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What interview events/follow-ups have impressed you?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by surg, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. surg

    surg 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    While talking with some residents and faculty today, we started talking about the upcoming match. After a little bit of this we started wondering, what do students find impressive/ useful? How much does it affect your rankings?

    Apparently, in surgery with the applications down some nationwide (though not at our program), some of our students are getting a lot of phone calls/ e-mails/ letters, etc. We have also heard from them about fairly lavish meet and greets the night before, and one ummm..."party bus" event (from a program that I will leave unnamed, but is generally considered to be a pretty good place to train by all).

    So... do these things (bar nights, get togethers, letters, calls) matter to you? If so, how much stock do you put into them. We had generally "played by the rules" not sending any direct formal post-interview feedback (letters or calls), but now I wonder if students perceive that as disinterest and let it affect their rank list. Or the reverse, does hearing from them and having them on the phone give you just added stress of trying to decide what to say?
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  3. pags

    pags Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2000
    I have not received jack squat from any radiology program where I've interviewed, and yes, I do feel that this is a sign of disinterest in my matching likelyhood. Reason being, so many other people throughout the country have received such letters and phone calls from PDs letting them know that there were impressive, strong, high ranking or what have you. You are playing by the rules when either party OFFERS ranking information, but not when you are ASKING for it.

    Hypothetically speaking of course, if I was to be flooded with such positive feedback, it would not effect my ranking scheme. I would still place my most desirable program 1st and so on.

    I have heard of many infamous stories about candidates who were "in bed", so to speak, with PDs and failed to match after such affairs. Obviously these communications of affection are nice to have, but I would not bet the farm on any of it.

    If your surgery program has not felt the pinch of the downward spiral of surgery applications, then you are probably some "big time" university program, where by not sending out these letters of interest will most likely not hurt your command of top quality candidates.
  4. Sabreman

    Sabreman Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2001
    I have heard from two programs about my "general" standing in the rank list, along with very promising feedback. However, I only got this when I initiated contact and said "Hey, I love the program, blah, blah, will rank you highly, blah, blah, I hope you liked me too (hint, hint ;-)?"

    My feeling from talking to people is that most programs will give you honest (hey, I'm trusting) feedback and general standings if you call and ask them. After all, most places already have submitted their rank lists by now so you can't influence them. I know, I know, asking for your ranking is not completely kosher, but if you make it clear that you are interested many will tell you anyway.
  5. carddr

    carddr Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Excellent questions. I have heard from all of the programs except one and I must say I feel that particular program must not be interested in offering me the opportunity to do post-graduate training at their facilities. I had a great interview there but came back with the idea in my head they were not into the internet, so to speak as the ultimate means of communicating. Although I will rank them it will not be on the high-side. I think is is imperative to communicate to the applicant. I can tell you I was very pleased to hear from the PDs'. It makes a difference. And actually all the contacts after the interviews were by mail. I will be ranking the program I think I will most enjoy and have the best fit for where I want to be 10 years from now and the second one as just that, and so on and so on. Non of the PDs' have contacted me by phone. Just numerous letters. Good Luck to everyone.
  6. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    I was also contacted by some programs giving me an idea on "whether they liked me or not" so to speak and not by others.

    I felt that the ones that didn't bother to contact me is because they are not ranking me high enough. I was recently talking to some classmates who also felt the same and the consensus was "I don't need anyone to kiss my you know what, but it is nice to feel that people who you will potentially be working with really want you there, instead of feeling like you were their last choice".

    As for the "wining and dining", I found it a great oportunity to socialize with the current residents and other seriously interested applicants and see if these are the people whom I would really like to spend more time with than with my family...
  7. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    New York
    Interesting posts. One place informed me that there would be a dinner the night before the interviews, besides the usual lunch gig the day of the interviews. They specifically asked if "you are not able to make the dinner, to please inform the department." [I found that to be interesting.] But as was mentioned by several others here, I don't think it is meant so much as to 'bribe' one in considering the program. I think it's meant to see how you interact with their resident population, to see if you are a "good fit" for them as well as for yourself. Because after the grades, the board scores, the extra-curriculars, etc. it really comes down to personality dynamics doesn't it?

