Medical Residency Interviews Scheduling Tips
You’ve submitted your ERAS application, all of your LoRs are in, your school uploaded your MSPE, and now here you are, waiting for the “wave” of residency interview invites that you hope is going to hit you. For some, there may indeed be a tsunami of invites; for others, however, interviews may be a bit more scarce. Whichever boat you ultimately find yourself in, it’s important to know what to do when you start receiving your invites.
We’ve compiled a list of tips when scheduling your interviews:
For starters, it may be helpful to have an idea of when certain programs will have their interview days–especially programs you either hope or know you are going to interview at (like your home institution). This way, if you are invited to a program that has multiple interview dates, you can try to select your date strategically. To track interview date options, you can 1) go on residency program websites to see if they publish interview dates and 2) look for forums about your specialty on Student Doctor Network or Google Spreadsheets. These are put together by students with information about interview dates for the current application cycle and/or past application cycles.
That being said, keep in mind that just because you expect to interview somewhere (you have a LoR from a doctor at that institution, you did research or an away rotation there), this does NOT guarantee you an interview invite. Often times these factors can certainly help, but nothing can be guaranteed, so don’t get your hopes set on program X and don’t have travel plans made before you receive an official invitation.
As you receive your invites, it is helpful to know that programs use a variety of different interview booking platforms – some will use ERAS, others will have you email or call with preferences, others will use interview booking websites (i.e. Thalamus, Interview Broker). It is not a streamlined process. RSVP to the interview invitation ASAP to ensure you get the interview date you want. Some applicants find it helpful to create a gmail account specific to ERAS so that notifications to that account are clearly interview invitations and won’t be overlooked/end up in spam. Then you can have an email for that specific email account pushed to your phone/tablet and set notifications so that you will be aware when you receive an invite. Additionally, you can ask a trusted friend or family member to monitor your email for invites and reply promptly for when you are not available (for example, in the OR).
If you received an interview offer and are not going to go, let the program know ASAP so that they can offer the date to someone else. It is common courtesy to your fellow applicants. In general, it is considered unprofessional to cancel an interview <2 weeks in advance. If you need to swap interview days, either reach out to the program or check the online forums (usually organized Google Sheets where you can see if another applicant will want to swap with you).
Scheduling your most desirable residency program
Lastly, consider scheduling your most desirable program interviews later in the cycle so that you can use the initial ones as a “warm-up”. Similarly, if you are someone who has received a lot of interview invites and don’t think you will go on all of them, it can be helpful to schedule interviews at programs you are less interested in towards the end of the interview season so that you are able to cancel them with enough prior notice to the program. The amount of interviews you ultimately schedule and attend depends on the applicant and specialty, and is something you can talk about more specifically with a mentor or school advisor.
If you need help to identify a potential residency program, our residency advisors are highly experienced in application and interview preparation. Contact us with your residency interview scheduling inquiries.