Virtual interviewing for graduate medical education recruitment and selection: A BEME systematic review: BEME Guide No. 80

Med Teach. 2022 Dec;44(12):1313-1331. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2022.2130038. Epub 2022 Nov 12.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused graduate medical education (GME) programs to pivot to virtual interviews (VIs) for recruitment and selection. This systematic review synthesizes the rapidly expanding evidence base on VIs, providing insights into preferred formats, strengths, and weaknesses.

Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, ERIC, PsycINFO, MedEdPublish, and Google Scholar were searched from 1 January 2012 to 21 February 2022. Two authors independently screened titles, abstracts, full texts, performed data extraction, and assessed risk of bias using the Medical Education Research Quality Instrument. Findings were reported according to Best Evidence in Medical Education guidance.

Results: One hundred ten studies were included. The majority (97%) were from North America. Fourteen were conducted before COVID-19 and 96 during the pandemic. Studies involved both medical students applying to residencies (61%) and residents applying to fellowships (39%). Surgical specialties were more represented than other specialties. Applicants preferred VI days that lasted 4-6 h, with three to five individual interviews (15-20 min each), with virtual tours and opportunities to connect with current faculty and trainees. Satisfaction with VIs was high, though both applicants and programs found VIs inferior to in-person interviews for assessing 'fit.' Confidence in ranking applicants and programs was decreased. Stakeholders universally noted significant cost and time savings with VIs, as well as equity gains and reduced carbon footprint due to eliminating travel.

Conclusions: The use of VIs for GME recruitment and selection has accelerated rapidly. The findings of this review offer early insights that can guide future practice, policy, and research.

Keywords: Best evidence medical education; COVID-19; medicine; postgraduate; recruitment and selection; virtual interviews.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Education, Medical*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Pandemics