You've likely come across the term 'residency mock interviews' at some point in your residency interview prep, but most students are actually unsure of what residency mock interviews are and how they can help students. In this blog, that is precisely what we will discuss. We explain exactly what residency mock interviews are, how they can help you develop life-long skills, and why they are the key to acing your residency interviews in 2023. Whether you're applying to residency positions through CaRMS or ERAS, and whether you are a local applicant or an international medical graduate, you must prepare for your residency interviews by familiarizing yourself with common questions, interview format, and residency interview etiquette. So keep reading if you want to learn more about residency mock interviews.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
What is a Residency Mock Interview?
Residency mock interviews are a residency interview coaching technique typically commonly used by residency application consultants and other academic consultants. A residency mock interview is supposed to simulate the conditions of an actual residency interview as closely as possible. This means that an applicant would be interviewed in a similar format and interview setting, and you will be asked questions the same types of questions that you can expect during your interview. Think about when you were going through your MCAT test prep or studying for a licensing exam such as the USMLE. You probably took a few practice tests before exam day. Residency mock interviews work the same as those practice exams did. They give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the process and practice your answers to figure out what is working and what needs improving.
Mock interviews are different than asking a friend or family member to help you rehearse your interview answers. Residency mock interview sessions are generally offered by professional consulting services such as residency match services, as part of an applications package or alone. Admissions/application consultants are professionals with extensive knowledge about both the residency admissions process and interviewing in general. In these professional sessions, once the interview is complete, they can evaluate your interview skills, offer personalized feedback on your performance, and coach you on improving them.
Benefits of Residency Mock Interviews
Residency mock interviews can greatly impact candidates' performance, and your performance on residency interview day is a very significant part of the residency application process. If you are called for an interview, it means that the residency program already liked what they saw on your residency CV and residency personal statement. Your interview gives them a chance to confirm that you are the ideal candidate by evaluating your soft skills - communication skills, interpersonal skills, professionalism, etc.
According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), when residency programs are creating their rank order lists, 98% of them consider communication skills to be one of the most important factors, and 94% of them consider an applicant's interactions with staff and faculty on interview days to be very important too. In other words, it is crucial that you impress the residency directors on interview day, and that is precisely what residency mock interviews can help you do. Let's review some of the benefits of using mock interviews to prepare:
Test and Practice Your Answer Strategies
During your residency mock interviews, your interviewer will ask you different residency interview questions - from common general questions such as "tell me about yourself" to questions that are specific to your chosen specialties. This gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the type of questions that you can expect during your residency interview and come up with answers ahead of time.
The first benefit of this is that it will allow you to think about the information you want to share with the interviewer, what you want to omit, and how you want to phrase it all. We're not saying that you should write down your answers and memorize them. In fact, we advise that you don't do this! However, structuring your answers in advance will help you make sure that you do not forget any necessary details or include irrelevant information.
Are you an IMG wondering how to strengthen your application? Getting electives and clinical experience can help. Check this out:
By practicing, and therefore repeating your answers often, you are more likely to remember the key points you want to cover. You will also be able to identify what's not working for you. Perhaps the way that you structured your answers to a specific type of question does not come naturally to you, and your replies sound disingenuous. Noticing in the mock interview gives you a chance to fix it. It gives you the space to explore your answers and tweak them as needed to ensure natural-sounding responses on interview day - well-structured and smoothly delivered.
Furthermore, remember that you will be working with a consultant who will listen to your answers and assess you the same way an interviewer would, then provide you with feedback and coaching. This means that they can also help you identify issues in your performance and teach you how to ameliorate them. They can help you structure your answers in a compelling and memorable way, and teach you how to deliver those answers confidently and in a way that stands out.
Improve Interview Presentation
You will recall that residency interviewers are there to get to know you better as a candidate by assessing your soft skills. In other words, how you behave and how you say things is just as important as what you say. Most students focus their interview prep on preparing their answers, and while this is an important aspect of your residency interview preparation, it is not the only one. There are numerous unconscious qualities of self-presentation in interviews that must be considered. Qualities such as talking speed, eye contact, posture, tone of voice, body language, and so on.
Residency mock interviews give you an opportunity to practice and learn to pay attention to these behaviors while you are answering questions. Often, nerves can cause students to fidget or sound hesitant during the interview. Practicing frequently in a setting that is similar to the actual residency interview can help remove a layer of anxiety. Additionally, your consultant can give tips and strategies to ensure that you present the most confident and professional version of yourself to the interviewers. For example, if you say "uhm" a lot while answering questions, you may think that it's just part of how you talk, but a consultant can actually give you tools that'll help improve your delivery.
Check out this video for more tips to help you ace your residency interview:
Who Should Conduct Your Residency Mock Interviews?
We mentioned earlier that residency mock interviews are typically conducted by residency application consultants. Depending on the consultant you are working with, their approach and the format they use to provide feedback for mock interviews may differ. Still, there are a few factors that we feel you should consider as you search for a consultant to help you prepare for your residency interview:
Whether you are applying through CaRMS or ERAS, your chances of matching are highly dependent on your performance during your residency interviews. This means that you need to prepare well in advance if you want to do well, and one of the best ways to prepare is to have residency mock interviews with a professional. These mock interviews not only allow you to familiarize yourself with the format and questions that you can expect during your interview, but also improve your general interview behavior. In other words, residency mock interviews can help maximize your chances of landing your dream match while giving you the tools and skills you will need long after becoming a resident doctor.
1. What is a mock residency interview?
Residency mock interviews are an interview coaching practice that utilizes a simulation of actual residency interviews in order to help candidates prepare.
2. Who should conduct residency mock interviews?
Residency mock interviews are typically conducted by academic consultants. This service is sometimes offered as part of a larger residency application package, residency interview prep program, or on its own.
3. What is a residency application consultant?
Residency application consultants are academic consultants who help candidates with their residency application process specifically. This includes planning for residency applications, preparing the different application components, and getting ready for the dreaded residency interviews.
4. Why should I prepare for residency interviews in advance?
Residency interviews, like most interviews, can be quite challenging. They play a huge role in the selection process of most residency program directors, so you must do well in your interview if you want to get into your dream program.
5. Should IMGs also use residency mock interviews to prepare?
In short, yes! As an IMG, it is especially important that you demonstrate a clear understanding and mastery of the culture and language that you will be working in. In mock interviews, you'd get a chance to practice and address any issues before actually speaking with the residency program representative(s).
6. How important are residency interviews?
Residency interviews are very important! According to a report published by the NMRP, almost all residency programs agree that a candidate's communication skills and attitude when interacting with other staff and faculty members are very important factors in the creation of their ranking order list. So do not underestimate their importance.
7. What questions do they ask in residency interviews?
You should expect questions about your educational and extracurricular experiences, any relevant experiences you talked about in your personal statement, your reasons for pursuing your chosen specialty, and reasons for applying to a specific program.
8. What can I do to improve my interview skills?
You can improve your interviewing skills by reviewing practice questions and crafting your own answers in advance. You should also work on your non-verbal communication, active listening skills, and speaking with confidence.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!