Guidance for Residency Interviewing

AAIM Provides Guidance for Residency Interviewing

The process for interviewing residency applicants changed dramatically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with applicants and programs developing new approaches for the application and recruitment process and conducting interviews almost exclusively via a virtual/online format.   These past recruitment cycles highlighted the strengths and challenges of conducting interviews virtually – in particular, balancing most applicants’ access to interviews.

The Alliance acknowledges that there are no perfect solutions, and no process will address all stakeholder preferences. AAIM developed these consensus recommendations to best represent the professional values of the internal medicine community.  This document provides guidance based on currently available information as of July 2023.


  • Residency programs should conduct virtual interviews for all applicants, including learners at their own institution.
  • Since safeguards cannot be guaranteed to maintain equity for applicants, AAIM recommends against in-person visits, including in-person interviews, open houses, or program-sponsored second looks.
  • Residency programs should adopt common interview standards that include clear communication on their website, social media, and other relevant platforms regarding the date and time that they will release the first wave of interview offers. Faculty, residents, and staff should be informed of these standards to ensure consistent messaging.
  • Residency programs should adopt clear standards for communicating interview status (invitation, waitlist, or rejection) with applicants and describe their communication process and timeline on their program’s website.  Faculty, residents, and staff should be informed of these standards to ensure consistent messaging.
  • Medical Schools should use the Internal Medicine Structured Evaluative Letter (IM SEL) to communicate an applicant’s cognitive and non-cognitive attributes.  This should be one of the applicant’s letters of recommendation and supplemental to the MSPE.
  • Medical schools should provide resources to help applicants prepare for residency interviews.
  • Residency programs should provide training for faculty on strategies to mitigate implicit bias in interviews and on appropriate interview and post-interview communication.
  • Standardized interview questions would help limit bias in interviews by focusing on factors that have a direct impact on performance.
  • Residency programs should clearly communicate, both on interview days and on their website, their preference for post-interview communication.

Interview strategies and methods changed in adaptation to the pandemic. New policies were developed, adopted, and continue to serve most applicants and programs. As stakeholders explore options to address systemic issues within the recruitment and interviewing process, the guidance provided should help applicants, faculty, and administrators navigate the current landscape. AAIM acknowledges the complex and evolving nature of this current landscape; recommendations are made in the spirit of equity and fairness for all applicants, educators, staff, and others involved in the interview process. Evaluation of benefits and disadvantages of interview practices should continue on an ongoing basis, with iterative adjustments made in future guidance for medical schools, all applicants, and programs.

Read the complete recommendations