Applicant Perspectives on Virtual Otolaryngology Residency Interviews

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Dec;131(12):1325-1332. doi: 10.1177/00034894211057374. Epub 2022 Jan 9.


Objective: Residency interviews serve as an opportunity for prospective applicants to evaluate programs and to determine their potential fit within them. The 2019 SARS-CoV2 pandemic mandated programs conduct interviews virtually for the first time. The purpose of this study was to assess applicant perspectives on the virtual interview.

Methods: A Qualtrics survey assessing applicant characteristics and attitudes toward the virtual interview was designed and disseminated to otorhinolaryngology applicants from 3 large academic institutions in the 2020 to 2021 application cycle.

Results: A total of 33% of survey applicants responded. Most applicants were satisfied with the virtual interview process. Applicants reported relatively poor quality of interactions with residents and an inability to assess the "feel" of a geographic area. Most applicants received at least 11 interviews with over a third of applicants receiving >16 interviews. Only 5% of applicants completed >20 interviews. Most applicants believed interviews should be capped between 15 and 20 interviews. Most applicants reported saving >$5000, with over a quarter of applicants saving >$8000, and roughly one-third of applicants saving at least 2 weeks of time with virtual versus in-person interviews.

Conclusions: While virtual interviews have limitations, applicants are generally satisfied with the experience. Advantages include cost and time savings for both applicants and programs, as well as easy use of technology. Continuation of the virtual interview format could be considered in future application cycles; geographical limitations may be overcome with in-person second looks, and increased emphasis should be placed on resident interactions during and prior to interview day.

Keywords: COVID-19; otolaryngology; residency interview; the Match; virtual interview.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Otolaryngology* / education
  • RNA, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • RNA, Viral