This article was originally published here
Surg Innov. 11 Apr 2022: 15533506221082713. doi: 10.1177/15533506221082713. Online ahead of print.
Background: In-person interviews have traditionally been an integral part of the scholarship application process to allow faculty and applicants to interact and assess the intangible aspects of the matching process. COVID-19 has forced a transition from in-person interviews to a virtual platform. This study aimed to track the perspectives of professors and candidates on this transition. Study the design: Prospectively collected survey data was obtained from all participants after each of 3 consecutive virtual interview days for a minimally invasive surgery fellowship at a single academic institution. Results: One hundred percent (27/27 applicants and 9/9 teachers) of interview participants responded to the survey. Cost (100% applicants, 77.8% faculty) was perceived as the biggest barrier to in-person interviews, and “inability to get a feel for the program/candidate” was the biggest concern for virtual interviews ( 66.7% candidates, 88.9% teachers). After the interviews, most participants strongly agreed that they were able to rate education (66.7% applicants, 77.8% faculty), clinical experience (70.4% candidates, 77.8% professors) and research potential (70.4% candidates, 88.9% professors). virtual platform. Only 44.4% of each group strongly agreed that they could also rate ‘overall fit’. Most professors (6/9, 66.7%), but fewer applicants (10/27, 37.0%), were willing to eliminate in-person interviews altogether. Conclusion: Virtual interviews may be an acceptable alternative to in-person interviews in times of COVID-19 and beyond. Offering a virtual format can help eliminate the costs associated with in-person visits while still adequately assessing a program’s suitability for applicants and faculty, although applicants still want an in-person option.