Virtual Pediatric Orthopaedic Fellowship Interviews during the Pandemic: What Did the Applicants and Programs Think?

Paul M. Inclan, Marcella R. Woiczik, Jason Cummings, Ryan Goodwin, Pooya Hosseinzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic precluded in-person interviews for the 2020-2021 fellowship application cycle and may impact future interview cycles. No information is available detailing the implications of a virtual format on either the interviewee or the fellowship program. Methods: Two surveys regarding the 2020-2021 virtual interview season were developed and distributed by the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) Fellowship Training and Practice Qualifications Committee: one survey for fellowship applicants and one survey for fellowship program directors. Results: Surveys were completed by 45 pediatric orthopaedic fellowship applicants and 34 fellowship program directors. Nineteen (42.2%) applicants applied to more programs because of the virtual format and 30 (66.7%) applicants accepted more interviews because of the virtual format. Thirty-one (67%) applicants did not feel the virtual interview format negatively affected their match process. Thirty-eight (84.4%) applicants indicated that they saved >$2000 with the virtual format. Approximately half (22/45, 48.5%) of the applicants would keep the fellowship-interview process virtual - even if in-person interviews were possible - whereas 8 (17.8%) applicants would transition back toward in-person interviews. Most program directors utilized online interviews for the first time (n=28, 82.3%) during the 2020-2021 application cycle. Programs interviewed more applicants for the 2020-2021 cycle than in the prior 5 years (19.3 vs. 15.7 applicants, P<0.01), with programs interviewing 10.1 applicants per fellowship position. The majority (n=22, 64.7%) of programs utilized Zoom for the interview platform. Program directors indicated that the applicants were either more accomplished (n=14, 41.2%) or similar in accomplishment (n=20, 58.8%) when compared with the applicants from prior years. Half of the program directors (n=17, 50%) surveyed would utilize virtual interviews next year, even if in-person interviews are possible. Conclusions: During the 2020-2021 fellowship application process, interviewees applied to and were interviewed at more programs because of the virtual format, while saving >$2000. In a similar manner, fellowship programs were able to interview a greater number of applicants without adversely impacting the applicant quality. Approximately half of the interviewees and program directors would continue to perform virtual interviews, even if in-person interviews are possible. Level of Evidence: Level V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E806-E810
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • fellowship training
  • medical education
  • orthopaedic fellowship
  • virtual interviews


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