Reddit AMA – I’m a PGY-2 RPD

Recently on Reddit, I conducted an “ask me anything” conversation on the r/pharmacyresidency community. The inspiration behind the AMA was simply to help residency hopefuls feel more comfortable in the upcoming recruitment season. There were a number of individuals who asked questions and I wanted to share some of the top questions and answers provided.

Before going further, I do want to emphasize that these are strictly my opinions based on my own experience as a resident, RPD and recruiter for pharmacists. I’m certain opinions will vary, so I encourage you, should you have a differing opinion, sign up for Reddit and detail those thoughts in reply to the r/pharmacyresidency thread.

What’s the importance of GPA for PGY2 applications?

Directly from Reddit:
“I do not look at GPA. If you got a PGY1, it’s probably good enough. If you’re applying to pgy1s you need a 3.0 or a really good reason why not.”

I stand by this. In my experience, the candidates that have somehow reached this level without a sufficient GPA have other noticeable deficiencies and will simply not match up to the competitiveness of other candidates.

Am I disadvantaged by not interviewing at PPS?

“I no longer interview at PPS. I used to be RPD at Rutgers and had success there. Now at a smaller program, I didn’t have a single PPS interview to become a resident. Both in pgy1 and pgy2. So it stopped being worth the money [for the PGY2]. If you’re looking at big programs, you should think about PPS. If not, and you’re otherwise a strong candidate, I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Another consideration is your geographic restrictions (or lack thereof). If you are looking to stay locally (say a 150-200 mile radius) you’re probably well suited to just attend local residency showcases. Similarly, someone at your current site would likely know the PGY2 RPD or another person of influence at that program. Use your connections.

What are the differences in interview questions from PGY1 to PGY2?

“I ask fewer clinical questions. What I’m looking for is whether you’re really interested in EM or if you’re just doing it cause you heard the job market is good. Clinical questions would come up during your clinical presentation, but would generally be relevant to the topic.
[From PPS/ASHP to onsite], some [questions] may repeat but on-site is a much longer more in-depth interview. Many questions focus on why you want to do a residency and why you want that particular program. Various programs ask clinical questions but for pgy1 these are generally core disease-related. If they ask you crazy questions it’s either because you’re impressive or you are totally off base.”

There are also board games. I can’t do conventional interviews anymore. I like to turn to people that recruit highly competitive candidates and end up choosing the best: Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. How do they interview candidates vs pharmacy residencies? It’s not even close.

Has market saturation affected PGY2 graduates?

“There’s not as much saturation when you get to a pgy2 training level. There are numerous jobs available, you may just have to move.”

In my experience, this is a practice specialty-specific. EM, amb care, onc jobs are all over job boards.

Does name/reputation of residency site impact job searches?

“A larger program will have more connections (past residents) which will directly lead to more job opportunities. However, if a smaller program is run by a former RPD or resident of one of the “big” programs, that’s a reasonable alternative. Pharmacy job world is all about who you know.”

Obviously my bias is that of a small program advocate.


To continue on reading, head to Reddit AMA – I’m a PGY-2 RPD Part 2

Another post from EM PharmD:

Nail your pharmacy residency interview