The Influence of the In-person Residency Interview: A Prospective Study

J Educ Perioper Med. 2021 Oct 1;23(4):E676. doi: 10.46374/volxxiii_issue4_nizamuddin. eCollection 2021 Oct-Dec.


Background: This prospective study investigated whether in-person interviews affected interviewer assessments of anesthesiology residency applicants at an academic medical center, and which applicant characteristics influenced interview performance.

Methods: Eighteen faculty members involved in residency recruitment between November 2019 and January 2020 documented preinterview (after full application review) and postinterview scores of the applicants on a scale of 1 to 5. Faculty also reported the relative contributions of specific interview characteristics (personality, physical appearance, professional demeanor, discussion regarding academic/scholarly activity, and level of interest in the specialty) to their postinterview assessments. Mixed-effects models were used to assess whether interviews changed faculty assessment of applicants, and what the relative contributions of applicant characteristics were to faculty assessments.

Results: A total of 696 interviews were conducted with 232 applicants. The postinterview scores differed significantly from the preinterview scores (estimated mean difference, 0.09 ± 0.02; P < 0.0001). The characteristics most affecting postinterview scores were positive impressions of applicants' personalities (marginal mean change in postinterview score, 0.259; 95% confidence interval, 0.221-0.297) and negative impressions of applicants' professional demeanor (marginal mean change, -0.257; 95% confidence interval, -0.350 to -0.164).

Conclusions: In-person interviews significantly affected residency applicants' scores. Personality and professional demeanor influenced scores more than did other characteristics examined. Further studies are needed to clarify the relevance of in-person interviews to the assessment of residency applicants.

Keywords: Residency; anesthesiology; graduate medical education; interview; recruitment.