Interview thank yous

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by lillian77, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. lillian77

    lillian77 New Member

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    Is it considered inappropriate to send post-interview thank yous notes to faculty by email? I'm already exhausted by the thought of having to send hand written notes to each of the 4-6 interviewers/visit.
     
  2. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
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    Asked and answered in the general issues forum.

    I for one think it's fine, but a really traditional PD might prefer the other.

    BN
     
  3. kungfufishing

    kungfufishing Senior Member
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    Id say go with handwritten to the PD at least. Regardless of shaping someone's opinion of you, I think it is just the courteous thing to do.
     
  4. turtle md

    turtle md Hardware Included
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    Send 'em flowers too (long stem roses for rhe PD)... :laugh:
     
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  5. JkGrocerz

    JkGrocerz Member
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    i'm typing mine on plain old computer paper b/c my handwriting is horrible. anyone else go this route?
     
  6. orientedtoself

    orientedtoself resident
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    I sent email to interviewers at my home institution because it's easy and less formal and emphasizes that I'm already in the system, but I'm planning on sending letters or cards to other programs. One nice thing about sending letters is that you will have a copy of what you sent in case you forget what you wrote.
     
  7. corpsmanUP

    corpsmanUP Senior Member
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    I am only planning on sending any kind of message or follow up to program directors where I really want to go. I figure my top five likely. I just don't want to send some pre-freaking-fabricated thank you to each and every program so that they think I am interested if I really am not. I certainly will not tell them that I am NOT interested but I don't want to lead people on. In the osteopathic world of the match, there is a huge game that is played between applicants and PD's and pretty much everyone knows where they are going before match day. This is because PD's call you all the time and tell you where they are ranking you and it is customary to return the favor and be honest with them about where you plan to rank them. The rules are different though in the AOA match and it is a system less based on stats, and more based on interersonal relationships. For instance, my best friend and fellow Marine corpsman like myself, who graduated in 2005, went into radiology at an osteopathic program with stats of 50th percentile grade wise and probably 80-90th on boards. This would make it tough to land an allopathic rads spot but this guy is the master people-person. Its almost impossible to land an osteopathic specialty residency without rotating at a place, because they would rather have a good person than a Rhode's Scholar. Sorry, thats probably more than you wanted to hear though.
     
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  8. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Corpsman, you can play that way if you want, but it's generally thought of that they interview you out of courtesy and interest. A thank you letter showing your appreciation for being granted an interview is NOT a reflection of your interest in their program.

    There are some programs that do not rank interviewees that do not show the common decency to send a thank you letter to the PD and the interviewers. The interviewers spend a lot of time interviewing applicants; time for which they are not reimbursed.

    Perhaps a better reflection would be to send thank you letters to all programs that interview you, and to spice things up for those in which you are truly interested.

    However, people who do not send thank you letters allow program directors to weed out those without proper manners. Maybe it's best that I do not offer the advice to send thank you letters to everyone. By offering that advice, I could be allowing people without manners into programs for which they normally would have no chance.
     
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  9. corpsmanUP

    corpsmanUP Senior Member
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    Perhaps I was not clear in my orginal post SouthernDoc. I was saying that if I don't send a thank you letter, it is because I don't want to go to that program. I think we all need to realize that this is a two way street in the residency selection process. Its not simply a process by which we as applicants are at the mercy of some sort of gustapo. You may be right, and it may be the respectable thing to do to send a thank you for interviews that are done in a way where you actually feel welcome, and where the day is well organized. But are you forgetting that besides the time of the faculty involved, that applicants spend thousands of dollars and their own time to go visit places that they may choose to spend the next 3 years of their lives. I am simly not a BS'er, and I am not going to lead someone on so that they may end up ranking me only because I sent some "canned" letter. Due to inexperience, I will agree with you and say that I probably will send letters to programs where I feel welcomed even if I choose not to go there. But if a program excludes someone from their rank list over a "Christmas card", then that to me is a tad bit overboard. I can understand not ranking them in their top candidates, but to exclude them is not something that I would do. I mean if you receive a Hallmark from each applicant, who do you really believe wants to come to your program? Sure, you can spruce up the ones you really like I suppose, but that to me is not being upfront. I think we can all say we have endured the painful interview where the person interviewing us has just received our 1/2" thick CV and life story only to have them start out the interview with the dreaded "Well, tell me about yourself" question. I swore on Chesty Puller's grave that I would never again just answer that question with some sort of forced summary as they quickly glance through my packet page by page. The way I see it, I didn't fly 1800 miles and spend $600.00 to sit in a room with someone who didn't take at least a few minutes to learn who I am. To me that violates your "manners" reasoning SouthernDoc, and it is not deserving of some "happy smiley card".

