Had Residency Interviews But Did Not Match?
Getting medical residency interviews is hard enough, but what if you did not match? Receiving interviews without matching can be heartbreaking. What happened? What went wrong?
Don’t give up! Receiving even just one residency interview is an accomplishment, especially for IMGs. The good news is that your application was strong enough to grant you a chance at a position.
Now, it is time to dissect the rest of the puzzle. There could be several possibilities, whether it be one or more, it is critical to understand why you did not match and what you can do to ensure success on your next attempt.
Reasons One Did Not Match After Residency Interviews
1. Did not prepare for your interviews.
What? Why not? Preparation is the paramount predecessor to confidence, which is extremely important for a high-performance interview. Discover 10 Steps to Prepare for Residency Interview Success here.
2. Did not perform well in your interview(s).
Let’s face it: residency interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience! There is so much on the line, and if they are new to you, there can be a lot of anxiety simply due to a lack of comfort with the process. Not doing well at the interview is a top contributor to reasons why applicants did not match. Luckily, we have provided a key resource for doing your absolute best: Taking Residency Interviews: 10 Steps for Success.
3. Left a bad impression on programs.
This is an extension of number 2. However, here are a few ideas to keep in your belt as to key reasons why applicants did not match after having residency interviews. Disrespect: probably the biggest turnoff to a program. Don’t do it. Ever. Dwelling: even if you have red flags or need to explain parts of your past, don’t dwell and get hyper focused on trying to explain a million reasons why something happened. Be honest, precise, and positive. Keep the conversation moving forward. Indecisive: if you come off as unsure of yourself, your path, or what you are seeking, programs may not have faith that you will last the 3-5 years in their program. Make sure you leave a lasting impression that you can, and you will.
4. Did not have enough interviews.
Research has shown that successful candidates typically have 10 or more interviews. Many times applicants who had interviews but did not match simply did not apply to enough programs. Keep in mind, applicants should expect to apply to a minimum of 100 programs per specialty. If you applied to 80 programs, got four interviews, but did not match, it is likely that applying to 200 programs will significantly improve your odds. But, be sure you apply to compatible programs! For your Customized Compatibility List, visit Match A Resident.
5. Did not properly or adequately follow up with programs after the interviews.
Like a golf swing, the follow through is an essential part of where the ball goes! So, follow through, and follow up with programs to be sure you make par. Following up includes aspects such as submitting Thank You Letters, Letters of Intent, and more. Learn about 6 Common Questions here, and dive deep into all aspects of how to Follow Up With Residency Programs here.
6. Forgot or missed the Rank Order List Deadline.
Nothing could be worse than having residency interviews, but then failing to give yourself a chance by missing the Rank Order List deadline. This is typically in the 3rd week of February each year. Be sure to rank programs and certify your list before the due date!
7. Did not rank programs properly.
Many questions come up as to how to rank programs. Are there strategies? Are some considerations more important than others? Learn how to use Match A Resident’s Rank Assist feature, available to all Members, whether or not you’ve purchased access to a Customized Residency List!
8. Deceit – the ultimate nail in the coffin.
Let’s be honest about being honest; it is 100% necessary 100% of the time. If a program contacts references and learns about some information you were hiding, you are almost guaranteed to be excluded from consideration. Additionally, if you exaggerated your participation in a research project or publication, this can be deadly. Lying about anything in your past, like previous training experiences, breaks in medical education or reasons for leaving a work experience can mean the end of your chances. Trust us, be honest in all ways and you will do better for it.
A final reason you did not match could simply be that there was a strong pool of other candidates, including ample US-based applicants to choose from that you did not out-perform. But, keeping Number 4 in mind, with enough applications, you should get enough interviews, and learning the secret sauce for interview success, for which we’ve provided several resources, you’ll be golden!
Have a question about why you did not match, even though you had residency interviews? Leave a comment below and we’ll happily provide essential feedback for your future success.