Pre-Interview Dinner

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by adrenalitis, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. adrenalitis

    adrenalitis Member
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    Hey peeps. I'm a PGY1 FM resident working on improving my program's interview process. Currently we do not have a pre-interview night social/dinner for applicants. I am working on convincing the program that we need this. They only listen to raw data though so help me out by answering some questions for me to tally.

    1. Did you interview at any FM program that did NOT have a pre-interview dinner/social?

    2. If you attended, did the pre-interview dinner/social effect your eventual rank order?

    3. If a program did NOT offer a pre-interview get together, would that NEGATIVELY change your view of the program.

    Thanks. I need at least 10 replies. Please put whether you are already a FM resident or a current applicant.
     
  2. JustPlainBill

    JustPlainBill Attending
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    Sounds like you're at UTSW FM in Dallas --
    I'm an attending but still remember enough of the interview trail that I can respond if it matters --

    1. Yes

    2. Yes

    3. Questionable -- it would affect my impression i.e. Are they too cheap/snooty to give me a chance to chat with the residents and see how they interact?

    For me, it was about location -- did not want to move my family and the program I wound up being at was within a 30 minute drive but did not offer a dinner -- they were ranked #1 because of a perceived strength -- I learned about opposed residencies the hard way.

    Now -- make sure you send personable residents on interviews -- as a candidate at one place that I had rotated at as a 4th year, the dinner sucked -- the residents kept walking off from candidates to cluster and talk by themselves -- at the table, the candidates were talking and making conversation but the residents were on their phones and ignoring us -- after we got dropped off at the hotel, we talked about it -- it did factor into my decision to rank them lower.

    A good dinner can't hurt but bad one can cause people with options to rank you lower and no dinner is questionable -- is the residency struggling for money, is this an indicator as to how they treat their residents -- generally the ones that are resident friendly make it obvious -- the place I went to viewed the location as the main attraction and treated residents like trash....
     
  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    M4 coming into interview season: I see past year feedback about "residents don't seem happy" or "residents seem happy" or "I could see myself working with these people" or "several residents acted like 14 year olds" or similar. This is one of the most common chunks of info I see in interview feedback. Point being, it's what a garden variety M4 can easily see in prior year interview feedback.

    I'm a grownup. I don't care about free food. I know that the residents are tired. I know they're required to participate in interview activities. I know that the stream of candidates is mostly endless and homogenous. I know it's a 3-5 month slog and it comes back around too fast the next year. I know that what I see on one day may or may not be representative of the program. I know that a pre-interview dinner may be a resident's badly needed chance to blow off steam and get maybe a little too hammered.

    But.

    It speaks to the organizational health of the program if the resident schedules don't allow for 3-5 months of the year to include enough time to support an attractive interview process. The fact that interviews are time-consuming and perpetual should be completely predictable and surprise exactly nobody. Behavior of the residents at a social event is a big fat tell, and the program directors, R2's and R3's should be very interested in candidate feedback on these events.

    It speaks to the transparency of the program if the interview day(s) don't include down time with the residents. Do I, or do I not, get time to shoot the s**t with the people who will be R2's and R3's next year. Do I, or do I not, get to see residents outside the actual interview. Do I, or do I not, get to see the residents interact with each other.

    So I don't specifically care about a pre-interview dinner. I do specifically care about exposure to residents in a variety of settings.

    My $.02.
     
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  4. adrenalitis

    adrenalitis Member
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    Thanks for the replies. All good points. the faculty here have the perception that the reward isn't worth the expense, even the minor expense (we have plenty of money). Currently we talk with the applicants alone for ~30 min during interview day and then 30 min with faculty present. It's very formal and its on interview day. I'm just trying to convince them that there needs to be more effort on recruiting and a pre-interview mixer/dinner/whatever is a good way for residents to sell the program and for applicants to see if they fit. Keep the replies coming and I'll be able to make a better argument. Thanks!
     
  5. aerodoc

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    FM intern here

    1. yes
    2. yes
    3. not necessarily, I actually ranked #1 and matched at a program that doesn't have pre-interview dinners but rather periodic socials. I went to most pre-interview dinners that were offered but in 90% of the cases they didn't really help and to be honest I found them to be a little tedious. Each dinner is another several hours of trying to remember residents names, coming up with questions you already know the answers to in order to appear interested, and wondering when you can politely leave to get some sleep before the interview day in the morning without seeming like you were bored. In only three programs did the social events/dinner make a difference and it was negative in two and positive in the other. I would say in general though, the dinner mostly has the potential to be neutral or negative.
     
  6. SLC

    SLC Lock, Step, & Gone (Graduated!!!)
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    Agreed, I also found the dinners to be tedious. And very much agree that it was neutral or negative for me. I didn't rank anywhere higher because of it, but I did drop programs to the bottom of the list because of it.
     
  7. VA Hopeful Dr

    VA Hopeful Dr Senior Member
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    See, I thought the dinners provided several valuable insights.

    First, its a nice general feel for the residents personalities outside of the hospital. One dinner (the place I matched) was a one-on-one with a resident. It was a nice, quiet dinner but very personal. Another (the next down on my rank list) was 2 applicants with 3 residents, very outgoing and laid back feel.
    Then there was the program that didn't have a dinner. Started the whole time off on a somewhat negative note - had my now-wife not been with me, it would have been a very lonely night. Another had 2 residents for 4 applicants. I spent more time talking to the other applicants than I did the residents.

    Second, while no resident will ever be completely open about every aspect of their program, you can read a lot more into a person outside of work. Do they actually seem happy to be at this dinner (or in general)? Do they have other things to talk about outside of medicine? That sort of thing.

    Third, it gives you an idea of how much a residency cares about your general well being, not just how well you're doing in the hospital. Do they have a hard time finding residents to do these dinners? If yes, is it because the call schedule is really bad or because no residents want to? Both bad signs.
     
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