.
Not every fellowship will use an interview, but the majority see it as a beneficial tool in getting to know their applicants and a way to find the most suitable candidate. Selected applicants to a fellowship will be invited to an interview to further narrow the field of possibilities. Just like with residency interviews, it’s important to have a strategy here for answering any type of question and preparing answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you’re a Canadian med student, you can expect some similar questions at a fellowship interview as you had at your CaRMS interview.
In recent years, many fellowship interviews have been moved to virtual or online only, too. Your prep strategy won’t differ much if you’re invited to an online fellowship interview, but it’s a good idea to know ahead of time what format your interview will be and practice your interview skills in a mock virtual interview format.
Types of medical fellowship interview questions
If you are invited to a medical fellowship interview, brush up your residency CV and make sure you know it backwards and forwards. Also be sure to do your due diligence and research the fellowship you’re interviewing at, since they may ask you questions related to either their fellowship or your resume and you want to be able to answer with confidence. The other types of questions you can expect are most likely familiar to you from your time preparing for your residency interview, but we’ll take a quick review of these first.
Interested in tips that can help you brush up your residency CV? Check out this video:
Knowledge-based questions are based on your medical or academic knowledge. In fellowship interviews, this will mostly center around current events in the medical field or specific questions about the sub-specialty of the fellowship you’re applying to. Essentially, your interviewers want to see that you know your stuff and that you keep up with the latest news in your chosen specialty.
Scenario type questions are a favourite of interviewers. These types of questions provide a deeper insight into how you think, how you collaborate and how you handle conflict or complex situations.
These types of questions might focus on aspects of your CV or resume, or your interviewers will want to know more about your short- and long-term career goals. In other words, typical interview questions you would be asked at any job interview. These are designed to get to know you better on a personal level, to see if you are a good fit for the program and to see if the fellowship is the best place for you to grow as a medical professional. The fellowship’s interviewers are looking for the best possible fit, so be sure to emphasize your passion for the chosen sub-specialty and clearly define the reasons why you want to join a fellowship.
These types of questions will, of course, be about your hobbies and non-work interests. Interviewers are looking to see you from a different angle and learn about who you are outside of work and the medical profession. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and answer honestly. Show your interviewers your passion and enthusiasm for your non-work interests. You never know if you might even share some interests in common with your interviewers!
Context questions are a good sign. They come up when your interviewer asks about a previous answer you gave or asks you to expand on a point you made previously. Maybe something you said prompted some follow-up questions or sparked an interest in your interviewer’s mind. If an interviewer shows an interest in expanding on something you said and asks more questions about a particular topic, don’t shy away. Take this chance to deepen your answer, provide more information or add another point to your answer. Use this as a chance to strengthen your argument or answer, or even reword previous phrasing. The last thing you say will be what the interviewer remembers best, so this can be a good way to correct any fumbling answers or awkward phrasing, too.
Want to see a summary of the key points from above? Take a look at this infographic:
10 sample medical fellowship interview questions and answers
Questions to ask your medical fellowship interviewer
A medical fellowship interview is also a prime opportunity to ask questions of your interviewers—as is every professional interview. This is your chance to ask questions about the job, the work environment, the day-to-day operations of the fellowship, your hours and compensation, research and other opportunities for growth. In short, you can find out a particular fellowship is as good a fit for you and your career goals as you are for the fellowship.
Some questions you can and should come prepped with for your interview might include:
Some other good questions to ask would revolve around your lifestyle needs. If accepting a fellowship would require you to move to a new city, ask your interviewers about the new location and their recommendations. If you have a family that would be moving with you, ask about potential childcare, if it is offered by the fellowship.
More medical fellowship interview questions to practice with
- Why did you choose this specialty?
- Are you interested in research activity?
- Why did you decide to become a doctor?
- What about yourself are you most proud of?
- Do you have any publications?
- Tell us about your clinical experience?
- Where do you see yourself after this fellowship?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Tell us about a mistake you made and how you handled it.
- What challenges do you think this institution may face in the future?
- What do you consider the critical aspects of patient communication?
- What can we expect from your in your first 90 days, if we were to hire you?
- Do you consider yourself a team player?
- What challenges do you expect working in this fellowship field?
- What have you done to improve your knowledge in the past year?
- What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
- What were the biggest challenges of your residency and how did you overcome them?
- How would your co-workers describe you?
- What do you like and dislike about this sub-specialty?
- What is a current issue in this specialty and how would you handle it?
1. How do you prepare for a fellowship interview?
The best way to prepare for any interview is to make good use of mock interviews to practice your interviewing skills and prepare your answers ahead of time. You can do this by reading sample answers like the ones in this blog!
2. What kind of questions are asked at fellowship interviews?
Fellowship interviews will often ask the typical interview questions, which can include some different question types, such as: behavioral, personal and knowledge-based.
3. Are residency interviews and fellowship interviews different?
Your fellowship interview will be remarkably similar to your residency interview, although questions asked during a fellowship interview may be more focused on the chosen specialty and more in-depth.
4. How do you answer tell me about yourself in a fellowship interview?
What is really being asked by this question is: how will you fit with your program? Tell the most relevant parts of your story. Develop your answer beyond what is written on your CV. Tell your interviewer the essence of who you are and demonstrate that you possess the qualities they are looking for.
5. How do you answer what are your strengths and weaknesses in a fellowship interview?
Use this question to demonstrate that you can see yourself clearly and insightfully. That you are aware of your strengths as well as your weaknesses and that your strengths lift you up and you can conquer your weaknesses.
6. What are good questions to ask during a fellowship interview?
It’s a good idea to always ask your own questions too during an interview. Ask about the day-to-day work of a fellowship, about any research or teaching opportunities, and how you can best contribute to the fellowship.
7. How do I know if my fellowship interview went well?
Usually, you can tell if an interview went well if you feel a good rapport with your interviewer, if your interviewer asked any follow-up or context questions, and if things left on a good note. Positive body language or being offered a tour of the fellowship institution is also a good sign.
8. Should I send a thank you note after a fellowship interview?
A thank you note never goes amiss after a job interview. If possible, send a quick thank you via email directly to your interviewer or interviewers, unless specifically directed otherwise.
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