NYMC Faculty Publications

The Virtual Interview Format for Fellowship Recruitment in Obstetrics and Gynecology: A Nationwide Survey of Program Directors

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Medical Education Online

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Obstetrics and Gynecology


Due to Covid-19, fellowship programs could not conduct in-person interviews during the 2020-2021 interview cycle and were forced to implement virtual interviews. We conducted two nationwide surveys of residency and fellowship Program Directors (PDs) involved in the Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) Subspecialty Fellowship match cycle to gain a better understanding of virtual interviews from each of their perspectives. 1) Fellowship PDs' confidence in using a virtual platform to holistically evaluate applicants during the 2020-2021 match cycle, 2) Residency PD's perception of virtual interviews and impact on their program's operations, and 3) to assess the desire of fellowship and residency PDs to continue virtual recruitment during forthcoming interview seasons. Two separate nationwide web-based surveys were administered to 1) Ob/Gyn fellowship PDs and 2) residency PDs through SurveyMonkey from July-September 2020 to assess the impact of virtual interviews form each parties' perspective. Surveys solicited demographic information, four-point Likert scale questions, and free response questions Of programs meeting inclusion criteria, 75/111 (67.6%) fellowship PDs and 67/117 (57.3%) residency PDs responded to their respective surveys. Most fellowship PDs believed that they could confidently assess applicants' professionalism (88%) during a virtual interview and (90.7%) felt confident in making a rank-order list. However, only 73.3% were just as confident in preparing a rank list after a virtual interview as they have been with in-person interviews. Most residency PDs (69.9%) believed that virtual interviews made it easier for their program to comply with duty hours, and 76.8% agreed that virtual interviews allowed their residents to accept more interviews than an in-person format. Most fellowship PDs found virtual interviews convenient. However, difficulty in observing social interaction and gauging applicant interest may be the biggest challenge moving forward.