Illegal Questions during Residency Interviews

There are a set of rules governing your interaction with programs pre/during/post residency interviews. These rules apply to both the applicant and the programs and they are known as the Match Communication Code of Conduct. I have known of these rules being violated often during and post residency interview. The rules are as follows along with some examples of scenarios

  • Respecting an applicant’s right to privacy and confidentiality: This means program directors (PD) and interviewers are not allowed to ask you which other programs you have applied to including information on the specialty, location, etc
  • Refraining from asking illegal or coercive questions: This means PDs and interviewers focus on the applicants “goodness of fit within their program”. The conversation should not focus on the age, gender, sexuality, or religion of an applicant. An example of an illegal question would be “do you plan on having children anytime soon?”
  • Declining to require second visits or visiting rotations: This means PDs and interviewers should understand that requiring applicants to visit a second time may place logistical and financial hardships on the applicant. If the applicant is unable to visit a second time it should not affect their ranking.
  • Discouraging unnecessary post-interview communication: This means both parties should not have any post-interview communication which may influence the rank order list. An example of this would be communication from a program stating “If you rank us high, we will rank you high as well”

I personally am not sure what the appropriate course of action would be if you were to encounter such a situation. It is understandable that an applicant maybe reluctant to point out a violation when it occurs as to not jeopardize their chances with a program. If you have suggestion on how to deal with this situation please leave it in the comments below

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2 thoughts on “Illegal Questions during Residency Interviews

  1. SabrosuradeArizona

    What if a program with 10 positions offers an applicant a second visit, the applicant declines but another 10 applicants make an additional effort and go to the second visit? It turns out that those applicants had a good visit and bonded with the residents and the PD, and the PD felt that those residents would be a better fit in the program. The second visit applicants are ranked 1 to 10 and the applicant that declined is left unmatched. Is this illegal? Unethical?

    Everybody knows that comments regarding the rank order list are made before the match through different means. Applicants won’t report those because they may be affected and not match in the program they want. Programs will never disclose this.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      I will quote the answer from the post

      “Declining to require second visits or visiting rotations: This means PDs and interviewers should understand that requiring applicants to visit a second time may place logistical and financial hardships on the applicant. If the applicant is unable to visit a second time it should not affect their ranking.”

      I would suggest in the case you are not able to make a second visit, please do explain by phone or email your reasons for not being able to visit.

      Reply

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