The holiday season is soon ending, but the residency interview season is only at the half-way point. Based on your recently submitted questions, you are encountering unforeseen dilemmas about navigating the interview and post-interview season. Dr. Sara Krzyzaniak (EM program director at Stanford) hosts this quick Mailbag Q&A episode with Dr. Michelle Lin (ALiEM Founder/UCSF) and featuring the ever-wise Dr. Matt Pirotte (EM program director at Vanderbilt). We discuss the nuances around:

  • Preference signaling
  • Writing letters or emails of interest
  • Meaningfully connecting with busy program directors

We also answer the perennial question of “Really, how important IS the interview in my overall application?”

Thank you to EM program directors from Wisconsin, Northwestern, Denver, University of Virginia, University of Massachusetts, St. Johns Riverside, Loyola, St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Mount Sinai-Elmhurst, Maimonides, Brookdale, University of Chicago, and Hackensack, who also contributed their insights and answers to your questions.

Match Advice Podcast 39: Mailbag Q&A



Jewell C, David T, Kraut A, Hess J, Westergaard M, Schnapp BH. Post-interview Thank-you Communications Influence Both Applicant and Residency Program Rank Lists in Emergency Medicine. West J Emerg Med. 2019;21(1):96-101. 2019 Dec 9. doi:10.5811/westjem.2019.10.44031. [Open access link]

Read and Listen to the Other EM Match Advice Episodes

Blog posts:



Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD
Sara M. Krzyzaniak, MD, FACEP

Sara M. Krzyzaniak, MD, FACEP

Podcast Host, EM Match Advice;
Chief Strategic Officer 2023-24,
ALiEM Faculty Incubator;
Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency
Stanford University