With social distance requirements being put in place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, residency programs across the country are turning to video interviews for their recruitment this year. While the questions and conversations are bound to be similar, there are some major differences between interviewing in-person versus behind a digital screen. We’ve put together six tips to help you excel in your residency video interview and put your best face forward, even from hundreds (or thousands) of miles away.

Research the Program and Structure of the Video Interview

This should go without saying, but make sure you’ve researched the program by checking out their website as well as their reviews, ratings, and stats on Residency Navigator so you can come to the interview informed. This will also allow you to ask thoughtful questions so you can demonstrate that you’ve given some thought to the characteristics and qualities of the program you’re interviewing with.

You should also confirm the details of the structure of the video interview. Make sure to find out which video interview platform the program uses, the length of the interview, and how many people you’ll be interviewing with. By performing some simple due diligence, you’ll avoid experiencing any unnecessary or unpleasant surprises on your big day.

Test the Technology Beforehand

At least a day before your virtual interview, test your microphone and webcam to ensure they work and can be used to communicate effectively. That means having a functional computer that meets technical specifications, downloading any necessary software required for the software to run, and ensuring the connection is strong enough to sustain streaming video. While Wi-Fi is certainly convenient, it can occasionally lead to shaky connections. If available, try to use a hard-wired connection by plugging into your network via an ethernet cable.

Finally, perform a quick check of your audio settings to make sure everything is set correctly. While every video interview software has slightly different settings, most will default to “built-in audio,” which refers to the speakers and microphone on your computer. If you plan on using headphones, make sure to set your options to headphone audio and microphone prior to the interview.

Design Your “Set”

Organize your backdrop and surroundings to make sure there’s nothing distracting or would draw the viewers away from you. After all, you’re the star of your video interview, not last week’s pile of laundry! Feel free to add one or two tasteful decor components in the background - such as a painting or organized bookshelf - to inject character into the interview setting.

A critical component of any set is lighting. Make sure that your source of light is in front of you rather than behind you to avoid casting a shadow and getting silhouetted. Sitting in front of a well-lit window with natural lighting works best, but if you’re in a darker room, a lamp will also allow you to put your best face forward.

Set Up Your Camera for Optimal Eye Contact

Just like you wouldn’t sit three inches in front of your interview in a face-to-face interview, you don’t want to sit at an uncomfortable distance in front of your computer. Bringing the camera too close to your face will distort your face. To be well proportioned and frame your face properly, make sure there’s some empty space on the screen above your head and make sure your shoulders and upper chest are visible. Prop your laptop camera at eye level so you look relaxed and composed.

Dress For Success

In your video interview, dress just as formally as you would in an in-person interview. Doing so will communicate a sense of poise and professionalism, and will make you feel more prepared and confident. Remember that you are interviewing to be a doctor, so look the part! This is not the time to be trendy or wear avante garde attire fresh off the runways of New York Fashion Week. Avoid any loud or busy patterns. For men, a navy blue or dark grey suit with a nice button up shirt and sensible tie is standard. For women, a pantsuit or skirt suit with a button up shirt or blouse is considered appropriate. Make sure your clothing is appropriately tailored - a baggy suit communicates a lack of preparation.

Interview Season is Fast Approaching

In less than two months, residency interview season begins. Get a jumpstart on interview preparation by using Doximity’s Residency Navigator, now on mobile, to get in-depth insights from current residents and alumni at over 4,000 programs across 28 specialties.

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