Common Residency Interview Questions: “Why are you interested in our program?”
When a program selects you for an interview, it’s because they’ve reviewed your application carefully and like what they see. It’s likely that if you asked the program, “Why me?” They’d have a good reason! So, when the program asks you “Why us?” be ready to wow them with your answer. This blog will help you answer the question, “Why are you interested in our program?”
Learn About the Program
Now, it’s possible that you’re interviewing with your dream program and you already know exactly why you want to be there – if that’s the case, you can create and practice your answer using the approach outlined in our “Tell us about yourself” Interview Prep Series video.
If, however, you’re interviewing with a program you don’t know much about, you’ll want to take a more in-depth approach.
The first step is building a foundation of knowledge about the program. So, visit the program’s website and review it from top to bottom – and take notes too! It’s good to notice any themes or key concepts, but the purpose of this step is to gain initial familiarity with the program.
Next, talk to any peers or mentors who know about the program or have a connection within the institution. You can also check in with advisors at your school to see if they have any information about the program’s interview process or know current residents in the program who are willing to talk.
If you have a Match A Resident Customized Program List, you should also review any Interview Feedback for the program to get insight into past applicants’ experiences.
“Why Are You Interested in Our Program?” Includes Knowing About the People!
Next, it’s time to focus on the people in the program, starting with the Program Director. First, see what you can learn online, beyond the program’s website. Some program directors have social media presences and have spoken out about certain topics. Reviewing their posts and videos can give you a lot of insight into their personality. It can also provide ideas for you to answer the question “Why are you interested in our program?” in a way that really speaks to the program’s goals and culture.
If you have time, and know you will interview with other people from the program, try looking them up as well.
The key to answering the question “Why are you interested in our program?” well is connecting your knowledge of the program with your own experiences and professional aspirations. So, the final step is reviewing everything you’ve learned and honing in on where you can make the best connections. Then, lead with what stands out about the training offered and how it aligns with your goals. Ideas include research opportunities, fellowship options, the patient population, or even academic curriculum. Just remember to be very specific!
Know the Area
Finally, if you have geographical ties to the area, or even just a strong geographical preference for personal reasons, it’s okay to bring that up when answering this question. But, it shouldn’t be your focus. And, you’ll want to include it toward the end of your response, not at the beginning.
Let’s wrap up with one last tip! As with any aspect of the interview, your demeanor, facial expressions, and the level of excitement you convey are going to make just as much of an impression on your viewers as your actual answers do.
Thanks for reading – we hope this content helps you answer the question “Why are you interested in our program?” during your residency interviews!
If you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Interview Prep service, visit us here.