Improving medical students

Interview Pitfalls and Match Etiquette

Posted by medliorator on November 12, 2009

The Academic Job Interview

Jessica Freedman, MD:

Interviewers often casually ask applicants during interviews, “So, where else did you apply?” or suggest, “If you are really interested in matching here, please be sure to let us know.” Other programs routinely call applicants who are within “matching range” to recruit them after they interview. Does this constitute persuasion or pressure?

[Applicants] often feel obligated to tell a program what it wants to hear by saying, “I loved your program and I will be ranking you really highly.” Or, applicants may feel pressured to tell a program that they will be ranking it #1, even if that’s a white lie. Sometimes applicants are so nervous about matching that institutions’ recruitment efforts may influence the way they rank programs.

how should applicants deal with these situations? If you receive a residency match “love letter,” take its sincerity and truthfulness with a grain of salt. You certainly will want to respond graciously, but do not say you are ranking the program first if that is not your intention. As for fielding questions or comments that may violate the MPA, I suggest being diplomatic and somewhat vague without confronting or offending your interviewer. For example, if the interviewer asks where else you are applying or interviewing, it is acceptable to answer, “I am applying to and interviewing at a variety of programs, mostly on the West Coast” or whatever situation applies to you. If pressured to express specific interest in a program, it is fair to say, “I am very interested in this program and have not yet decided on my final rank order, but I will be ranking your program highly.” As with the “love letter,” do not tell a program that you will be ranking it first if this is not true.

Residency Match: Avoid Getting Burned [Medscape]

Correlate: The Best Predictors of Match Success

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