Insider Tips for Plastic Surgery Residency Interviews

by Sammy Sinno, MD, Rajendra Sawh-Martinez, MD, & Amanda Silva, MD

“Your CV gets you the interview. Your interview gets you the spot.”

For many of us, the plastic surgery interview process was the first time we were interviewing for an actual job. Interviewing with some of the most competitive medical students in the country in an environment where there are far more applicants than positions available, it is critical to perform at your best during the interview. To get an interview, applicants have the grades, test scores, CV, and letters to attract a program’s interest; it is often the interview that distinguishes applicants in the eyes of the faculty.

This year medical students who attended the Medical Student’s Day Program at Plastic Surgery The Meeting had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a panel moderated by Dr. Jacob Unger where Drs. Rod Rohrich and Eduardo Rodriguez offered sage advice for the interview process (Figure 1). This panel is an unbelievable opportunity to hear practical, honest, and insightful tips from two of the most well-known, accomplished, and innovative academic plastic surgeons representing two of the largest programs in the country. As we sat in the back of the room listening to the session, we couldn’t help feel a little envious of the opportunity today’s medical students have listening to these two giants divulge their insider tips.

Luckily, for those who are interviewing in the coming months and were unable to make it Boston in October, Drs. Rohrich, Rodriguez, and Unger have documented their advice for everyone’s benefit in a MUST read published ahead of print article in the Journal this month(1). In “How to put your best self forward in plastic surgery residency interviews”, the authors detail 25 crucial pieces of advice that any applicant should know prior to walking through the interview door. From your posture to your “soundbite”, this article reviews the qualities that will make you shine during this nerve-wracking process. We certainly wish we had such a “cheat sheet” when we were applying 5 years ago.

This article will stand-alone for years as the “go to” reference for applicants prior to their residency interviews. We recommend applicants review this manuscript and put in the work: practice your “soundbite”, review your CV and personal statement, study the program and faculty where you are interviewing, and do not make any of the mistakes warned against in the article. I know as we apply for fellowships and jobs that we will definitely keep this list close.

To this year’s applicants, we wish you the best of luck and sincerely cannot wait to meet you.  Throughout this insanely competitive process, keep in mind that in addition to putting your best foot forward, you are also interviewing programs to determine the best fit.  Prepare diligently for this crucial time, but try to enjoy it as you will meet amazing people who will be mentors, colleagues, and friends for the rest of your careers.

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Figure 1:
Drs. Rohrich and Rodriguez explain to medical students key interview strategies at Medical Student’s Day at Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2015 in Boston.

References:
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1. Rohrich RJ, Rodriguez ED, Unger JG. How to put your best self forward in plastic surgery residency interviews. Plast Reconst Surg. Dec 2015. Epub ahead of print.

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