Video Interviews and Surgical Applicants’ Ability to Assess Fit to Residency Programs

Jorge G. Zárate Rodriguez, Connie Gan, Gregory A. Williams, Tia O. Drake, Thomas Ciesielski, Dominic E. Sanford, Michael M. Awad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recruitment cycle for the 2021 Match was performed virtually. This Association for Surgical Education (ASE)-sponsored survey set out to study applicants’ ability to assess the factors contributing to fit through video interviews. Methods: An IRB-approved, online, anonymous survey was distributed to surgical applicants at a single academic institution and through the ASE clerkship director distribution list between the rank order list certification deadline and Match Day. Applicants used 5-point Likert-type scales to rate factors for importance to fit and their ease of assessment through video interviewing. A variety of recruitment activities were also rated by applicants for their perceived helpfulness in assessment of fit. Results: One hundred and eighty-three applicants responded to the survey. The three most important factors for applicant fit were how much the program cared, how satisfied residents seem with their program, and how well residents get along. Resident rapport, diversity of the patient population, and quality of the facilities were hardest to assess through video interviews. In general, diversity-related factors were more important to female and non-White applicants, but not more difficult to assess. Interview day and resident-only virtual panels were the most helpful recruitment activities, while virtual campus tours, faculty-only panels, and a program's social media were the least helpful. Conclusions: This study provides valuable insight into the limitations of virtual recruitment for surgical applicants’ perception of fit. These findings and the recommendations herein should be taken into consideration by residency program leadership to ensure successful recruitment of diverse residency classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-159
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Residency recruitment
  • Video interviews
  • Virtual recruitment


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