    I had two interviews last week and on each interview I had a total of 3-4 faculty physicians interview me. At one place, the PD told me they had read my entire packet cover to cover, even commenting on such. And their questions and statements proved this to me. At the other place, the one thing that I did not find real welcoming was that one of the faculty had not read my packet...it was obvious. I swam through the typical textbook interview questions, and one of my answers led them to ask me if I had ever been in the military. They could have at least looked down and glanced at the packet before asking such, because on virtually any page of my CV and PS there is tremendous evidence of this answer. Its my whole past life for God's sake. And I was absolutely honest on the critique form they gave me at the end of the day because I wanted them to know how that made me feel. I still found the program to be a strong program and a place I would not mind ending up, so I sent 3 of 4 physicians a nice reply thanking them for their interview. But I wasn't going to thank the other person for making me feel like a number only for them to continue doing this to other people.

    Now granted, programs experience changes in faculty interviewers from day to day and sometimes a person who is supposed to read your packet is not the one who ends up interviewing you. I realize this happens, but I am not going to encourage the practice by thanking them for it. I mean in this situation as an applicant you are seriously put at a disadvantage because this person is unlikely to be much of an advocate for you at rank time because they don't even know who you are at interview time. How much do you think they will remember you 2 months later? Sure, manners are important (come on, I'm an ex-military Texan for crying out loud ;) )...I think we all know they do. To me though there is nothing wrong with being honest. Trust me, not sending a "happy card" is a lot better than saying what I would like to say in a situation like this! And what do you think it says about you if you do send some superficial gracias to a person who probably realizes they short changed you? If I as a faculty member screwed someone's interview up by not being prepared, I would either apologize upfront and tell them that I planned to read it later, or contact them to tell them that I was impressed by what I later read. I realize that this field is more of a seller's market than a buyer's market, but its not so far unbalanced that it warrants applicants having to give up all integrity to land a position.

    Just my $.02
     
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  10. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    This is why a lot of programs send thank you letters to individuals who interview. Some programs not only do that, but also call residents to thank them for the interview.

    I think a simple thank you letter is better than some store bought thank you card.
     
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  11. corpsmanUP

    corpsmanUP Senior Member
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    The "Hallmark" bit was where I was being facetious ;)
    I definitely understand where you are coming from. I just know that when I am in the reverse role and am interviewing someone, I am going to care less if someone spends $.75 to send me a thank you note. You know there have to be PD's and faculty all over the place that endure painfully bad interviews only to get some card a few weeks later thanking them immensely for it. And you know they must ask themselves routinely, "Was this the same interview I took part in?". I just think it skews things to thank everyone, just as I would not expect a program to send me a thank you or an email, or anything else if they felt I was too weak for their program. If everyone was honest, wouldn't it just be easier for everyone? I mean as a PD, I would not want to to 120 interviews and then read 120 thank you cards that say virtually the same thing. I realize that you say that you should spruce up the ones you really liked, but don't kid yourselves, I am sure there are people out there who write the same "spruced up" thank you for every interview they go on. And this just misleads programs and renders the thank you letter less than useful in the end. Its ashame that the thank you had degraded to such an expected item in the applicant process that without it you could potentially not be ranked. Perhaps they should just make it a part of ERAS and make your file incomplete for the match unless you have sent them to all places you interviewed. :) But seriously SouthernDoc, I will trust your judgement on this and agree that you obviously know about this first hand. I guess its just a part of the process I won't understand until I make it to the next level. I'll reserve further opinions on this matter until that time! ;)
     
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  12. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt
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    I second Southerndoc's sentiments.

