• After Your Residency Interview: 5 Things You Need to Do

    You did it! You made it through your residency interview. Now, here are 5 tips to help you Match.

    Many students struggle to navigate their communication with residency programs after an interview. Keep your approach professional and authentic, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the National Residency Matching Program communication code of conduct.

    Here are five tips that will not only help you set yourself apart but will also support you in making the best decisions about training after medical school.

    #1: Write down your impressions immediately after the interview.

    • Update your checklists and notes right away. Develop your own process for interview follow-up and be consistent. What was great? What was not-so-great? What stood out?
    • Complete all materials in ERAS® and the NRMP, and have current contact information available including address, phone, and email.
    • Be careful about sharing your rank list with others including classmates, residents, medical school faculty, and residency faculty. You never know which residency program you will end up matching to. 

    • The thank you note debate. Consider sending a thank you note only if it is authentic to you. Many residency programs are overwhelmed with thank you notes, and students should not feel obligated to send one because it will not impact your chances of ranking highly with the program. If you do send a thank you note, be sure to send it shortly after the interview and make it personalized to your interview. Using AI to write a follow up can be generic, and ultimately could do more harm than good. Don't misinterpret post-interview follow-up from programs as a commitment from them. Determine your rank list based on your preferences.

    #2: Ask any overlooked questions during your visit.

    • 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 them for more information.
    • Don't send multiple generic emails to the same program director or residency faculty. Make follow-up contact personal and ask direct questions about the program.
    • Be aware that program directors and residency faculty are required NOT to solicit post-interview communication from applicants for the purpose of influencing applicants’ ranking preferences.

    #3: Take a second look -- if you're invited, and if it will help.

    • 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.
    • 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. Try to get some insight into this issue when you talk to the residents in the program. Many programs offer second looks only after the program rank list submission deadline to avoid being influenced by who decides to attend a second look. 
    • Only make a second visit if you're invited. Residency programs are not prepared for univited guests.

    #4: Be professional.

    • 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. 
    • Be aware of your social media footprint. Adjust your behavior or privacy settings as needed during interview season.
    • Do not post positive or negative comments on social media accounts regarding your interviews. 

    #5: Learn and celebrate!

    • If you have additional interviews scheduled, be sure to note areas where you felt you did well in the interview as well as areas that you need to work on. Be sure to reach out for help from faculty and fellow students if you need to practice in a particular area.
    • This is a key milestone in your medical career! Take some time to celebrate this big step on your path to becoming a family physician. There is big community - who also went through this process - rooting for you!

    Assessing and Ranking Residency Programs

    After you've completed your interviews, your next 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 need 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. Use the tools in Strolling through the Match to help organize your priorities.

    AAFP app


    Download the AAFP App: Find and Rank Residency Programs

    Organize your residency search by using the app to research programs, create a customized scorecard to rank residencies on what matters most to you, track your application process, and more. Download the app and visit the "For Students" section.