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Late Interview Offers - Any bias?

eyecare2009

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Sep 30, 2008
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I have received an interview at one of my top choices - but it was after the initial invites were sent out. Is there any bias with regards to selection/matching or is everyone pretty much on a level playing field once they have an interview?
 

echinoderm

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i would say everyone's on the same playing field.. but i'm guessing that places rank everyone before interviews (as we rank them in our minds before going to the interview), and then based on the interview some ppl move up, down, or stay the same. i would take the offer if it's a "top choice" and the dates work out without much sacrifice.

looks like there hasn't been much movement for anyone for the last week or so... is this the end of a majority of the invites? shoudl we take what we have and run?
 

eyecare2009

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Hmmmmm. Well I would have to drop a "good" or fairly reasonable interview to take this one, so I'm not sure what exactly would be the best strategically for me...

Things have slowed down it seems, but I would bet that there will still be some last minute switching. If there is a program you really want to go to, I would let them know you'd be willing to take a last minute cancellation.
 
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guttata

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I have received an interview at one of my top choices - but it was after the initial invites were sent out. Is there any bias with regards to selection/matching or is everyone pretty much on a level playing field once they have an interview?

I have some knowledge about the selection process (at one program). I'd go to your top choice interview. Honestly, there are more qualified candidates than interview spots. Programs just go down the list as candidates cancel interviews.

As long as you are not an outlier (grades/scores), you are pretty much on a equal playing field during interviews. Some MD/PHDS with 10 publications or Olympians may create some pre-interview bias. But, numbers/grades/recs tend to blur when you interview 10-30 students a day. Therefore, much of my ranking was based on the interviews - grades/letters/numbers were used as a tie breaker.

What I looked for:
1. Will this person complete the program? Do they have a true desire to pursue this field?

2. Will this person work well with the faculty? Can I work with this person for three years? Would it be enjoyable?

3. Does this person fit in with the culture of the program?

4. Is he/she a team player? How would they work with their peers/fellow residents?

5. What makes this person unique? Something besides medicine. Hobbies, etc.

A great interview can change your ranking tremendously. Likewise, a poor interview will sink you. No brainer, right? But, I think some candidates underestimate the importance of the interview. You can have a 260, AOA, 8 pubs, honors in all your classes, but if you present yourself poorly, you are done.

The 10-15 minute interview is not scientific, but intuitive. Good interviewees (and poor interviewees) will stand out from the rest. Have a great interview and your interviewer will go to bat for you come ranking time.

I cannot speculate on other programs, so please take my advice with some hesitation. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

toulouselautrec

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I do think that most people are on a level field prior to interviewing (or at least should be). I went through screening and interviewing processes also at my program, and all I can say is that it's all so subjective. Virtually all applications are impressive on paper.

Once my dept chair threw an application out because he saw that "ophthalmology" had been spelled wrong. Just three weeks ago, I saw another application with absolutely stellar numbers/grades and on the personal statement misspelled "its" as "it's." During an interview day last year, one applicant was asked if she would mind switching interview times with another applicant so that the other applicant could catch a flight and she flatly refused, even though it wouldn't have affected her own travel plans. They both had stellar applications...On the other hand, we once highly ranked an applicant who didn't have stellar numbers at all but who impressed us with her personality and enthusiasm...and then upon starting, was not exactly stellar as a resident (but not bad, either). It's hard to say how much judgment you can derive from little things like these. The thing is though people develop and change and mature over their training, and you can't really predict how that will happen during a 1-day meeting.
 
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