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Should Radiology Residency Interviews Remain Virtual? Results of a Multi-institutional Survey Inform the Debate

Published:November 18, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2021.10.017

      Rationale and Objectives

      The recent completion of the inaugural virtual interview season has triggered calls for the permanency of virtual interviews in the radiology resident selection process. We designed a study to assess the inaugural 2020-2021 virtual interview season and inform the anticipated debate on the future of radiology residency interviews.

      Materials and Methods

      Forty-four and 39-question survey instruments developed for program directors (PDs) and applicants, respectively, were distributed through the Radiology Residency Education Research Alliance to measure the demographics, experiences with technology, attitudes toward the virtual interview season and attitudes about proposed changes to the interview process. Comparisons were made between demographics and survey queries.

      Results

      PD and applicant response rates were 74% (25/34) and 45% (84/186), respectively. Eighty percent (20/25) of PDs and 76% (64/84) of applicants described the virtual interview season as excellent or very good. Sixty percent of PDs agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “The benefits of the virtual interview season outweighed the drawbacks,” while 24% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 16% were neutral. Among applicants, 80% agreed or strongly agreed, 10% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 10% were neutral toward the same statement. Ninety-two percent of PDs noted that their rank order list performed the same or better than in years prior. Both PDs and applicants identified applicant equity and wellness as major benefits of virtual interviews, while identifying over-application and interview hoarding as significant detriments.

      Conclusion

      The virtual interview provides an adequate substitute for the conventional in-person residency interview, with real and perceived benefits to applicant wellness, equity, and financial well-being. The downsides of virtual interviews, namely over-application and interview hoarding, have workable solutions.

      Key Words

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