NYMC Faculty Publications

Evaluation of the Virtual Interview Format for Resident Recruitment as a Result of COVID-19 Restrictions: Residency Program Directors' Perspectives

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Research Article Published in Journal with Highest Impact Factor for NYMC First Author

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Academic Medicine

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Obstetrics and Gynecology


PURPOSE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residency programs could not conduct in-person interviews during the 2020-2021 Match cycle and were forced to implement a virtual format. The authors conducted a nationwide survey of residency program directors (PDs) to assess their confidence in using a virtual platform to holistically evaluate applicants during the 2020-2021 Match cycle and their desire to continue virtual recruitment during forthcoming interview seasons. METHOD: This prospective study was conducted by email questionnaire administered through the survey tool Survey Monkey to residency PDs from March 7, 2021-March 27, 2021. The residency PDs surveyed represented these subspecialties: internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and other. Email addresses of PDs were collected from a public list developed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Surveys contained demographic questions, 4-point Likert scale questions evaluating several factors regarding the interview and matching process, and free-response questions. RESULTS: A total of 463 surveys were sent; response rate was 402 /463 (86.8%). Most PDs were less confident assessing an applicant's interpersonal skills (247, 61.4%) and professionalism (239, 59.5%) using a virtual platform. Assessment of an applicant's "fit" into the program was also challenging: 44.3% (178) of those surveyed disagreed with the statement that they could do so confidently. Additionally, 73.9% (297) of PDs found it challenging to gauge an applicant's genuine interest and only 41.3% (166) strongly agreed or agreed that they could accurately represent their own program using a virtual platform. More than half of PDs (220, 54. 7%) found it more difficult to rank interviewees compared with previous in-person Match cycles. CONCLUSIONS: Most residency PDs found virtual interviews convenient. However, difficulties in assessing fit virtually, gauging applicants' interest, and showcasing their respective programs were challenges that may persist should virtual interviews continue post-pandemic.