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What is the anesthesiology residency interview like?

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Precedexed Out, Sep 2, 2017.

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  1. Precedexed Out

    Precedexed Out Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    As we enter the season, anyone have an suggestions about what to expect? Was there anything that surprised you? Did it feel a lot like medical school interviews?

    Is changing into scrubs to tour the OR part of most or some interviews? I can see how this could be necessary, but I really don't want to change out of my interview attire.
     
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  3. Pharmado

    Pharmado PharmaDo 5+ Year Member

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    It's been a few years, but I'll give you my experience. I did some research on the programs and their strengths, weaknesses, research areas etc ..... and that was totally worthless. All but 1 program of the 10-12 places I interviewed just wanted to know if I was a personality fit. We talked about the program and about me as a person and student. They were very laid back. After the third interview I didn't bother to search for talking points about the program and simply tried to learn about whether or not I wanted to go there. Interviews were far less stressful than I expected. Perhaps things have changed, but I doubt it. The program is going to sort you into the rank list based on your scores, grades etc. The interview isn't likely to move you up or down their list dramatically as long as they see you are a fit personality wise (which honestly is most people). If you show up wearing cut-off blue jeans and hung over, that will dramatically affect your rank. If you dress nicely and act interested you will end up on the rank list in about the same place you were in the list of people they offered interviews to. Most programs outside of the elite ones want to know if you have a geographic connection to the area (which tells them you legitimately may want to come rather than simply trying to get enough interviews to hit that magic number), but that's something that you either have or you don't.

    Be honest, be yourself. You've spent 3+ years showing the program if you've done the legwork to get a spot and now it's time to find out where you fit best. Every program has a personality because the people making the rank list favor certain personality types (consciously or not). Some programs are filled with Type A personalities. Others are more laid back. Some are very family friendly while others pretend they are but really aren't. You'll learn those things from the residents not the PD. I went to one program expecting to rank them number 1, but came away feeling like they weren't the right fit because I'm not Type A. They were a strong program, but fell to 5th or 6th in my rankings. My top program was one I never expected.

    Keep an open mind and try to enjoy the process. The interview process seems like more fun than it really is. If you can find the time to stay an extra day or two in some of the cities and enjoy the attractions it will make a difference. Flight, dinner, hotel, interview, flight over and over again gets really old. Good luck, hope this helps.
     
  4. Psai

    Psai Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    Very chill in general. Everyone will ask you why here and why anesthesia. You are just there to get a good feel of the place. At first I took detailed notes but gave up after number 3. Every program has strengths and weaknesses but you really won't understand until you live it. Things I cared about as a medical student are not really that important, for example the call schedule matters a lot more to me now than the perceived prestige of a program. Also you have amazing attending who teach as well as ones who couldn't run their own case everywhere.
     
  5. DrZzZz

    DrZzZz ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    Agree with the above except for one part. I disagree about the interview not having an effect on your rank position. My top program was one I was initially waitlisted at (so clearly would not have expected to have been high on their rank list when I finally was offered an interview) and I ended up matching one of their categorical spots (mixed cat/adv program), so clearly was ranked pretty decently on their list.

    As for the OR tours - some programs I visited left it up to us if we even cared to see the ORs. Those that did show us, we just put on bunny suits. I have heard some make you change into scrubs, but I think those are in the minority.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  6. sidefx

    sidefx 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the feedback thus far, it sounds fairly informal and laid back for the most part. Are more formal interview questions like "What would you do in x situation" Or "Give me an example of a time when you faced x, and how you handled it" common at all or is it really just an informal chat/get-to-know-you type interview like people have alluded to thus far? Also I've heard stories of certain programs (not necessarily in anesthesia) pimping applicants during interviews or asking them how they would manage a certain clinical scenario, etc; has anyone had that happen during anesthesia interviews?
     
  7. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    More and more, interviews are incorporating 'behavioral' questions, like "tell me a challenge you've had" or "tell me about a failure you had and how you overcame it" or "tell me a time you were a leader" etc. These questions can be difficult to come up with answers on the spot; as such, I recommend that you review a bunch of standard behavioral-type questions, and come up with an idea of how you my answer them. I never had any pimping questions.
     
