This topic was originally a part of the Interview Advice From Family Medicine Residencies post, but it’s been sectioned out into its own piece!
Post-interview communication can be a tricky deal. You want to demonstrate your interest in the program, but you don’t want to commit a match violation or to come off as overwhelming and/or needy to your program of interest–finding a balance can be difficult.
Please keep in mind the following:
- Programs cannot tell you where you are on their list, promise you a spot, or require you to tell them where you are ranking them.
- There is a such thing as “too much,” so please be careful about the content and the frequency of the communication that you have with programs that you’re interested in after interviews have been completed.
- Send a note or email to the program to thank them for their hospitality and to let them know of your interest in the program.
Try to do this within 2 weeks of your interview, and make sure you personalize your note/email by building on something that you discussed at your interview!
- If you’re undecided and the programs you’re interested in offer second looks, take advantage of them–but don’t feel that you have to go to them.
- Make sure that you put together your rank list based on YOUR preferences, not based on responses from programs!
Need some input from actual Family Medicine residency programs?
- Dr. Geraldine Urse (Director of Medical Education at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio)
- “I think a well crafted “thank you for the interview” note is in order for every interview. The thank-you note shows the candidates continued interest and allows the interviewer the opportunity to refresh their memory regarding the interaction.”
- Dr. Barbara McGarry (Program Director of Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson FMR in New Brunswick, NJ)
- “The AAFP says that it probably shouldn’t happen, but in some sense, it’s human nature to want to say something to places that you’re really interested in. I think it’s fine for applicants to email to say thank you and it’s nice to be able to respond and let them know we enjoyed meeting with them too. Just don’t ask us where you’ll be ranked.”
- Dr. Debbie Lupeika (Program Director of Shasta Community Health Center FMR in Redding, CA)
- “If you’re really interested in a program, reach out somehow (letter, phone call, email). You can just say, ‘I really enjoyed meeting you, it was great, here are some other questions I have about the program’…but don’t mention anything about the match list.”
Communication is key.
You’re shy, you don’t want to bug them, you think they’ll be annoyed. But remember, interviews are speed dating. You had a brief, whirlwind romance, you thought you clicked. If you never “call” (reach out via email), how’s that awesome potential 3-year committed relationship ever going to blossom?! Via the magic of post-interview communication!
- Now’s the time to ask them to coffee (send a thank you note) so they know you’re really interested.
- However, don’t be that stalker who texts 100 times in a single day (send holiday cards for every bank holiday, daily emails, etc.)
- Don’t be the sort who copy+pastes the same message to every person on Tinder. Program directors and residency coordinators do talk to each other.
What should you DO?
- Do hand-write thank you notes. This is Family Medicine, a personal touch is lovely. I admit I have a stationery addiction and last year was an excuse to buy pretty notecards.
- Do type them up into your own email the night of your interview, or the next day. YOU WILL FORGET the little moments to thank your interviewers for otherwise.
- Do mail them no more than 7 days after your interview.
- Do follow-up with a friendly email 2-4 weeks later, letting the PD or Coordinator know you’re still interested in the program.
Who Gets a Thank You?
This is hotly debated. Here’s my viewpoint on it – only send them for people you actually spoke with or interviewed with at the program.
- ALWAYS for the Program Director
- ALWAYS for the Program Coordinator
- ALWAYS for any attending that interviewed you, even if it was a group or panel, write individual thank yous.
- ALWAYS for any residents that interviewed you.
- At some places the residents really spent a lot of time with us, so I was able to personalize their notes.
- At others, I only saw them during their panel interview, and chose to thank all the residents as a group, not just those who interviewed me.
- At places with a pre-interview dinner I individually thanked those that came out and spoke with me.
Letters of Intent?
This is its own topic to be covered in November/December. You should NOT be sending any LOI’s before then, so cool your jets, Juliette.
This is a super stressful time, but know that you’ve got all the information of three FM nerds who Matched to their top programs last year. While we’re all busy interns, we still plan to post Match-relevant content this year. Have a specific question? ASK US! It will prompt us to come out of our intern year zombie state and answer you.
Good luck, stay positive and don’t forget that FM is awesome… and so are you!
- The Match Commitment: What You Need To Know
- Match Communication Code of Conduct
- Post-Interview Contact with Residency Programs
- The Residency Interviews Part 2: After the Interview
- AAFP: Five Things To Do After Visiting A Residency Program
- UW’s Follow Up Advice
- Ben White’s Do’s and Dont’s for Post Interview Correspondence