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Abstract: PO1055

Virtual Interviewing in the COVID-19 Era: What Have We Learned?

Session Information

  • Educational Research
    November 04, 2021 | Location: On-Demand, Virtual Only
    Abstract Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Category: Educational Research

  • 800 Educational Research

Authors

  • Jain, Koyal, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
  • Hladik, Gerald A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
  • Roy-Chaudhury, Prabir, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
  • Jawa, Pankaj, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Background

The COVID-19 pandemic forced institutions across the US to switch to virtual interviewing. While some institutions were already offering virtual interviews on a limited basis, this was the first time all interviews were conducted using a virtual platform. Herein, we describe the experience of the nephrology fellowship interviewees at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Methods

We distributed an anonymous Qualtrics survey to all the nephrology fellowship interviewees (N=80) at UNC. The survey included questions on quality of virtual interviews and was completed after the match to avoid bias related to the matching process.

Results

Thirty-one candidates completed the survey (39%), although not all questions were answered by everyone. The total number of interviewees increased from 41 in 2019-20 to 80 in 2020-21. 95% were satisfied with their virtual experience. 82% indicated that the virtual interview process enabled an informed decision about the fellowship program. Everyone was satisfied with the organization of the interview day (N=22). 28% responders (5/18) identified as underrepresented minority (URM). In 2019-20, 6/41 interviewees identified as URM as compared to 14/80 in 2020-21. The most common reasons for not ranking our program amongst the top three included limited job opportunities for partners, inability to visit the area, and lack of family in the area. Candidates valued the people they met and were able to get a good feel for the program despite virtual interviews. They were particularly satisfied with the opportunity to meet fellows one on one. Interviewees specified lower cost and time efficiency as advantages of virtual interviews.

Conclusion

This is the first report of the virtual interview experience for nephrology fellowship applicants. The virtual interview process increased the applications to our program although the number of URM applications were similar compared to previous years. There was uniform satisfaction with the virtual format and interviewees were able to appreciate the culture of the division. Most applicants found the virtual interview format favorable because of reduced cost and time expenditure, enabling them to interview at more programs. Our data suggest that serious consideration should be given to a virtual format in future years to provide opportunity and flexibility to the applicant pool and improve geographical diversity.