A Quick PSA on Post Residency Interview Communication

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Post-interview communication has recently been a nebulous space which tends to raise plenty of well-intentioned questions from applicants on what is and what is not acceptable. Whether it’s the silence and uncertainty between your last interview and Match day or whether you simply want to say a quick thank-you to the program for their time during interview day, here are a couple rules and tips we’ve compiled to help you out.  

 

Post-interview Thank-you Notes – to do or not to do

First off, check with the program you interviewed at if this is acceptable. Most programs will neither encourage nor discourage them. However, some program coordinators will specifically advise against sending a thank-you note. The main point is that you should follow whatever instructions a program provides by way of post-interview communication! 

 

This being said, let’s talk for a minute about thank you note etiquette.

First of all let’s talk about timeline. If your program accepts thank-you notes and you had every intention of sending one but time got away from you and now its been a week since your interview… it’s probably best to skip the note. The program is likely very busy interviewing other candidates and sending a thank you days after your interview may come across as an afterthought or an annoying unnecessary correspondence. If you’re going to send a thank you note, send it immediately after the interview or at the very least, the same day.

 

Now, the specifics of post residency interview thank you notes:

  • A brief email is sufficient, no need to send a hand-written card or letter through snail mail

While the whole point of the residency interview is to differentiate yourself from other candidates, a card, letter, or sending flowers to the office (yes it has happened before!) as a thank you is overkill. Residency programs are infinitely more interested in how you presented yourself and what you said during the interview– rather than something friendly afterwards.

  • Try to reference something specific from the interview, i.e. something that you felt connected you to the interviewer, or something of the program that was unique or of interest to you

If you’re going to take the time to write a thank you note, make sure to write a thoughtful thank you note! Keep in mind that programs who accept thank you notes are probably flooded with generic, “thank you for the opportunity, I look forward to hearing from you” notes to the point where they might just end up straight in the trash.

  • Make sure the thank-you note is personally addressed to each person you interviewed with; be sure to double, triple-check the spelling of the interviewer’s name in the email!

We repeat: SPELL YOUR THANK YOU NOTE RECIPIENT’S NAME RIGHT!!!! It’s extremely embarrassing to copy and paste a thank you email, then forget to change the name. However, if you follow the previous point, you should avoid this situation all together.

  • Try to send the thank-you notes to the program director and program coordinator, as well as any interviewers you found particularly helpful. Again, the sooner after your interview you write them, the better, as the experience will be fresh in your mind and it 

 

At the end of the day, it is unlikely that a thank-you note will dramatically change your outcome in the Match. Don’t overthink things, keep it simple, keep it personalized.

 

***Please see post about “Making your rank list” for further thoughts on post-interview communication, including answers to the common questions “should I tell a program I’m ranking them #1?”, “how should I best do that?” and more!

 

Best of luck! Contact us if you need any additional help with the residency application process!

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About the Author

Leslie C, MD

As a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from University of Texas at Austin, Leslie Chang revieved her BS in Biochemistry with honors in 2013. Upon gradutation,…

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