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Setting Up a Separate Email for ERAS

Submitted by Colton Junod, IUSM Class of 2022

  • Create new email for ERAS. Personal favorite is Gmail because it’s easy to use. Make this email then change your email in your personal information on your ERAS application. The only emails that should ever be sent to this email are ERAS related emails. (i.e. notifications of LOR uploads, ERAS communications, and most importantly…interview invites). Then turn on notifications for the GMAIL app. 
  • Once in that email, go up to settings and turn on mail forwarding. All emails will be forwarded to the email address that is associated with your phone number. Please see below for your email dependent on your carrier. Example: mine is I would test this and send an email to that address, it should go to your phone! So, put this as your forwarding address on your ERAS email account. All emails will now go to your text messages as soon as you get one. So once you get that text you can go in to your Gmail and read whole message and not miss an invite. 
  • T-Mobile:
    • Virgin Mobile:
    • AT&T:
    • Sprint:
    • Verizon:
    • Nextel:
  • So now we need to make these text messages alert you with a sound alert. Go into your phone and make a new contact. Mine is called “interview invites”. Then add,, and under that contact. WARNING: THIS WILL PROBABLY NOT ALERT YOU TO ALL YOUR INTERVIEWS. Some will come through from the PD or PC directly from their emails. This method should filter MOST interview invites directly to your text alert. Then when you add this contact, turn on emergency bypass notifications for that contact. 

How to Schedule

  • Interview requests may come through many different forms; they can be scheduled directly in ERAS, through Interview Broker, Thalamus, or via email from the Program Coordinator.
  • Keep track of your interviews on your personal calendar

How Many Interviews Should I Accept?

  • The number of interviews necessary to ensure a successful match varies by specialty. For example, successful applicants in Pathology ranked, on average, 10.9 programs in the 2020 match; whereas successful applicants in Neurological Surgery ranked 15.8 programs.
  • Discuss with your career mentor, lead advisor, and consult Charting Outcomes in the Match to determine what the right number is for you.


  • Interviews lengths will vary and may be in person or virtual
  • Many programs will offer a resident social the night prior to your interview
    • Have questions prepared for residents
    • Engage!  Let the residents get to know you.
    • Be prepared to participate in ice breaker activities and games
    • Limit your alcohol intake at evening events, if any, to 1-2 drinks
  • Schedule your interviews in a way to minimize burnout; this will look different for each applicant
    • How many interviews per week do you feel comfortable doing so that you’re able to give 100%
  • Try to minimize impact on your rotations
    • That being said, IUSM has a more flexible time away policy during interview months should you have in-person rotations at that time
    • You are allowed to request up to four days off

Time Off for Interviews

IU School of Medicine allows students to reschedule educational activities, wherever possible, for residency interviews. Please review the IUSM Guide to Time Away for Phase 3 ( for guidance on scheduling flexibility for interviews. Time away requests for interviews should be submitted via the online request form.(

Contact your Lead Advisor if you have any questions. 

Here are some key points from our scheduling guide:  

  • Per policy, students who miss three or more days of clinical responsibilities in a rotation may need to make up time in a continuous fashion to allow sufficient opportunity for integration into a clinical team, observation, feedback and assessment of performance.  
  • Per policy, all makeup activities should be completed within 14 days of the end of the course to allow timely assessment of a grade.  
  • Students should discuss their options for managing both anticipated and short-notice interview scheduling conflicts with their lead advisor and/or career mentor in advance of making interview plans.  
  • For required rotations, students should contact the statewide and site course directors, course coordinator, and lead advisor immediately upon becoming aware of a conflict between the required rotation schedule and a residency interview in order to plan appropriately. Accommodation for time away for interviews is at the course director’s discretion and is based on the circumstances and availability of accommodation, with expectations to make up any time missed from the required curriculum.   
  • For elective courses, students should plan time away in advance with the course director and discuss the potential flexibility for unexpected interviews.  
  • For unexpected interview opportunities that arise during the rotation, the usual appeals process may not be feasible. The student may request, within 48 hours of the course director’s decision on time away accommodations, an expedited review by the curricular directors for Phase 3; the course director’s decision will be final until and unless the review results in revision.  

