Residency Interview Trail 2012-2013

Interviews are stressful – only one day to impress those around you. It seems that almost anything can matter, from the color of your suit to how much you smile. Thinking about it almost stresses me in itself… That said, I think that interviews can also be somewhat enjoyable. Or bearable, at the very least. Since I plan on attending many interviews this season, I though it would do a little documentation of the experiences. The typical events for residency interviews includes a casual dinner the night before and a formal interview day lasting from about 7am to the afternoon. My first two interviews were in Wisconsin.

These are the things I’ve thought of so far that have served me well:

In my luggage – packing for the interview can be stressful in itself. I find that making a list helps calm my nerves. Here are the things that I pack my interviews:

  •  Toiletry essentials aka: my entire bathroom. I pack my normal makeup, skincare and haircare regimen (and tools), and the essential toothbrush, toothpaste, floss & deodorant. I don’t use different “travel products,” rather I attempt to get travel sizes of my regular products I use (or use travel containers for shampoo/ conditioner, etc). The last thing I need would be a rash or frizzy hair or something.
  • Healthy snacks. There are a few reasons for this. For one, I never know what food will be available where I am. Instead of having to grab junk food (and consequently putting on 10 pounds over the course of interview season), I grab that granola bar and water instead. Also, the combination of sleep deprivation (from late dinners & early interviews) and the anxiety (about getting to where I need to be on time in a new city) results in me likely skipping breakfast. I like to get to where I’m going early so I can try to relax and munch on a little something. The mornings seem much, much longer if you haven’t had any breakfast at all. Believe me.
  • The obvious. Any by this I mean the interview day apparel. I personally put my pants, jacket, blouse and undergarments into one “line” and roll them up. This is the best way I’ve found to keep things together and as wrinkle-free as possible. I put my shoes in a bag next to it all. Importantly, make sure you can walk all day in those shoes!! I find these super comfy for all day wear.
  • Travel clothes/ dinner clothes. Depending how long my trip is, I’ll either wear comfy clothes or the actual clothes I’ll wear to the dinner. Either way, the other clothes and shoes need to be packed. I always put on my necklace, watch and ring that I plan on wearing to the interview.

In my purse – A lint roller – black, linty suit? No thanks. Bobby pins – you never know when your hair will hate the climate you’re interviewing in… best to have a backup plan. Nude lip balm – because I tend to lick my lips when I’m nervous, and dry, cracked lips are quite distracting. A little powder for touch-ups – I rarely use it, but I feel safer with it there. Paper directions/ ticket/ hotel info – I just don’t trust technology. Phone + charger/ keys/ wallet – essentials. Eye drops – get rid of those red eyes… seriously, it makes a difference (don’t forget contact stuff/ glasses if you need it!). Medications (Rx and OTC) – I’m excellent at forgetting these.
Getting there – I try to have as many details as possible before I leave.  I attempt to plan my flights so I can arrive as early as possible (and rent a car, find the bus or grab a taxi). If I’m driving, I leave early and have both my car and phone GPS pre-set, just in case. After I find the hotel I can relax a little bit. But for the interview day I make sure to have:

  • Address of parking/ building
  • Walking directions from parking/ drop-off point (really, really helps to look at a map beforehand!!)
  • Phone number of a contact person. Again, just in case

I think its important to look put together from the time you step in the interview building until the time you leave. Here’s my interview look for my first two interviews:

// Coat: Burberry (drooling over this one) // Suit Pants: The Limited (I’m wearing a 0S) // Suit Coat: The Limited (I’m wearing a 0) // Shoes: Ann Taylor (tts) // Scarf: No Brand, from eBay (search plaid cashmere scarves) // Purse: Tod’s (best business bag!!) //
My suit is definitely quite wrinkled after a full day of wear. I’m in the process of finding another nearly-properly-fitting suit. Its a process. And not a fun one!