Exploring pharmacy residency program director preference of pharmacy student organization membership and leadership involvement on residency candidate interview selection

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Introduction: Pharmacy student professional organization involvement and leadership are important qualifications of a pharmacy residency candidate. It is unknown if membership in specific student pharmacy organizations or types of leadership roles within these organizations are preferred by residency program directors (RPDs). The purpose of the study was to determine preference and importance of specific pharmacy student professional organization membership and leadership involvement when selecting residency candidates for an interview by RPDs. Methods: A descriptive study was conducted using an online survey. Pharmacy RPDs with involvement in reviewing applicants for interviews were included. RPDs ranked the importance and preference of specific student professional organization membership, breadth versus depth of involvement, and leadership position held on selecting candidates for an interview. Results: The survey was sent to 2084 RPDs. A total of 232 respondents met inclusion criteria and completed the survey. The majority (95.5%) of RPDs reported student membership as important, while 28.6% had preference for a specific organization. A total of 56.3% of RPDs reported student leadership as “very important” and 76.1% preferred depth over breadth of involvement. A total of 55.6% of RPDs preferred applicants with a high-level leadership position. Conclusions: Pharmacy student professional organization membership is important to RPDs when selecting residency candidates for an interview. The majority of RPDs have no preference for a specific organization, while 28.6% report a preference that affects interview selection. RPDs report leadership as important and place higher importance on depth versus breadth of involvement, with greater preference for a high-level leadership position.

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