Virtual Surgical Fellowship Recruitment During COVID-19 and Its Implications for Resident/Fellow Recruitment in the Future

Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Dec;27(Suppl 3):911-915. doi: 10.1245/s10434-020-08623-2. Epub 2020 May 18.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has overlapped with the scheduled interview periods of over 20 surgical subspecialty fellowships, including the Complex General Surgical Oncology (CGSO) fellowships in the National Resident Matching Program and the Society of Surgical Oncology's Breast Surgical Oncology fellowships. We outline the successful implementation of and processes behind a virtual interview day for CGSO fellowship recruitment after the start of the pandemic.

Methods: The virtual CGSO fellowship interview process at the University of Chicago Medicine and NorthShore University Health System was outlined and implemented. Separate voluntary, anonymous online secure feedback surveys were email distributed to interview applicants and faculty interviewers after the interview day concluded.

Results: Sixteen of 20 interview applicants (80.0%) and 12 of 13 faculty interviewers (92.3%) completed their respective feedback surveys. Seventy-five percent (12/16) of applicants and all faculty respondents (12/12) stated the interview process was 'very seamless' or 'seamless'. Applicants and faculty highlighted decreased cost, time savings, and increased efficiency as some of the benefits to virtual interviewing.

Conclusions: Current circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic require fellowship programs to adapt and conduct virtual interviews. Our report describes the successful implementation of a virtual interview process. This report describes the technical steps and pitfalls of organizing such an interview and provides insights into the experience of the interviewer and interviewee.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Chicago
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships* / methods
  • Fellowships and Scholarships* / organization & administration
  • Fellowships and Scholarships* / trends
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Pandemics
  • Personnel Selection / trends*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Program Evaluation
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Specialties, Surgical* / classification
  • Specialties, Surgical* / education
  • Surgical Oncology / education*
  • User-Computer Interface*