Mastering the Interview - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

Mastering the Interview

Goals of the Interview:

  • You are trying to see if you are compatible with the program, and if it is the right place for you.
  • If you feel you are compatible, you are trying to convey this to your interviewers and make them feel the same way. You are trying to make yourself stand out and be memorable.
  • You are trying to find the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

  • If you are going to be in the area of a school you would like to interview at, it is okay to call them and assess whether or not they will be offering you an interview.
  • If you are invited to a city with two programs, and one of them is the prelim program, it is best to reschedule with the prelim program than the anesthesia program, if possible.
  • It may be best to get a couple of interviews in with your less desired programs before interviewing at your highly valued program.
  • Call and confirm your appointment one week before your scheduled interview, if you haven’t received a confirmation letter/email.
Research on Programs:

  • Just before the interview, take the time to review the info you’ve received from the program and any other info you have gathered (i.e., program’s website).
  • Google the community you’ll be in to find a little bit more about the area.
  • Write down a few specific questions you have about the program. If you have them in front of you, you won’t forget when you are nervous and you always have something to say during a lull in conversation. Try to think of a few that apply directly to you, not just the same questions every person will ask.
Off-campus Dinners with Residents:

  • Go if at all possible! This is your chance to ask the residents questions that you can’t or don’t want to ask the interviewers.
  • Dress nicely, but conservatively. Usually no jeans, but nice slacks or skirt and sweater.
  • Ask the residents for their honest opinion of the program and surroundings, and look for clues about their overall satisfaction.
Sample Questions:

  • Are the single residents content with their social lives?
  • Do married residents have children?
  • Have any residents been divorced during the past five years?
  • Has anyone quit in the past five years?
  • Do the residents socialize just at department events, or informally as well?

  • Always conservative, but comfort is a must.
  • Men: Suit or coat and tie. Grey vs. blue vs. black is not important.
  • Women: Skirt or pants suit. If skirt, be sure it comes to your knees. Basic pumps, no fancy high heels. Bright colored shirt under suit makes you more memorable. Wear a scarf if you flush easily. Earrings should not be too dangly, and make-up should be conservative.
On Interview Day:

  • Be on time (or early!). Allow ample time for parking, finding the correct office, etc.
  • Before leaving the house/hotel be sure you have everything you need: Carry a copy of your transcript and CV, paper and pen, notes, etc.
  • Be bright and positive at all times!
Sample Questions You Might Be Asked:

  • Why did you choose Anesthesiology?
  • Why did you choose to apply to this residency?
  • What are your strong points?
  • What do you consider are your weaknesses?
  • What are your overall career goals?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Describe a particularly satisfying or meaningful experience during your medical training. Why was it meaningful?
Sample Questions for You to Ask:

  • What are board passing rates?
  • Career choices of recent graduates?
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the residency.
  • How do you feel your program compares to other programs?
  • Are some rotations done at other hospitals?
  • Are there any other residency programs in-house? What kind of feedback are you hearing from your graduates?
  • How would you describe the patient demographics?
Immediately After the Interview:

  • ASAP, take time to write down your impressions of the program for your own notes and comparisons.
  • When you get home, send a thank you note to recognize the programs hospitality and to reaffirm your interest in the program.
  • If you have any unanswered, yet vital questions, it is appropriate to call back for more info, particularly to one of your interviewers or a resident you had contact with.

Thank You Industry Supporters

Whose contributions allow the American Society of Anesthesiologists® to create world-class education and resources to improve patient care and outcomes.

Learn More