1) Prior to the interview, don't be afraid to schedule dates that maximize your travel plans. It is professional and expected that you do so. Once you agree to a date, however, make sure that a tour of the facility and an opportunity to speak to the current trainees is included. If not, arrange that separately.
2) Dress neatly and professionally. Grooming and demeanor count. It is better to be on the conservative side until you know more about the environment you are entering. Be pleasant and polite to EVERYONE. You are being judged every moment that you are there. Hold the door for people. Dispose of your trash properly, etc.
3) If you are late, apologize and explain honestly what detained you. Consider rescheduling but go through with the interview if at all possible. Even if you are late, take the extra time to compose yourself. Don't rush in and start screaming at the first person that is not able to instantly direct you to where you are supposed to be. You never know when you might be screaming at the program director's secretary
4) Appear EXCITED and INTERESTED. It doesn't matter that you just flew in on the "red eye" and you are completely sleep-deprived. When asked about a hot topic or a controversial case, think, then smile knowingly, and then slowly begin to answer as best you can. Your goal is to make the interviewer think that you have already thought about this issue in depth and you are now going to teach him or her. When relating the history of your interesting case, don't be shy. Get excited; use vivid descriptions of what else was going on at the time. "We were on call that night. It was bitter cold out. The hospital was dead quiet when suddenly everyone was called to the emergency department because of a bombing ..."
5) Prepare at least 2 interesting cases that you can discuss at length. Specific details about age, etc. are not as important as the principles that the case illustrates. Take care to prepare cases in different subspecialties. NEVER volunteer to discuss a case in a particular sub-specialty with a faculty member in that sub-specialty. Unless this is a fellowship interview then just be sure you know what you are talking about.
6) Be ready to ASK QUESTIONS. Be as challenging (but not confrontational) as you feel comfortable being. Show that you are observant by asking about something that came up during the interview day (perhaps in conference or in rounds). The curriculum, faculty, board passing rate, post training opportunities, unique features and future plans are all good questions and show your interest in the program. The worst thing you can say is, "No, I have no questions." This translates to "No, I have no interest."
7) Research the program as much as possible. Conduct a literature search of the faculty's recent publications to get a sense of the kind of work that goes on there. Will there be a conference for you to attend on the day of your interview? If so, read up on the topic of the day so that you can ask intelligent questions. Will there be a journal club for you to attend? If possible make sure you've read the article in advance plus any accompanying editorial.
8) Inappropriate questions for the "Do you have any questions?" part of the interview include: "How much vacation do we get?", "What's the on-call frequency?", and What are the moonlighting opportunities? These are all selfish questions. Have some faith that the program conforms to work hours regulations. On the other hand it is not unreasonable to ask about family leave policies and other benefits. You can always ask a current fellow about perks and work rules later when you are alone or better yet call one at home after getting their permission to do so.
9) If you have a heavy accent, speak slowly and clearly. You may want to practice in front of a mirror or with friends that are NOT from your country.
10) check out a national newspaper for the couple of days leading up to your interview. Be aware about any late-breaking news about health care or medical science.
11) If your special talent is something unusual, do you have something with you that will leave a lasting impression, Pictures, manuscripts original art? A physical object goes a long way toward planting a memory in the program director's mind. Interesting people make better fellows. Use what you have.
12) Try and get a sense of where the program is in the recruitment process. How many will they take? How may have already been hired? How many more will they interview?
13) Get directions to where you are going well in advance. If possible become familiar with the directions to the hospital the night before. Leave extra time to get there.
14) Try and debrief someone you know that was already at the place you are going. Find out what they asked, what else happened. Whatever you can.
15) PRACTICE being interviewed. Participate in mock interviews; go for interviews in places you don't want to go to just for the practice.