by Tony Huke, PharmD, BCPS
Consulting Solutions Director, Pharmacy, Vizient
Even though it meant I was extremely busy with travel, the holidays, various showcases and regular work responsibilities, the pharmacy residency candidate recruitment process was one of my favorite aspects of being a pharmacy residency program director. And this time of year, recruitment is in full swing.
As we approach the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and with it the Residency Showcase and Personnel Placement Service (PPS), many programs are getting their initial look at the candidate pool for the 2023-2024 residency year — and, for the first time in three years, it’s an in-person look. The recruitment cycle concludes with application deadlines, packet evaluations, interview requests, interviews, candidate ranking and a final Rank Order List submission. Below, I have compiled a few tips, tricks and pitfalls to avoid in the annual recruitment, interview, and a ranking process to help you choose the best candidates for your program.
- Ensure the application deadline is clear and readily available to your applicants.
Your candidates are stressed. Providing them with clear expectations around key dates like the application deadline and response time for interview requests is imperative and will allow them to fully understand your expectations as a program. Ensuring this information is included in your promotional materials, program website and any communication with candidates is key.
- Review application packets quickly and send interview requests to candidates as soon as possible.
The applicant pool is highly competitive, but many applicants have limited resources for travel. For some, this means the first offers received are the first acted upon, especially if they are a candidate who doesn’t live in your city. Not delaying your invitations will allow your program to stay readily visible and at the forefront of your candidates’ minds.
- If you are choosing not to bring in a candidate for an interview, let them know!
As mentioned above, the residency application process is highly competitive, and most applicants will not receive an invitation to interview at every program to which they apply. But getting no information from your program is more anxiety-inducing to your candidates than not receiving an invitation. While they may be disappointed, they will know where they stand with your program and can plan accordingly.
- During interviews, provide a consistent yet robust selection of your preceptor team.
In my experience, having the same group of people interview each candidate is the ideal scenario. Understandably — given staffing shortages, patient care needs and other scheduling complications — providing the same group for each candidate may be challenging for some departments. However, the ability for each interviewer to have contact with each candidate will provide a level playing field and enables your team to have thorough and complete discussions when ranking candidates. It also gives the candidate a better understanding of your program and the team.
- Include all interviewers (as well as current residents) and develop a formal process for creating your final Rank Order List.
Including all participants from the interview process in your Rank Order List discussion will give your team multiple viewpoints and perspectives. This should allow you the most thoughtful and well-vetted ranking of your candidate pool. It also allows your team to feel fully engaged and included in the entirety of the selection process. Utilizing a formal and well understood process to compile your Rank Order List will add understanding, transparency and engagement with your entire selection team.
While the pharmacy residency recruiting process is extremely busy and stressful for all participants, these tips should help provide a transparent and successful recruitment season for your applicants and your program. To learn more about how Vizient can support your efforts to recruit residents into your pharmaceutical programs, visit vizientinc.com.
Good luck as you head into the season!
About the author
Tony Huke, Pharm.D., BCPS is a Consulting Solutions Director of Pharmacy for Vizient Inc. In this role he helps members improve the quality of patient care and financial performance through various clinical pharmacy initiatives including medication utilization, formulary standardization, clinical program enhancement, procurement optimization, and departmental assessment activities. Tony earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. In addition he completed a PGY1 pharmacy residency at Cox Health in Springfield, MO. Prior to joining Vizient, he served in multiple leadership roles at Truman Medical Center (now University Health) in Kansas City Missouri including Clinical Manager and Residency Program Director and Director of Pharmacy. Additionally, Tony continues to be active in local, regional, and national volunteer leadership positions through both the Missouri Society of Health Systems Pharmacists and the Midwest Pharmacy Residency Conference.