Saturday, October 26, 2013

Where are the interviews?!?

This is an anxiety provoking time of year.  Interviews start soon and right now you fall into one of two groups:

Group A - You have too many interviews (more than 10 - 12) and you are not sure which ones you are going to actually do.

Group B - You don't have enough interviews (less than 10-12) and you are in a panic over having to scramble to another specialty.

Let's deal with Group A first, as they are easy.  Unless you have special circumstances, like a difficult couples match (EM-ortho, EM-EM, EM-Derm), you already have all the interviews you will need.  And as programs start to get into their Wait Lists, you are going to get more offers.  In your Personal Statement you talked about what a great team player you are, now is your chance to prove it.  Politely decline some of those interview offers. Throw them back.  As programs higher on your list contact you with an opening, let another one go.  Most people do not want to do more than 10 - 12 interviews.  No one has stayed sane doing more than 15.  You will match 99% of the time if you rank more than 8 programs.

If you are in Group B, you are nodding vigorously right now.  You are waiting for interview offers because your colleagues are holding on to all of the spots right now.  They will start to give them back.  More spots will become available.  What you need to do right now is make sure that when those spots open up, you get consideration for them.

Make sure your application is complete.  If a letter was not uploaded, many programs will not have even reviewed your application before giving out all of their interview spots.  If your application was completed late for any reason, send a polite email to the coordinators of your most important programs.  Showing a little extra interest, courteously, can make the difference in who on the Wait List gets offered an interview.  This is the most useful thing you can do to increase your interview chances.

What you are thinking about doing is applying to more programs.  The programs will know that you just applied to them.  Most EM programs have the luxury of being picky about who they interview.  They are not going to be interested in looking at the application of someone who only recently became interested in them.  Not when they already had hundreds of more enthusiastic applicants.

Polite interaction with programs that already have your application is your best bet.  Be available on short notice.  Be courteous with whoever you get in touch with.  Be ready to bring your A-game on the interviews you get.  It only takes one program to rank you competitively to get you into EM.

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