After the Interview
- As soon as possible after the interview, write down your impressions and update your checklist.
- When you get home, send a thank you note to recognize their hospitality and to reaffirm your interest in the program.
- In reviewing your notes, you may discover several vital questions that you did not have the opportunity to ask during the interview. It is perfectly acceptable to call back for more information, particularly if one of your interviewers — frequently a resident — has invited you to contact him or her for more information.
Some programs will offer you the opportunity for a “second look.” Take advantage of the invitations if you think a second look would help. In some cases, programs will interpret your interest in a second look as an indication of your enthusiasm for the program. In other cases, a program may discourage second looks and interpret it as an insult if you request one. Try to get some insight into this issue when you talk to the residents in the program.
The Next Step
After you have completed your interviews, the lion’s share of your work is done. Your only remaining task is to assess the information you have collected and use it to establish your rank order list. You may decide, after completing your scheduled interviews, that you still haven’t found what you wanted and think that you’d better look at some more programs. Don’t be too frustrated if you feel you have to do this. It’s better to put in a little extra legwork now than to have lingering doubts later.
Take time to decide how to rank the programs you visited. You may want to put your notes aside for a while to give yourself some time to air your thoughts. Talk through your reasoning with advisors, friends, and family, but remember that the final decision is yours. The next section will help you understand how the Match® works so that you can make sure your decisions are accurately reflected on your rank order list.
Most medical students strive to remain professional during and after the residency interview process, but many struggle with deciphering the rules for post-match communication versus the standard etiquette associated with interviews. Knowing the NRMP® rules and developing your own standards will help build your skills in professionalism.
The NRMP and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies developed a tip sheet for the residency match, available at www.nrmp.org/match-process/tips-and-reminders/(www.nrmp.org).
- Be aware of your social media "footprint." Adjust your behavior or privacy settings as needed during interview season.
- Develop your own process for interview follow-up and be consistent.
- Be authentic in your communication, whether it is email, handwritten notes, or a phone call. Personalize your message and build on the conversation you had in the interview.
- Complete all materials in ERAS® and the NRMP, and have current contact information available including address, phone, and email.
- Understand that second visits can be made at your discretion and should not have a bearing on the programs’ rank list.
- Realize that program directors and residency faculty are required NOT to solicit post-interview communication from applicants.
- Be careful about sharing your rank list with others including classmates, residents, medical school and residency faculty. You never know which residency program you will end up matching to.
- Misinterpret post-interview follow-up from programs as a commitment from them. Determine your rank list based on your preferences.
- Send multiple generic emails to the same program director or residency faculty. Make follow-up contact personal, and ask direct questions about the program.
- Go back for a second visit unless you are invited. Residency programs are not prepared for uninvited guests.
- Post positive or negative comments on your Facebook or Twitter accounts regarding your interviews.
Strolling Through the Match
This publication was developed to help you make appropriate decisions about your professional career and to learn more about the process of getting post-graduate training.
Download the document(80 page PDF) or order a free copy through the AAFP catalog.