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Lives of Doctor Wives: Advice for med students attending residency interviews

Monday, February 21, 2011

Advice for med students attending residency interviews

This is from reader Camilla:

My husband is in his fourth year of Gen Surgery residency and has been doing a research year so he finally has had the chance to sit in on a lot of night-before socials with applicants and ranking meetings. I thought I might pass on some of this information to wives of potential applicants.
First, take time to learn about the program-- even if you think it is at the bottom of your list. When an applicant says something like, "I really like your program," the natural follow-up question will be, "Why? What in particular do you like?" If you can't answer intelligently, you will look like a dumbo. On the converse side, don't seem too overeager. One applicant told my husband he really liked the program and couldn't wait to come out for a second look. This comment made my husband wonder why he didn't just ask his questions now while he was at the site. I'm sure the applicant was just trying to sound interested, but he sounded like he was gunning. . . I guess you had to be there?
Anyway, show your interest with interesting, well-thought-out questions, not anything that remotely resembles kissing-up.

Second, stay away from controversial issues like politics. Just don't talk about it. Not in an interview. No. No. No. No matter what you say, you will irritate someone when your comment gets repeated in rank meetings.

Third, don't brag to the current residents during socials. You may think your score is high-- and it may be-- but that information is listed on your application. When rank meeting time comes, the number is clear to everyone. If you came across braggy before-hand, it is often perceived as arrogance. Also, don't brag about how many chest tubes you put in during your rotations or how many whipples you've observed, you are talking to residents who have had more experience than you. Don't try to make yourself seem cool. Be cool for who you are, not by trying to out-do a resident- the resident will win. And the resident will be bugged.

Fourth, don't share your marital/relationship troubles with the residents at socials. Just don't do it. You will seem needy. Don't tell them your wife doesn't think she can support you in a rigorous specialty. That is between you and your wife. If you share this with the residents, they want to protect their program. They don't have a colleague who will be calling them to cover shifts cause their wife is having a bad day.

Dress nicely. If you show up in jeans and t-shirt, most people won't take you seriously.
Finally, be yourself. Have a good reason about why you are pursuing a specific specialty.

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Blogger Jeni said...

That is all REALLY great advice. My husband is PGY1 and just had his first experience being on this side of the application/interview process. They really do scrutinize every little thing you say and do, even when you think you're not actually being interviewed, like when they take you out to dinner or lunch. At our program there was a great applicant that everyone thought would get ranked high until the dinner - he totally blew his chances by treating the waitress badly - they figured, if he didn't treat the help at a restaurant well, how will he treat the staff at a clinic or hospital? Here they also take the spouses out to a "casual lunch" with the resident's spouses and it is also used as another weeding opportunity so watch what you and your spouse say in any situation.

February 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Mandy, The Mother of All Chaos said...

Thanks for the advice!

My husband said someone came to the interview and stayed with current residents. The interviewee did yoga in their living room only in his underwear. After that, noone cared how he did in the hospital =) Those kinds of things DO make an impression, eh? lol

February 21, 2011 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Mandy, The Mother of All Chaos said...

And...I meant that in a bad way not a good one ha

February 21, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Amanda E. said...

It is so ridiculous that ANYONE would talk about some of these topics and/or behave this way during an interview. I was always shocked at what people considered normal interview attire and behavior while working in human resources...bahahaha.

February 21, 2011 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Brilliant, Camilla!

February 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM  

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