Guidelines for Post-Interview Communication and Second Looks
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Post Interview Communication
Practices regarding post-interview communication vary widely and are often problematic for programs and applicants. Programs can voluntarily adopt and refer their applicants to this APDIM recommendation as an objective statement / guideline “published” and promoted by an official organization. This statement promotes clear communication that avoids confusing and potentially deceptive language that undermines the spirit of the Main Residency Match.
APDIM encourages programs to adopt policies that limit communications to factual programatic information that is communicated to all applicants. If programs do engage in more personal communication, APDIM offers the following guidelines.
- Language: Programs should be precise and honest in their communications with applicants. Language that is misleading, unclear or nuanced should be avoided. Terms such as "ranked to match" should only be used if a candidate is ranked in a position numbered less than the positions you are filling (a so-called "lock" position), or the meaning fully explained to the applicant. For example, if you use the term "ranked to match" to mean that you are ranking an applicant higher than your program historically fills, but not in a lock position, then that should be explained to the applicant. APDIM recommends that any phrase that that is ambiguous (e.g. “ranked highly”) be avoided or its meaning fully explained. Communications should not confuse or mislead an applicant for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage for the program.
- Rank position: Interestingly, NRMP rules do not prohibit a program from communicating an applicant's rank position. Of course, this information must be accurate (and is likely not known until late in the recruitment process) and the program may not ask the applicant where he or she is ranking the program. NRMP explicitly prohibits the solicitation of statements implying a commitment. APDIM recommends that any communication from the program that includes a statement of where that applicant will be ranked and explicitly indicate that the program cannot solicit similar information from the applicant.
- Communications from the applicant: Programs should discourage routine thank you notes or e-mails from interviewed applicants and indicate that such communications will not routinely receive a reply. Interviewed applicants with objective questions about the program (e.g. number of required months of ICU experience; availability of opportunities for community service, etc) should direct those questions only to individuals on the program’s approved contacts list (see next item), which will ensure accuracy and consistency of responses.
- Personnel: Programs should identify a limited number of individuals who will communicate with applicants, and ensure that they fully understand the program's expectations around such communications and are familiar with the NRMP rules. Applicants should be informed who these individuals are and be discouraged from communicating with other program personnel.
View the NRMP Code of Conduct
Review the NRMP Statement on Professionalism
Students currently receive mixed messages from programs and from advisors regarding the advisability of making second visits. Some students believe that making a second visit to a program will make a strong positive impact on their ability to match at that program. On the other hand, feedback from program directors suggests that the impact of second visits is actually quite limited. At the same time, second visits are expensive and can be risky since a brief visit may create an inaccurate, negative impression, especially if the applicant feels awkward or nervous in stressful situations.
Recommended Approach to Second Visits
- Programs should inform interviewed applicants, in writing, that second visits are neither required nor encouraged.
- Faculty advising applicants should tell them that second visits should be requested only if the applicant believes the second visit will help with their own rank list decisions.
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