Anesthesiology Residency Recruitment: A Prospective Study Comparing In-Person and Virtual Interviews

J Educ Perioper Med. 2022 Jan 1;24(1):E681. doi: 10.46374/volxxiv_issue1_nizamuddin. eCollection 2022 Jan-Mar.


Background: Residency recruitment requires significant resources for both applicants and residency programs. Virtual interviews offer a way to reduce the time and costs required during the residency interview process. This prospective study investigated how virtual interviews affected scoring of anesthesiology residency applicants and whether this effect differed from in-person interview historical controls.

Methods: Between November 2020 and January 2021, recruitment members at the University of Chicago scored applicants before their interview based upon written application materials alone (preinterview score). Applicants received a second score after their virtual interview (postinterview score). Recruitment members were queried regarding the most important factor affecting the preinterview score as well as the effect of certain specified applicant interview characteristics on the postinterview score. Previously published historical controls were used for comparison to in-person recruitment the year prior from the same institution.

Results: Eight hundred and sixteen virtual interviews involving 272 applicants and 19 faculty members were conducted. The postinterview score was higher than the preinterview score (4.06 versus 3.98, P value of <.0001). The change in scores after virtual interviews did not differ from that after in-person interviews conducted the previous year (P = .378). The effect of each characteristic on score change due to the interview did not differ between in-person and virtual interviews (all P values >.05). The factor identified by faculty as the most important in the preinterview score was academic achievements (64%), and faculty identified the most important interview characteristic to be personality (72%).

Conclusions: Virtual interviews led to a significant change in scoring of residency applicants, and the magnitude of this change was similar compared with in-person interviews. Further studies should elaborate on the effect of virtual recruitment on residency programs and applicants.

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