A Unique Perspective on CaRMS and Residency Interviews

First of all, congratulations on making it this far! 

It must have felt like yesterday when prepping for medical school admission interviews right? Well, since you survived that, you can truly survive this. I want to reassure you that it is normal to have that anxious feeling you are feeling right now.  After all, you did just spend months researching about programs, putting your application together, finishing up your exams and finally submitted your applications only to have to wait to hear back from programs. However, what I want you to understand and remember is simple. Once you do receive that invitation letter, it means that the program is interested in you, the wait is over, and now, the real fun begins. You can travel to and explore different provinces and cities. Before you have too much fun though, I recommend keeping a journal of how you feel when you do go for your interviews. It was the best advice I received from my mentors so I am offering it to you also. It helps to remind you keep track of exactly how you feel while interviewing and most importantly, it will help to make life easier when that time comes to create your rank order lists. 

I still remember how I felt when I received my first invitation letter (IV). It was from the program of my choice and it was also from the Program Director (PD) himself. When I read it, I remember feeling paralyzed with happiness. I must have read that IV numerous times and I almost forgot to respond right away. Do not do that please! Always respond right away. When I realized I hadn’t yet responded, I quickly composed my acceptance letter, emailed the PD back, and booked an interview date with the program coordinator.  

When I arrived, they provided accommodation for me, which was a 2-minute walk from the hospital. My room was clean, cozy, and very well decorated.  This proved to me that they went the extra mile just to make me happy. It also reassured me why I liked this program in the first place. On the morning of my interview, I felt refreshed, well rested, and ready to interview at the program of my dream! I will skip the sentimental details including the tour of the hospital and get straight to the most important part, which is the interview itself!  I first met with the PD. Upon entering his office, I firmly shook his hand, thanked him for having me, and sat down. He was very suave and kind. He went on to speak about the program and I remember sitting there excited, and feeling like I just hit the jackpot. After we wrapped up our discussion about the program, I went downstairs for my three-panel interview. They asked me personable and ethical questions and I left that room smiling from ear to ear and so were my interviewers.  This brings me to my second advice, which is to be yourself! Do not leave that room without your interviewers knowing who you are and what you can add to their program. Do not be too rigid and anxious that you forget to allow your personality to show. Being personable will allow you to be memorable and memorable people get ranked! At around noon, all of the applicants, the PD, and two residents went to lunch where we enjoyed each other’s company as well as the food. The interview ended after lunch and I thanked them for the opportunity. My final advice is that as much as they are interviewing you to see if you are a good fit for their program, you are also interviewing them to see if the program is a good fit for you! While at lunch, I remember everything that was said to me, how the residents made me feel, how cordial they were and how entertaining they were! Remember, a good program will provide an environment that is supportive; it will foster great mentorship allowing you to flourish. Finally, a good program will definitely have a great collegial relationship among its residents. 

Once again, good luck to everyone that is going through interview season.

For more on Residency and CaRMS, check out our blogs:
CaRMS Tips and Words of Wisdom
The Unique Experience of an IMG in the CaRMS Process

Even more FREE Resources for Residents:
Canadian Medical Graduates
International Medical Graduates
What we wish we knew at the start of residency

Book your appointment for all things CaRMS prep today with a Resident consultant