    Just a thought.

  8. prufrock

    prufrock Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    I think the feedback about where programs are going to rank you is very program and specialty dependent. A friend is applying to rads and he hasn't heard anything from the programs after his interviews. I recently received a mass email from a top IM program stating that they don't email their candidates personally about where they stand because it corrupts the match process. In the end, it seems that all we can do at this point is let the programs know we'd love to go there and let the match process do its job.
  9. navs

    navs Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    This is a great question.

    I personally love it when a program goes out of the way to communicate to u that they liked u ON THEIR OWN.

    IF u ask and they answer, it just isn't the same thing. For a program to pick up the phone and call applicants I think is the most impressive thing possible!! Especially if it is the chief!!

    I had the chief of one program call me before my interview just to chat and it IMPRESSED the HELL out of me.

    In the end, we are all young in the med. game of life and can be easily impressed when others seem to understand we have good qualities.

    SO, I'm all for communication!!
  10. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    I applied for gen surg so...

    What I found useful at the interviews: I liked seeing a conference (M&M,grand rounds, etc). This gave me an idea of how the residents are approached/treated by the faculty. The facilities or lack thereof somehow calculated into my decisions about a program (of course the program has very little control of this). I was also impressed by the programs who said "This is what we are going to do in the next 5 years, this is what we're planning to change, and this is where we need improvements."

    The night out the evening prior to interviews was always a bonus. You really get a feel for the personality of the program and residents which is by far the most important part of any program. I can be trained well many places but I want to be in a program where I feel comfortable cuz it's 5 long years. I found that the more informal the night before was, the more comfortable I felt to ask any question that entered my mind. Lavish is not required or even desired (by me). Take me out to a sports bar and let me sit and talk to you over a beer (or six beers :D ) and I'll be happy.

    I have received a couple of letters from programs saying I was their "top candidate" or they planned on ranking me highly. These seem to be rare (but it may mean noone else wants me :( ) These letters have not changed my rank list but they do improve my outlook on those programs who actually say that they want me at their program.

    It's tough to say if I perceive no feedback as disinterest. When match day is March 21 and I interviewed at a program in late November and have heard nothing from them, it makes me wonder if they remember who I am or vice versa.
  11. bbbmd

    bbbmd Pain Doctor/Physiatrist 10+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    I agree with Lion Trees 100%. I am applying to PM&R and I also felt that the interviews that had their candidates sit in grand rounds, lectures, etc. were the ones that impressed me the most. Some lectures were not as impressive as others, but at least it showed that the programs were not hiding anything. I particularly liked it when the people we interviewed with were honest about weaknesses and told us of how they were working on them. I think by relaying this info to the applicants we are able to decide if the program is really a right "fit". The most important thing a program can do for their applicants is to be honest so that we as applicants know what we will be getting into if we match there. The more time spent speaking to residents is also a selling factor. It doesn't matter if its during a lavish dinner the night before or during the typical pasta and salad lunch buffet on interview day. The important thing is that we get to ask the current residents anything we want!

    A few programs contacted me in the last few weeks to say they were very interested in me. I appreciated this, but unfortunately I have not heard from the programs I plan on ranking in my top three. I am led to believe that the ones I liked the most are not interested. However, this will not change my rank order! I guess I will have to play the match game by the rules. I interviewed with my favorite program in early November and got a form thank you letter a month ago. Did they forget about me??? I would like to know what SURG thinks about that. I guess a related question for those joining the match in the future would be, "Is it better to interview early or late in the interview season?" I sent that program a letter of my intention to rank them high, but I have not received a response. Is that good or bad, or are they playing strictly by the rules???

    This is a very good thread! Good luck to all! 40 more days of waiting!!!!
  12. surg

    surg 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Since I'm interested in not biasing answers, I will give a few reactions, and answer bbbmd's question.