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  8. Psai

    Psai Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    Huh I haven't had a single one of these and I went on 10+ interviews
     
  9. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    The tide is definitely shifting. During my residency, we made a concerted effort to change our interview format to behavioral type questions. For two of my (pain) fellowship interviews, the ENTIRE interview was behavioral. It's pretty annoying, but supposedly the data/studies show that behavioral is the way to go.
     
  10. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    It's all BS anyway. Because all we are measuring is the bull****ting skills of the candidate. I don't see how that has predictive value for anything. Any interview system that is predictable will be gamed.

    Someone who has issues can hide them easily during an interview, unless they are huge, or unless the person is put in difficult/stressful/unexpected situations.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
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  11. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    I completely agree with you. If nothing else, medical students and residents have always found ways to try to "outsmart the system." There are some great websites out there with the most commonly asked behavioral questions, and all you have to do is practice them a few times, and no surprises during the interview! There are only a handful of behavioral type questions that one can ask...
     
  12. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    I think most of us can agree that the best type of candidate is someone who works hard, doesn't whine, and is a team player (with of course a certain level of baseline academic scores etc). A candidate with a good personality and solid work ethic, with average board scores, almost always supersedes someone with excellent board scores and less than desirable personality traits. The question is, how do you best select for these candidates based on a 20 minute interview. I don't know the answer to that...
     
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  13. WholeLottaGame7

    WholeLottaGame7 10+ Year Member

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    Right here.
    It's basically like that one scene from the movie Swordfish with Hugh Jackman.
     
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  14. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    The way you select for them is you look for candidates whose recommendation letters have a pattern of repeatedly illustrating those qualities, preferably with examples. It's much more difficult to fool somebody during a month-long rotation.
     
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  15. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I looked it up:

     
  16. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    True- of all the ways of evaluation, this would be the best. But then again, 99% of LORs consist of run-on superlatives. Every candidate is supposedly amazing with no flaws!
     
  17. WholeLottaGame7

    WholeLottaGame7 10+ Year Member

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    Right here.
    You got it, just with intubating instead of computer hacking. Was nobody else's like that?
     
  18. Psai

    Psai Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    The only things dumber than this are the video interviews that EM is doing now, followed by the individualized program essays for ENT
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  19. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    I made it a point to interview at that program 3 times.
     
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  20. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    You can easily fake it for a month. Sometimes people don't reveal themselves to be lazy whiners for 2 years until after you've made them a partner.
     
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  21. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Maybe they weren't lazy whiners until your practice made them one? ;)
     
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  22. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    Maybe, it's definitely not for everyone. It's just interesting when 4pm rolls around and some of the people who complain the loudest about things being slow or being broke all of a sudden don't want to do any cases. Or they drag their feet getting cases started in hopes that someone higher on the call list will free up if they drag their feet long enough. It's always the same few people and it makes it a pain as the board runner. We often criticize the OR staff for having a shift mentality or being inefficient but sometimes anesthesiologists can be just as bad or worse. And everybody notices it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
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  23. anbuitachi

    anbuitachi ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Same bs as usual interviews. Talk about your day, your hoobies. Big research placed will ask about research.
     
  24. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Tell me more about these "hoobies" that you speak of. They sound intriguing.
     
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  25. Psai

    Psai Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    The bigger the better
     
  26. Precedexed Out

    Precedexed Out Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Can you answer the why anesthesia question by stating "because I like it?" Or maybe, "please see my personal statement."
     
  27. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. 10+ Year Member

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    You could as a joke if you know the program director/interviewers like jokes. But seriously, that's something you have to be able to speak about. I know it's all written in your personal statement, but it's just like having an answer prepared for why medical school?" 4 years ago.
     
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  28. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. 10+ Year Member

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    My interview at my program was very laid back. They pulled us out of rooms one afternoon, in scrubs, and there were two people in there. The other interview I had was more formal...panel of 5-6 people, dress blues...the whole shebang. Course these were during audition rotations, so it wasn't JUST an interview day.
     
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  29. Precedexed Out

    Precedexed Out Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    My problem is that I really like anesthesia and feel like anything I state is simply repeating my personal statement. I always feel awkward during these questions because I know they don't want to hear the same repetitive crap that every applicant says, but what else am I supposed to say? Damn it, I like anesthesia because I do + reasons listed in my personal statement.

