Match Communication Code of Conduct

ethics word cloud - 350px - shutterstock_167279624Purpose

The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) seeks to maintain the highest professional standards in the conduct of its Matching Program and expects all applicants and programs to conduct their affairs in a professionally responsible manner. Interactions between applicants and program directors during the interview and matching processes must be guided by the Match Participation Agreement, especially the section entitled Restrictions on Persuasion, which makes it clear that applicants and program directors should be free to make decisions on a uniform schedule and without coercion or undue or unwarranted pressure.

The NRMP and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies Organization of Program Director Associations have partnered to create this Match Communication Code of Conduct, which serves as a guide for all residency program staff involved in the interviewing and matching processes.


To promote the highest ethical standards during the interview, ranking, and matching processes, program directors participating in a Match shall commit to:

  • Respecting an applicant’s right to privacy and confidentiality Program directors and other interviewers may freely express their interest in a candidate, but they shall not ask an applicant to disclose the names, specialties, geographic location, or other identifying information about programs to which the applicant has or may apply.
  • Accepting responsibility for the actions of recruitment team members Program directors shall instruct all interviewers about compliance with Match policies and the need to ensure that all applicant interviews are conducted in an atmosphere that is safe, respectful, and nonjudgmental. Program directors shall assume responsibility for the actions of the entire interview team.
  • Refraining from asking illegal or coercive questions Program directors shall recognize the negative consequences that can result from questions about age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and family status, and shall ensure that communication with applicants remains focused on the applicant’s goodness of fit within their programs.
  • Declining to require second interviews or visiting rotations Program directors shall respect the logistical and financial burden many applicants face in pursuing multiple interactions with programs and shall not require them or imply that second interviews or visits are used in determining applicant placement on a rank order list.
  • Discouraging unnecessary post-interview communication Program directors shall not solicit or require post-interview communication from applicants, nor shall program directors engage in post-interview communication that is disingenuous for the purpose of influencing applicants’ ranking preferences.

Honest communication between applicants and program staff is essential to a successful matching process. Programs that fail to adhere to the terms of the Match Participation Agreement will be subjected to a violation investigation as described in The Policies and Procedures for Reporting, Investigation, and Disposition of Violations of NRMP Agreements, which are incorporated by reference and are an integral part of the Match Participation Agreement. The cooperation of all parties in monitoring the conduct of Matches is essential to maintaining a fair and equitable process.