Tip of the week: Manage a successful interview season

Residency Program Insider, November 2, 2010

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Make your interview day a success with the following tips:

Bring in food. It’s nice to give residents and candidates some time to spend together, and many programs ask residents to take candidates out to lunch or dinner. This is a nice touch, but it may not worth the headaches. Reimbursing residents for the meals is no picnic. Not to mention if lunch goes too long, it can throw off the entire day’s schedule.

Instead of residents and candidates going out to lunch, bring the food to them. Ordering in can present challenges too, such as missing food items or late deliveries. Therefore, lean on your fellow coordinators to find out which restaurants are reliable, give the most food for the buck, and have the fastest delivery service.

Get your pom-poms out. Faculty members may not always share your enthusiasm for the interview season, so it’s up to you to be the cheerleader and get them excited.

If you don’t rally the troops, the candidates will definitely sense apathy and could rank the program lower. The following are several things you can do to pump up the faculty:

  • Put up a bulletin board or poster with all the big dates, such as the start date of interviews, rank order meetings, and Match Day.
  • Send an e-mail letting everyone know you have your first applicant. Make it a game by having faculty members guess what medical school the applicant attends. Provide clues about where it might be.
  • If you know a faculty member graduated from a particular school, send an e-mail letting him or her know the number of candidates you’re interviewing from that school.
  • Make as many cuts early on as possible. Interviewing can be overwhelming, especially if you conduct several interview days per week.
  • Make the workload more manageable by moving up the application due date, interviewing fewer candidates, and strengthening requirements.

Have an arsenal of e-mails ready. Coordinators are on the front line of communication with applicants: answering questions, scheduling interviews, and providing information.

Drafting e-mail templates that you can send to many candidates at once or fill in information specific to the candidate saves a lot of time.

Additionally, because most applicants have the same questions, create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list. Anytime you receive an inquiry, no matter what it is, send the FAQ to the questioner. Candidates might get more information than they want, but it is a huge time-saver.


This week’s tips are from Residency Program Alert.

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