    Just like the why medical school question, because I want to help people.
     
  30. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. 10+ Year Member

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    I feel ya man....or woman (Life of Brian, check it out if you haven't). Just put those reasons on a flashcard and do mock interviews until you don't need the card. I'm terrible at interviews/public speaking, serious performance anxiety, prolly need to be on a beta blocker, so it really helped me to sit down and force feed those answers in so that it was almost muscle memory. Otherwise, just remember that it's all for the interview. It's like going on a date: you dress up real nice, put on a big smile and do everything you can so that they eventually want to **** your brains out.
     
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  31. Football Pig

    Football Pig

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    How long do most of these interviews last? Is there more to the interview than being interviewed? Like a presentation on program overview, the culture of the city, and other miscellaneous information (potentially important).
     
  32. DrZzZz

    DrZzZz ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    Each interview is different depending on the program. One place, I interviewed with one attending for 45 minutes. That was the only interview. Other places, I had up to four or five 15 minute interviews with different docs +/- a chief resident. I didn't experience this, but group interviews exist where there are multiple people interviewing you at once vs. multiple applicants being interviewed at the same time by one or a small group of docs.

    Every program will give you a presentation on what to expect in the program (why their program should be at the top of your list, where their residents have gone after residency, board pass rates, etc) and the benefits of being in that given city/location.
     
  33. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Totally agree. There is usually a dinner the night before the interview with a varying group of residents either at a local restaurant or catered in at your hotel, this is a great time to ask questions and the hosts will hopefully be honest with you in their answers. If drinks are provided, consider limiting yourself to just one (or don't have one at all, no one really cares people are just trying to make you feel comfortable) - every year there are always one or two applicants who get trashed during the dinner and make fools of themselves, don't be that guy/gal.
     
  34. Precedexed Out

    Precedexed Out Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Does it look bad if you ask detailed benefit questions? I want to know specifics about all my benefits. Not just the salary and insurance. I want to know the cost of these benefits like insurance and dental. Also, I need to know insurance specifics. I want to know if meals are free or discounted, educational stipend, parking costs, white coats provided. Basically everything.

    I don't want to give the impression that these are the only things I care about, but they are important. For example, is it ok to ask for a health insurance, life insurance, disability, and retirement booklets so I have all the facts and can make a solid decision with all the facts when creating my rank list?
     
  35. Lecithin5

    Lecithin5 2+ Year Member

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    There's a good chance that your interviewer won't know the answer to those questions. Perhaps contacting the benefits office would yield many of those answers.
     
  36. DrZzZz

    DrZzZz ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    What Lecithin5 said. They won't know the details. I don't think it necessarily looks bad to ask, especially if you're not the only one using those benefits (family/spouse), but you're unlikely to get an answer. However, you really want to make sure you're not coming off in a way that makes it seem you care too much about those things. Your goal is to land a residency spot to become a solid anesthesiologist. Those details about white coats, parking, meals, etc should be at the absolute bottom of your list of reasons why you'd want or not want to end up at a particular program. Focus on the educational benefits of ending up at a program, not the financial. That will sort itself out when you finish residency. Some of those answers (food & educational stipends, parking) will be covered in the presentation they give you anyway at some point during the day.
     
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  37. soorg

    soorg Board-certified maniac 7+ Year Member

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    Just show up, light the chairman's desk on fire, and you're a shoo-in.
     
  38. Bru

    Bru 5+ Year Member

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    I think you believe these to be important now but I think you will find this not to be the case when it comes down to it. This is from a person who collected all of that information and put it into a spreadsheet for each program.

    To answer your question, those benefits can usually be found on the program website or the host site's GME site. It may also be provided in materials on the day of interview. Honestly, I wouldn't go crazy with these sorts of questions on the day of interview. Perhaps the resident dinner might be a better venue to casually inquire about those items.
     
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  39. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Ask about benefits and things like that during the residency dinner, some things like food allowances are hard to discern from the GME website. There is a good way to bring this up without sounding petty - we had an applicant last year fixated on his opinion that all meals should be hot and included at zero cost, it was obnoxious and reflected poorly.
     
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  40. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    Served by models in bikinis?
     

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