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Virtual Interviewing for Fellowship Recruitment: Is It Working for Subspecialty Program Directors?

September 12, 2022

One of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is the need to interview applicants for residency or fellowship virtually rather than in-person. As we move into the third year of virtual interviewing, it is time to ask whether virtual interviewing outweighs the prior in-person interview.

Petersen et al (10.1542/peds.2022-056735) share the results of a survey of pediatric subspecialty fellowship program directors regarding their opinions of online virtual recruitment.  The authors received 352 surveys back from 840 program directors (42% response rate), which included 16 of the 17 pediatric boarded subspecialties. Factors evaluated included the time required for interviewing by faculty and applicants and the degree to which this facilitated or impeded meaningful interactions; the degree to which virtual interviews expanded the diversity of the pool and applicants; and how the program directors were able to showcase their program.

There is a lot of great information shared in this study. The authors note that a plurality of respondents (60%) found the virtual interview process was beneficial, however, they note the challenges of not being able to showcase their programs and the local community’s culture. 

What can we expect looking to the future? For the upcoming year ahead—another year of virtual interviewing. While this study looked at the opinions of program directors, we need to hear from the applicants themselves and evaluate longer-term outcomes. Link to this study and learn more.

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