    Interesting that M&M/lecture attendance would be thought of as fun. I remember desperately trying not to fall asleep at some of those conferences that I was forced to attend while I was interviewing. Talk about embarrassing! As far as seeing residents, I agree. Feeling comfortable with a program involved hanging out with the residents, my future colleagues. I know I preferred having time with those I felt weren't evaluating me so I could ask the stupid questions I was dying to know.

    Back to bbb's question. I would say that if the program is organized, they won't forget about you. Every program I know has the interviewers go and talk about the interviewees in another room at the end of the day to record their impressions. These are preserved so they can be used again on the day to decide the final rank lists. Thus, any program that tells you that you're their top ranked candidate if you interviewed early... well... let's just say you may be their top ranked candidate _at that moment_!
  13. denise

    denise Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    So, are you guys making phonecalls still to the programs you are really interested in???? GEE, I Have not talked to a program since mid January. I am only ranking three, and all of them said I am high on their list. I never even thought about calling again.
    I did get an email from one of the residents of my #1 choice (not the cheif), and the PD went over the names of the rank list with all the residents. I guess when my name came up, they all cheered ( I spent a month there). I don't know if that means much, but I do know the PD did tell me the residents have a big role in the rank order list.
    I just hope I am not the only one not calling any programs. I just figured after the match started, it was kind of too late ??????
  14. dr.evil

    dr.evil Senior Member Physician 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    SURG: Don't get me wrong. I definitely didn't find the conferences "fun" but felt it gave me one more piece of info about the program that I didn't have when I came. The interviews that sucked were the ones where the program just reiterated everything they had in print or on their website.

    MMERZOUK: I haven't made any phone calls to any programs. All correspondence has been from them to me. I don't really know if calling them is a good idea or not but hey this is my first time in this game.

    BTW, I had another program contact me yesterday. They actually called and spoke with me for a while. Although pretty late in the game (our lists are due feb 21), I think this may have actually changed my list around a little. I'm very confident in my choice for #1, but #2-#5 is pretty variable. This program's interest in me likely will move them into my top 3. So I guess it does matter after all.
  15. callowna

    callowna Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2001
    Norfolk, VA
    I am applying in OB/GYN and I had a program send me an email and snail mail letter stating that they take 7 and I am in their top seven so if I want to come I can. It's my #3 choice and I certainly wouldn't mind being there. I have to admit it's a great feeling to be wanted. I also received generic follow up letters after just about every interview. And two programs had residents call and ask if I had any follow-up questions. One stated that they only call people who they want to come to the program. On the other hand I let my #1 choice know in no uncertain terms that I plan to rank them #1 and I get the impression that they could care less. It's not changing my rank list though.
  16. Sabreman

    Sabreman Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2001
    I got a phone call from the PD at my top choice Saturday morning, to tell me that I am the in the "guaranteed match" part of their list, and then we talked about the various pre-intern activities this summer. Woohoo!

    I'm sorry, but unless the guy is flat-out lying, that sounds pretty explicit to me. Good luck to everyone else!
  17. denise

    denise Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    you just put a chill in my back! I have not heard anything since mid Jan. I did get really good comments, but nothing too direct. Just that I would surley be ranked high. what does that mean??? A bunch of other good stuff too , but that was the only "rank" quote. Well, one PD said the attending I interviewed with wants me as the #1 choice. That means nothing to me, because he is young and only one person (not to mention they are #3 on my list) Anyway, now that I am a little worried, I better get back to work. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
  18. GTMD2Bee

    GTMD2Bee Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Also applying to general surgery this year, and I'll again agree with most of what Liontrees had to say.

    I found the "night before" dinners an extremely important part of the process. You can see how many residents actually show up to hang out, how they interact with each other, and get the scoop on the program in a setting that is relaxed. Nothing like hearing about what a resident thinks about the program after he/she has had a couple of drinks.

    As far as post-interview followup, I will say that I do look more favorably on programs that provided followup. Like Liontrees I got some letters, phone calls, e-mails that said I was in the "top" group of candidates or were planning on ranking me highly. Did it change my top 2? Probably not, but after my top 2, the next group of programs were pretty much a tossup, and those programs that seemed to show the most interest in me tended to get ranked higher. So for me post-interview followup is a definite plus.

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