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Ready, Set, Interview!

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

by Chiamaka Nwachukwu

Co-Director of Future Peds Resident

Hello Future Pediatricians!

Congratulations! You have come so far and done so well. You have written difficult exams, put together a beautiful application and submitted it. You deserve a rousing applause for how far you have come!

You have done the hardest bit, now it is important to consolidate all the good work you have done so far to really nail that amazing residency spot you have been dreaming about. That is where the interviews come in.

ICYMI, Dr. Amanda Osta gave an insightful presentation at the FuturePedsRes Webinar on the best way to ace your virtual interview! Watch the video:

The interviews are the perfect way to determine which program is the perfect match for your dreams and goals, as well as to let them know why you’re the best fit for them. You want to make sure you get it right from the beginning. Here are five major areas you would like to make sure are adequately covered as we approach interview season.

1. Scheduling:

Try to schedule your interview as soon as possible. Many programs have a 72 hour window to respond, so ensure you schedule your interview within that time frame. Scheduling early also means you have flexibility with dates that are more convenient for you. Please try not to schedule more than one interview per day. You want to be sure to be well rested and in top form for every interview. I recommend using a planner or calendar to cross check dates so you do not double book interviews.

2. Knowing your subject:

Preparation is essential to a successful interview. Look up the program, important details about them, their leadership, and your interviewers if you can! This will make your interview much smoother. During your research you can make some notes on questions you would like to ask, or specific qualities of the program that interest you. It might reflect poorly on your application if at your interview you ask for information which is already publicly available on the program’s website. In addition to this, you need to be able to confidently speak about every part of your application. Review your CV/ application again to be sure you remember everything written there and can speak on it if asked.

3. Setting the scene

Most programs would be interviewing applicants virtually. Take advantage of every tool at your disposal to create the best virtual impression of yourself. Start now to plan for where you will take your interviews. Create your set up and take pictures to see if it works. You should choose a quiet area with a plain background. You can also plan to blur your background if you do not have a plain one. It might also be worth it to invest in an external webcam and microphone to ensure good video and sound quality! You want to appear and sound crisp and clear, and eliminate any distracting sounds or images. It is also a good idea to test your equipment several times before your interview! Lighting is also essential. While many people use ring lights, some might find them too harsh or bright. You can use regular bright lamps that illuminate your face clearly- ideally placed somewhere in front of you.

4. Looking the part

Curating the perfect look for yourself is a key component of acing your interviews. You don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons in an interview. Plan your outfits ahead of time and practice sitting and speaking in them. Interviews may be virtual, but dress for them like they are in person. This means planning a full outfit including shoes, hair, make-up, fragrance and some understated jewelry, if you wear those. Dressing up completely can give you the little extra morale boost that makes so much of a difference! For outfit choices, blazers in dark solid colors and lighter plain shirts or blouses are safe options to go with. It is often advised to avoid patterned or textured outfits as they could be distracting.

5. Nailing the interview!

On interview day, get some rest, eat a good meal and go to your interview looking alert and bright! You might be interviewing in the middle of the night due to time zone differences, so pay extra care to ensure you do not look like you just rolled out of bed (even though you did). Try to be ready at least thirty to forty five minutes before your allocated time so you can put together things you might need on your desk such as a notepad, pen and some water. It is advisable to arrive at your interview at least fifteen minutes before, so you have enough time to mentally settle in and calm your nerves. You can listen to some music or try some breathing exercises during this time. When your interview starts, smile, listen where appropriate, speak clearly and confidently, and kill that interview!

Wishing you the very best!

Chiamaka Nwachukwu



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