    You have to understand the the world of EM is very small, most PDs know each other very well, and yes, I can remember applicants from the previous year or two that I considered rude. No, the wheeling and dealing that some applicants are paranoid about is not an issue, but if you think that PDs don't talk to each other and say things like "Did you interview X? Seems like kind a a prick, huh?" or "This guy didn't show up for his interview and didn't even call." you are being extremely naive. It's courteous to send a thank you letter, regardless of your interest in the program. I don't think it matters if it's handwritten, an interpretive dance, or an email, but show some professionalism.

    Like it or not, some people take it personally when you don't have the decency to thank them, be it a job interview, or scarfing down their food at their wedding.

    The forum has these threads each year, which are about as useful as "Should I shower before the interview?"


    mike
     
  13. bulgethetwine

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    Seems pretty simple to me, guys.

    If you really liked a place you interviewed at, send them a thank you note or card or e-mail or whatever. I mean, why take chances if that particular PD has a quirk that they "must have" a thank you in order to rank you? I mean, yeah, it's tempting to say "Well, if that PD absolutely HAS to have a thank you, then I think he/she is an anal retentive F*^%Stick, and I don't want to work for them..." but the reality is no PD is perfect, each and every one of them has SOME FLAW, and if this is their idiosyncracy, well, I can think of a lot worse things.

    On the other hand, if you didn't really particularly care for one place or the other that you interviewed at, then DON'T SEND A THANK YOU if you don't want to. True -- if you don't show for an interview without calling, are blatantly rude, etc. yes, there is a chance that that will bite you on the ass someday. But if you think a PD is going to pick up the phone or even mention in passing to another PD that they didn't get a thank you note from some person who interviewed, Jesus, how much time do you think a PD has to contemplate the nuances of a day?

    Of course, if you are concerned that you might not match at one of your top choices, then you better send a thank you even to the second group, I guess.

    Of course, that means everyone trying to match this year probably will send everyone a 'thank you' now, given that everyone, EVERY YEAR (me included) ends up doubting themselves :laugh:

    Seriously. Send a thank you to your top tier programs... maybe that's 3 for you, for me it was 6, for others it will be 10. And if you send an extra one, or one of them gets lost in the mail, don't sweat it. Do you seriously think that 4 years of diligent work, thousands of dollars on ERAS, travel costs, etc., time spent doing applications, personal statements, and all the other ancillary tasks that all culminate in a match in March can be undone by sending/not sending a thank you card for Christ sake???

    Relax. Breathe. Perspective. Be nice on interview day. And Enjoy yourself! PDs want happy residents....

    Best of luck. I hope this isn't condescending, I just know that this dose of advice stood me well last year and turned me from an anxious hilaelia (Caution: West Wing reference!) into a much calmer, focused, uh... caffeine junkie.
     
  14. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Maybe the nicest PD's also think thank you letters are necessary because that's what he/she would do.
     
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  15. corpsmanUP

    corpsmanUP Senior Member
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    My guess is that the nicest program directors will receive lots of thank you notes because they probably went out of their way to make an applicant feel welcomed. I also bet they actually read the entire packet and showed during the interview that they cared what the applicant had accomplished. So for PD's like this I see no issue. The debate from my end has been about whether or not to send a thank you to a place or person you really didn't find "a fit" for you. But I am inclined to trust those on this forum who have come before me because they obviously know a thing or two. Now, lets move on to another pointless discussion. How about we talk about the suits we are all wearing? Perfect then, voy a empezarle ahora!! For you gringos out there, I am off to start it now ;)
     
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  16. la gringa

    la gringa Senior Member
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    suck it up, spend 30 min and a few bucks in cards and stamps and just send thank you cards, it's a pretty darn easy thing to do w/ potentially bad consequences. it's just the beginning of the paperwork and the sucking it up!!!
     

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