The experience of virtual interviews in the selection of residents: a survey of program directors in surgery

This article was originally published here

J Surg Res. October 23, 2021; 270: 208-213. doi: 10.1016 / j.jss.2021.09.011. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: MATCH 2021 lacked the classic “in person” component. Here, we assess the impact of virtual interviews (IV) on the selection of residents, from the perspective of program directors (PD) in all surgical specialties.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study based on a survey of ACGME-accredited US residency program directors (PDs) of all surgical specialties. The survey was designed based on a review of the relevant literature and focused on the strengths, limitations, and overall utility of IVs.

RESULTS: A total of 365 PDs responded to our survey. Almost all respondents (90%) found IVs cheaper than face-to-face interviews, while only 34% agreed that IVs took less time. Only a median of 5% of interviews was complicated by technical difficulties. Most PDs found it more difficult to assess candidate suitability (75%), personality and communication skills (71%), and commitment to the specialty (60%). Only 14% found the VIs overall better at assessing residency applicants. In future cycles, most PDs plan to host virtual and in-person interviews (57%), while 35% and 8% will host exclusive in-person and virtual interviews, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: VIs are a new way to cope with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Despite their cost and time advantages, they present particular challenges in assessing applicants for residency. A combination of virtual and in-person interviews will likely be implemented over the next few cycles.

PMID: 34706297 | DOI: 10.1016 / j.jss.2021.09.011

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