Some Logistical Tips for The Residency Interview Day from this year
Here are a few tips that I picked up during my interviewing trail, including some that I learned the hard way. These tips may sound silly to those already in the US, however, for new visitors, they may make the experience a little less stressful.
1) Lodging: If you are staying the night at a hotel, you will have to check-out of the hotel before you leave for the interview. This is because the check-out time is usually 11:00 am and that normally falls during the interview hours. You can keep your luggage with the hotel staff for that duration and then retrieve it later. If you are heading to your next destination from the interview venue, you can take your luggage along and the residency coordinator can look after it for you.
2) Driving: If you are planning to drive to your interview and you have some time on the previous day, you can make a dry run to the interview venue to see that you have the correct directions. This gives you peace of mind the next day. Additionally, if you are in the East Coast or the cooler Midwest areas, you may have to deal with frost on your windscreen in the morning, around fall season, so allow yourself some time to defrost. Similarly, during the winter, if it snows during the night and you are parked outside, it may take a while to clean the vehicle.
3) Parking: If you are driving to your interview, make sure to factor in the time needed to walk from the parking area to the actual interview place. This may take some time especially if the parking lot is far from the hospital and you are wearing heels. At the end of the day residency coordinators usually validate your parking ticket/token, however, remember to take it to the parking clerk before leaving as you will still need the ‘paid’ version of it to leave the parking lot. Once you have received the ‘paid’ version of the ticket, you have to exit the area as soon as possible, otherwise you will have to pay for the extra time that you stayed there. There were two instances where I had to leave my car in front of the exiting barrier and walk to the clerk because my ticket was not working for these very reasons!
4) Appearance: I drove to most of my interviews and for that I always gave myself an hour’s cushion in case I got stuck in traffic. Reaching early meant that I had time to make a quick pit stop at the restroom to freshen up. It is always a good idea to take a look at yourself in the mirror before your interview, to make sure that there is nothing stuck in your teeth (or no lipstick smudge) and your hair etc. is in place. I chose to wear a black suit, therefore, I always used a lint remover after taking off my winter jacket. For more details of my interview attire, please take a look here.
5) Food: Keep in mind that breakfast is not always offered before the interview, particularly by the programs that are low on funds. Make sure to eat something before getting there (hence my point about checking if something is stuck in your teeth!). I always kept a small water bottle and snacks in my handbag (Belvita Bites are my go-to snack as they are easy to eat with minimum mess ). Lunch (if offered) is served around noon so your sugar levels are likely to drop by then. From my experience, one finds it hard to eat freely during this official lunch period. This is usually the applicants’ time with the current residents and one has to be courteous enough to not converse with your mouth full. Secondly, you might have to eat a burger/sandwich/wrap which is a feat of its own particularly when dressed in a suit. During one interview lunch, I was so engrossed in conversation that I accidentally put my arm on top of a cupcake! Needless to say, I was distracted throughout the rest of the interview day.
While preparing for the interview, applicants are usually more focused on the conversation aspect of the day (here is a detailed article to help with that). The tips given in this article will help them cover their logistical bases so that they can feel more confident and put their best foot forward on the interview day.
By FATIMA MALIK
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