When I was a P4, PPS was a completely foreign acronym to me. Most of my classmates had done PGY1 residencies, not fellowships – so when I starting asking around for advice about PPS, I didn’t really get any useful feedback. The main thing I wanted to know was:
Luckily, I had an amazing preceptor who went through the PPS process during her Midyear, and she gave me all the advice I needed. And after going through it last year – hopefully I can pay it forward!
First of all – what is PPS? It stands for Personnel Placement Service (which might not tell you much). Essentially, PPS is a set of interviews where you can pay an extra fee to actually sit down and meet with your programs of interest, one-on-one.
Second – do I need to do PPS? Again: it depends. Keep in mind that NOT ALL programs participate in PPS in the first place, especially PGY1 residencies. Make sure to double-check with your programs of interest to see if they are doing PPS first, and you can make a decision from there. On the other end of the spectrum, some programs actually require PPS and use it as first-round interviews before on-site interviews. (For our fellowship (MedVal/PharmaWrite), we participate in PPS and use it as part of the interview process. For the candidates who can’t make it to Midyear, we accept phone interviews in place of PPS!)
PPS is for people looking for employment and is mainly beneficial for P4’s applying for fellowships and PGY1 residents applying for PGY2s. If a bunch of the programs you're interested in are doing PPS for PGY1s, then it may be beneficial - but most PGY1 programs don't participate in PPS, so you can consider saving your money if you only see one or two.
The ASHP website will put up a list of all participating programs here closer to the date – keep an eye out!
To register for PPS, sign up on the ASHP website and pay the fee ($145 for students, $200 for current residents). [NOTE: PPS registration is SEPARATE and IN ADDITION to registering for Midyear!] There you can upload necessary documents (CV, Letter of Intent, etc.) and contact each program you want to schedule your interviews with over the course of the conference. These PPS interviews are conducted parallel to the rest of Midyear – so schedule accordingly! If you want to make it to the Residency Showcase or have a school meetup, be sure to schedule around those.
Full PPS registration and resume uploading opened in September for candidates. Beginning October 21, candidates, employers, and jobs will become visible. Candidates will then be able to request interviews with employers, and employers will be able to view the resume database and contact candidates. Since PPS interview spots can fill up quickly, it’s important to upload your resume and request interviews as soon as possible. Interview spots are generally first come, first serve.
Once I registered for PPS, my next question was: how many interviews should I schedule?! Honestly, your PPS experience will be what you make of it. I’ve read articles that say you shouldn’t do more than 10 or else you’ll get burnt out – but at the same time, my fellowship director told me she did 40 during her year, so… it’s up to you! During my year, I only signed up for 2 interviews because there were only two programs I was interested in who happened to be on the list of participating program. And it still worked out!
When you first get to Midyear and sign-in, they’ll give you a special sticker that says ‘PPS’ on it and will grant you access into the PPS exhibit room later on. PPS will be conducted in slots from 12/4 to 12/7, 7:30am – 5pm. Once you're in the room, you will find the "semi-private" booth where you can meet individually with employers.
This one-on-one interaction honestly can be extremely valuable; you're essentially paying to have 30 minutes of personal face time with programs where, at Residency Showcase, you're just one face in a sea of hundreds. But just like with the Residency Showcase, do not feel obligated to do PPS – especially if you’re aiming for a PGY1 residency.
Hopefully that helped answer a few of your questions about PPS! If you have questions about this fellowship or want advice about anything else, don't hesitate to let me know!