What are the Most Common Residency Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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It is difficult to predict the questions a candidate will face during a residency interview. There are, however, some common questions a person may consider while preparing for his interview. Among the most common residency interview questions are those related to the reasons the candidate is interested in the program and desires a career in medicine. Interviewers may also ask candidates to share details about their strengths and weaknesses, interests beyond medicine, and methods of dealing with adversity.

One of the most common questions asked during a residency interview is "Why do you want to join this residency program?" Interviewers often ask this question to learn whether and why their residency programs are at the top of a candidate's list. Interviewers typically want to know what the candidate has learned about the residency program, what he thinks are the positives of completing his residency through the program, and why the candidate thinks he will be a good fit for the program.

Also among the most common residency interview questions are those related to strengths and weaknesses. In many cases, interviewers ask residency candidates questions designed to reveal how the candidates view themselves. Some people may see naming weaknesses as a negative, but interviewers may be interested in candidates who are capable of self-criticism and honesty about areas in which they need improvement. Likewise, interviewers are typically interested in hearing the ways in which a residency candidate excels and the qualities and attributes he considers his best.


Often, interviewers also ask residency interview questions about a candidate's reasons for becoming a doctor. While obvious reasons such as saving lives and helping people may come up, there are many ways in which an individual may help others. Interviewers may want to know why a medical career stands out as the best option for the residency candidate. The residency candidate’s answer to these types of questions may reveal his interests and passions as well as how he hopes to express them through a medical career.

Common residency interview questions also include those about a candidate’s interests and activities outside of medicine. An interviewer may ask these questions to gauge whether a candidate is well-rounded. He may also ask these questions to determine how the candidate will release stress at the end of the day, as having other interests may help a resident cope with the pressures of his training program. Additionally, an interviewer may ask a residency candidate how he deals with adversity. The answers to these questions may influence the candidate’s chances of succeeding in a residency as well as his likelihood of getting along well with other medical team members.


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