"I was startled when my first interview with an assistant program director abruptly turned from an easygoing chat to an unfriendly challenge:“Why would you ever come here?” Throughout the rest of the season, other interviewers often pushed the MPA’s boundaries, asking me,“How seriously are you considering our program?” or similar questions. Such inquiries are not violations, strictly speaking, but they still suggested that I had to make a commitment to be competitive. Worse, several interviewers did commit unambiguous violations: “If you want to match here, you have to let us know,” or “If we had a position for you, would you come here?”
" The atmosphere of gamesmanship extended beyond interviews. Some programs offered me formal “revisits” while others left it to me to request them. I wondered if it was necessary to travel to programs to improve my chances there. Soon after, program directors, faculty, or even residents I had met in passing started making recruitment calls, sometimes weekly.
No matter how friendly these callers were, their overtures always seemed to end with awkward pauses inviting me to make a commitment. After each one finished, I gave my standard reply, which soon became rote: “I loved visiting your program and would be honored to train there.” "
..."(Another program director inveighed against gamesmanship on the morning of a visit, but later that day, an interviewer stated outright that in order to match there I had to make a commitment to them.)... As the ranking deadline approached, I felt compelled to tell my top-ranked program that it was first, and painstakingly crafted enthusiastic e-mails to others. Many of the other applicants I know did the same.
Most of us applicants were rewarded for participating in these courtship rituals. I was told I was “ranked to match” by a number of programs, and it was public knowledge that other students were receiving similar commitments. That said, whatever relief these assurances gave us was tempered by horror stories from years past.One student had been sent real estate clippings from his top-choice program, covered with breathless Post-it notes: “Looking forward to seeing you here!” Weeks later, he was shocked to match at a different program."
*(Fisher, Carl Erik, 2009, "Manipulation and the Match," JAMA, 302,12 (Oct 1), 1266-7.)