Canceling Interviews

It is fine to cancel some of your accepted interviews. Perhaps you have scored an interview at your top programs(s) and are less enthusiastic about a program or two where you have already scheduled an interview. Or you may have over accepted and are looking to unload a few. You may have had a schedule change, or had a conflict arise. Sickness and emergencies also happen. In truth, programs expect some cancellation and rescheduling.  
There is etiquette for cancelling: 

  • To cancel or reschedule in a professional manner, defer to the program’s interview policies and instructions. If a program provides no instruction, follow these general guidelines:
    • Amount of notice. Contact the program as soon as you know you need to change plans, preferably, at least two weeks in advance. The virtual interview process does make scheduling a new candidate easier than in years past, but programs still appreciate advanced notice. Canceling with less than a week’s notice should be limited to cases of true emergency, such as an illness.
    • Communication method. Regardless of how far in advance your cancellation occurs, contact the program coordinator by email or phone. If you call, you might consider sending an email to confirm the cancellation.
    • Explanation. If you cancel at least one week in advance, an explanation is unnecessary. If you are canceling because of an emergency, provide an explanation that indicates the nature of the emergency (e.g., a death in your family, you are sick with the flu) but without too much detail (e.g., “I’m vomiting every hour”). If you remain interested in the program, provide an explanation and supporting documentation, if possible, and affirm your continued interest and ask if it is possible to reschedule.
  • Under no circumstances should you be a no-show and fail to attend a scheduled interview without prior notice to the program. Academic medicine is a small community. Canceling at the last minute with no explanation and no-showing can negatively affect both your reputation and future opportunities.  
  • Accepting an interview slot that you later cancel, especially with little or no notice, is holding or wasting a slot another candidate could have filled.

Interview Preparation

Big Interview Medical

IU School of Medicine is now partnering with Big Interview Medical for interview preparation. Students at all stages of their medical education can sign up for Big Interview to review lessons at their own pace and timeline. There are more than 20 lessons specific to prepping for residency interviews. You can also record practice sessions and receive AI feedback on your responses. In addition, recorded responses can be sent to friends, family, classmates, and IU faculty and staff for additional feedback. Big interview Medical will be your primary resource for interview preparation.

To register:

The STAR Method of Interviewing

The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result.

  • Situation: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This can be from a previous job, volunteer experience, or relevant event
  • Task: What goal were you working toward?
  • Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on YOU. What specific steps did YOU take and what was YOUR particular contribution? Be care that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what you actually did. Use the word, “I” not “we” when describing actions
  • Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results

Make sure that you follow all parts of the STAR method. Be as specific as possible at all times without rambling or including too much information. Oftentimes students have to be prompted to include their results so try to include that without being asked. Also, eliminate any examples that do not paint you in a positive light. However, keep in mind that some examples that have a negative result (such as “lost the game”) can highlight your strengths in the face of adversity.

How to prepare for a behavioral interview

  • Recall recent situations that show favorable behaviors or actions, especially involving course work, work experience, leadership, teamwork, initiative, planning, and customer service
  • Prepare short descriptions of each situation; be ready to give details if asked
  • Be sure each story has a beginning, middle, and end
  • Be sure the outcome reflects positively on you
  • Be honest. Don’t embellish or omit any part of the story. The interviewer will find out if your story is built on a weak foundation
  • Be specific. Don’t generalize about several events; give detailed accounting of one event
  • Vary your examples; don’t take them all from just one area of your life

Common Interview Questions

Standard (from the AAMC)

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you become a doctor?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in our program?
  • What are you looking for in a program?
  • Why should we choose you?
  • Can you tell me about this deficiency on your record?
  • Why are you interested in this specialty?
  • Tell us about your research experience.
  • If you could not be a physician, what career would you choose?
  • What do you see yourself doing in the future?
  • What leadership roles have you held?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What was your favorite course in medical school?
  • Why did you choose this specialty?
  • What are your goals?
  • Are you interested in academic or in clinical medicine?
  • Do you want to do research?
  • What was the most interesting case that you have been involved in?
  • Do you plan to do a fellowship?
  • What is your most important accomplishment?
  • What motivates you?
  • What will be the toughest aspect of this specialty for you?
  • If you could do medical school over again, what would you change?
  • What do you think you can contribute to this program?
  • Do you foresee any problems managing a professional and a personal life?
  • Are you prepared for the rigors of residency?
  • How much did lifestyle considerations fit into your choice of specialty?
  • Describe the best/worst attending with whom you have ever worked.
  • What is the greatest sacrifice you have already made to get to where you are?
  • What problems will our specialty face in the next 5-10 years?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • List three abilities you have that will make you valuable as a resident in this specialty.
  • Describe a particularly satisfying or meaningful experience during your medical training. Why was it meaningful?
  • What is one event you are proudest of in your life?
  • What was the most difficult situation you encountered in medical school?
  • What clinical experiences have you had in this specialty?
  • How well do you take criticism?
  • What questions do you have for me?


  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy which you did not agree with
  • Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split-second decision
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example
  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa)
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you have made within the last year
  • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others
  • Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively
  • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem
  • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem
  • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures
  • Tell me about a time you were forced to make an unpopular decision
  • Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend
  • Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low)