An Early Interview Day with Feedback to Prepare General Surgery Applicants for Residency Interviews

J Surg Res. 2021 Jun 1;266:383-386. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2021.04.030. Online ahead of print.


Background: Success in the residency interview is important in obtaining a position in general surgery residency. Preparing applicants for interviews is imperative yet can be resource intensive. The primary objective of our study was to investigate whether an early interview day with feedback (IDWF) provides interview preparation to internal applicants to general surgery residency without negatively impacting their rank list position at our program.

Methods: Internal applicants to the general surgery residency program at a single academic institution were invited to an early interview day after which they received individualized feedback and attended a workshop on interview techniques. Applicants were anonymously surveyed after The Match to measure their experiences with the IDWF. Two years of post-intervention program rank lists were compared to those from the five years pre-intervention to assess for change in rank list position of internal applicants. Participants included the 16 of 20 internal applicants who completed the survey. De-identified rank order data of internal applicants between 2014 and 2020 included 48 applicants.

Results: All applicants believed the IDWF should be continued, and over half reported improved confidence and made changes from feedback. Rank list analysis demonstrated no statistically significant change in the proportion of internal applicants who ranked in the top 40 nor the average rank position of internal applicants.

Conclusions: An early interview day with feedback provides interview preparation in a resource-efficient manner without harming rank list position. The IDWF may be generalizable to other institutions to provide interview preparation to general surgery residency applicants.

Keywords: General surgery; Internship and residency; Interviews as topic; Medical students; Undergraduate medical education.