Friday, December 5, 2014

Interview Etiquette: The No Show

A comprehensive collection of Interview Resources is coming soon, just in time for phase 2 of the interview season (the time when interview spots really start to open up). There is one topic, not previously covered in detail, that I wanted to give more attention to: the Interview Day No Show.

The short version... This is a terrible idea and reflects badly on you, your advisors, and your school. 

The longer version... First a qualifier: a true Interview Day No Show is when an applicant who has scheduled an interview does not show up without notifying the program in a meaningful way. Programs understand weather-related travel delays and family emergencies. They don't mind you canceling your interview - there are plenty of other applicants who actually are interested in the program to take that spot. The program director will actually appreciate you giving someone else the opportunity. That reflects well on you.

However, you create an entirely different perception of your character if you cancel with so little notice that finding a replacement is impossible. Or, even worse, if you just do not show up at all with no attempt to contact the program and explain your circumstances.

Many reading this are horrified that anyone would have such an egregious lapse in professionalism. Though there are likely a few who are thinking, "well, I did not want to train at the program anyway, so what is the big deal?"

Here is a list of who the aggrieved program director will likely be notify of your No Show:

  1. Your dean
  2. The residency director at your home institution
  3. Anyone who wrote a SLOE or a LOR
  4. Your mom (okay, probably not your mom... unless she wrote one of your letters)

You may not care about the program you just No Showed. However, your home program director, and those at any away rotation that provided you with a letter, are going to care. Inferences will be made about your sense of responsibility, duty to your patients, and overall professionalism. This is a huge professionalism Red Flag. All it takes is one Red Flag to sink your chances.

Adam Kellogg is an Associate Residency Director and former Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director.  He has never personally hunted down a "No Show" to give them a piece of his mind. Yet.

1 comment:

  1. Imagine you fly across the country for an interview at a residency program you were excited to check out. You stay in a hotel, so you be well rested on the big day. You get up early shower, put your best suit on and drive yourself to the hospital leaving plenty of time to find your way to the interview. When you walk into the room, the Program Director says, Oh we decided we didn't want to interview you after all. Go home.

    This is the No Show. It isn't a little thing and it isn't right.
    If this happened to you on the interview trail what would you do? Go on Facebook and twitter? Tell everyone you know? Tell everyone you see at every other interview? Tell the story in years to come whenever the program comes up?
    I imagine most of us when treated that poorly would indeed be immensely offended and hold a grudge forever.

    Now imagine the Program Director in this scenario, called you personally three weeks in advance and explained that they had to rescind your interview because of an unforeseen conflict. The PD is immensely apologetic and has called his colleagues and has another program that is excited to interview you.

    This is canceling an interview with plenty of notice.

    Professionalism matters, please think ahead and cancel with notice.

    Lucienne Lutfy-Clayton is an Associate Residency Director and former Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director. She would hunt a "No Show" down if only she was better with social media