How To Answer Common Medical Fellowship Interview Questions

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Applying to a fellowship is a great way to further specialize in your chosen field of medicine and can look great on a CV. 

The impact and weight of your CV will also instantly increase if you get accepted to a highly recognized fellowship-granting institution.

A fellowship can also get you some invaluable experience and set you up for success on your journey to becoming an attending physician

What is better is you get paid a good salary as a fellow compared to the measly wages of an intern or a new resident.

With so many benefits at stake, it becomes clear that your fellowship interview will be pivotal in your journey to becoming a specialist.

Personal Questions

Like any other ordinary interview, your fellowship interview is also likely to start with some personal questions. 

The first one probably being the dreaded “So tell me about yourself” introductory question.

The only reason that this is dreaded is because of how open-ended and vague it is. There is no real boundary between how much and what you should say so it often leads to candidates not saying enough or saying too much.

An acceptable way to answer this question is to address your past, present, and future with a personal anecdote/hobby mixed in. 

For instance, you should talk about how you were an intern, how you are finishing your residency right now, and how you want to specialize in a field through this fellowship in the future. Then you can mention something along the lines of how you like to volunteer at a local clinic in your free time.

This allows you to address plenty of your experiences while simultaneously showing how you are a well-rounded person who is serious about this interview. 

Answering in this way can increase interest in your candidature as follow-up questions are likely to come.

Professional Questions

Several questions asked will revolve around two main themes which are “Why should we choose you?” and “Why are you choosing us?”.

Institutions get thousands of applicants so you need to make it clear that you are the best for the job. 

Additionally, institutions are looking to find out why you are interested in them and how well you align with the values they uphold.

Good research on the institution will be your best friend when it comes to answering these questions. You should also attempt to answer these with any supplemental materials you have to provide for the application such as a personal statement or medical CV.

However, you should focus more on researching the institution’s values and principles that will help you ace the interview. 

General Tips

Apart from these questions, there are some general things that you should keep in mind before appearing for your interview.

You have to study your CV and make sure that you can answer any questions related to your work experience so far. Interviewers want to know how you can contribute to upholding their prestigious standards and the work experience you have will only add to that.

You should also try and have a couple of stories ready for any behavioral questions you might get asked. For example, an interviewer’s favorite is “So tell us about a time you made a mistake while handling a medical emergency”. 

This type of question attempts to gauge your problem-solving skills and your ability to deal with failure. 

Stress the lesson you learned from making that mistake and how it impacted your decision-making process.


Finally, try to think of this interview just like you would a regular job interview. Prepare as much as you can and answer with confidence.

If you encounter a question that you were not prepared for, let your medical training take control and apply common sense to figure out a solution. Good luck!