Recruitment Hospitality

Program Coordinator’s Corner – October 2018

Recruitment Hospitality

Dawne Vowler, C-TAGME
Program Coordinator, Endocrinology and Metabolism
University of Michigan

Most of us are probably almost done with recruitment for this year. I thought that I would share some hospitality nuggets that I use during the interview season to keep the applicants feeling welcome. While we are all “friends”, we are also competitors. There aren’t really any “trade secrets” to give away. I will keep things at a basic level. I feel like these things are common sense. However, I find so many applicants are so happy to be offered simple hospitality. If you are not doing these things, you might think about instituting them your own way in the future.

  1. Information Overload
    1. This may be the electronic age, but everyone still wants to hear “personally” from you.
    2.  I arrange my interviews through Interview Broker, but I still send an email that includes:
      1. Detailed Itinerary
        1. Times and Locations of all events of the day
      2. Maps – I can get lost in my closet (which is NOT large), so I include written directions as well as a map to get to our office
        1. I make sure this map is extremely detailed – i.e., How would I tell myself to get to my office, if I had no idea where I was going? I get compliments on these aids every single interview day.
      3. Never, ever leave the applicant(s) alone to get from one spot to another.
        1. We all have large institutions. Often the applicants need to move from one building to another. NEVER send the applicant(s) by themselves. Take them yourself or have a fellow or other responsible person take them. It is awful to be in a strange place. It is even more so to be somewhere that no one helps you get around.
  2. Attention to Detail
    1. Food – Everyone loves food!
      1. We offer our applicants a time with just the fellows to go out for a meal and discuss the program in a casual setting.
      2. We provide the applicants with a light breakfast, lunch, and also with a snack during the “interview marathon”.
      3. We also provide coffee, tea, and water throughout the day.
    2. Breaks
      1. Restroom breaks are essential. I cannot tell you how often applicants express their appreciation for the fact that I check on them often to see if they need a restroom break. Remember – they are drinking a lot, and they are nervous. Potty breaks are essential!!
    3. Secure Location
      1. Space to leave luggage and/or purses. They don’t want to drag their things with them from place to place. Also, they want to feel comfortable with where their valuables are being stored.
      2. Lactation Room
        1. We have had more than one candidate that needs a place to both pump breast milk and store it. Having room in the itinerary for breaks, a private place with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, and a refrigerator with a secure place for her to leave the milk are all very important.
    4. Access to Faculty
      1. Faculty should be one of the jewels in your crown so make sure you put them front and center. (In addition to making sure there is plenty of time and access to the fellows.)
      2. We make sure that we provide a list of faculty, including their email addresses. This is in addition to the faculty that the applicant(s) meet on interview day.
    5. Friendliness
      1. This is Hospitality 101. Be friendly. Be talkative. Be interested. This may be the millionth time you have done an interview day; however, this is the first and perhaps only time this applicant will come to your institution. Whether or not they match with you, you want them to leave with a great feeling about the day and the program. While making sure that you stay within the NRMP Match Rules, enjoy the time with the candidates.
      2. Observe. We are valued members of our teams. Our input is important too, so our observations, both positive or negative about applicants, are valued and appreciated. Make sure you notice interactions, comments, etc. and report things – good and bad, back to your Program Director and/or your Selection Committee, if appropriate.

As I said before, most of these things are common sense. We all tend to be hospitable by nature. Making sure that the applicants feel welcomed is one of the most important parts of our role in interviewing. These are easy nuggets. Good luck with the rest of this season everyone!

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