Reddit AMA – I’m a PGY-2 RPD Part 2

For a recap, here’s Part 1

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 are the major mistakes made by candidates at PPS or onsite interviews?

“‘Nope, you answered all my questions.’ If you lead with that, the program will think you’re not interested. Plan at least 8 questions to ask in advance. Also, never ask ‘what a typical day is like.’ There are other ways of phrasing what you’re really trying to ask.”

There’s so many don’t and do’s. Fundamentally be yourself. But also, don’t kid yourself- you can’t just wing it. Prepare, practice, improve. How do you practice? Well, set up a “practice” PPS interview at a program you don’t have any intention of matching with. Funny story – I ended up ranking that program #1 for PGY, matching, and loved it.

When applying for PGY2 who should write LORs?

“For PGY2, if you can get a physician in your specialty of interest (or related specialty) that would actually be better than another pharmacist.”

This really can set you apart. Granted most physicians’ heads will explode when trying to understand the format.

Does your program early commit?

“Yes, the early commit is available. The resident has to be progressing appropriately, with no major issues and an expressed interest. Ideally, they’d have a rotation with me.”

Oddly this is one of the more controversial positions. I’ve been lucky thus far.

Business card vs CV

“To be safe, do both. Some programs want one vs the other. At the showcase, we used to make quick notes on CVs about you then pile them in the back to refer to whenever you’d apply. IMO business cards are too easy to lose.”

I once saw glitter and a rainbow with a unicorn on a CV. No joke. Honestly, I appreciated the change. Nobody else did. There’s a lot of room for individualization in professional life – just not for your CV when applying to residencies.

How important is LOI?

“LOIs are strange because they’re almost all identical. So I pay very little attention to them. It depends on the year but lately, I bring about 10 on-site for 2 positions.”

I’m not the only person to notice. A poster at ACCP this year form UIC showed an alarming rate of PLAGIARISM among letters of intent for residency candidates. That’s an easy way to get your application thrown out.

Is it ever too late to request a PPS interview?

“Never too late. If you are late, be flexible. There may be late openings due to cancellations.”


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