Recruiting for Your Residency Program

Helping to recruit your program’s next class of residents can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, a recruitment season packed with interviews, dinners, residency fairs, and one-on-one student mentoring during your own rotations can take its toll. You might even question whether the time and energy you are expending is worth it. While your primary goal is the selection of an excellent class of residents whom you will supervise, it’s important to remember that you are also developing your skills as a recruiter during this process.

Just as you are now assessing future residents, you will one day be assessing future partners and staff in order to find that perfect “fit” in your first practice setting. In fact, it’s likely that you will draw on some of the skills you are currently honing – good interviewing techniques, identifying common interests and values, making a personal connection, and evaluating the competency of future colleagues -- as you search for a post-residency practice. And looking a few years down the road, consider that you will employ these skills time and time again as you recruit new practice partners and staff over the life of your career.

Your engagement in the interviewing and hiring process has much to teach.  Consider the following tips:

  • Pay attention to the logistics and legalities of the process.
  • Learn to develop interview questions that get to the heart of the values that are important to you. 
  • Find the setting that best allows you to make that personal connection, whether it’s a formal interview or a group outing or sporting event. 
  • Relationship building is key to good recruitment in residency and in the future. Follow through with communication – thank you letters, confirmations, and answers to questions.

Stan Kozakowski, MD

After a time in private practice, Dr. Kozakowski spent a total of 24 years at the Hunterdon Family Medicine Residency Program in Flemington, New Jersey. He served as faculty and associate director, then as program director for his last 15 years there. He came to the AAFP in 2011 as Director of the Medical Education Division.