Background: The process by which medical residents apply for subspecialty fellowship is a rigorous one that often involves multiple interviews per day. Data regarding the preparedness of residents who go through the interview process is limited. Furthermore, applicants receive little to no feedback after their interviews and are thus likely to repeat the same mistakes throughout the process. Verbal feedback from our own fellowship directors indicated that residents as a whole are unprepared to interview.

Purpose: We aimed to better prepare the residents of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Hofstra/Northwell who were applying for subspecialty fellowship in 2017.

Description: Our program developed a formal preparation course for the applicants in the summer of 2017. The course began with a didactic session that addressed multiple aspects of the interview day, including pre-interview preparation, proper interview etiquette, different types of interviews, potential questions, and post-interview correspondence. Following this, the applicants all participated in mock interviews. The mock interviews involved a faculty member, posing as a fellowship director, interviewing the candidate with pre-formulated questions. Additionally, there was a second faculty member observing the interaction through a two-may mirror. Following the mock interview, the applicant was debriefed by the interviewer and observer, at which time they were made aware of the things they did well during the interview and those things at which they need to improve.
Seventeen residents took the course. Pre-course surveys showed that only 17.65% of residents felt prepared to go on interviews. Post-course surveys showed a rise in this number to 82.35%. Additionally, a separate survey was given to applicants, interviewers, and observers immediately after their mock interview to assess each party’s perception of overall interview skills Only 27.78% of residents rated their overall interview skills as “very good” or “excellent,” whereas 87.5% of interviewers and 70.59% of observers rated their skills to be “very good” or “excellent.” Once the applicants have completed all of their actual interviews, a final survey will be given to the applicants and the fellowship program directors at Hofstra/Northwell to rate their overall interview skills.

Conclusions: We hope that creating a structured fellowship interview course will help applicants to feel more prepared and perform better during their fellowship interviews. Additionally, we anticipate that Hofstra/Northwell fellowship program directors will perceive the majority of applicants who took the course as having very good or excellent overall interview skills.