Since the Covid 19 pandemic, most residency interviews went virtual to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. This was a quick transition from the in-person interviews, but medical graduates had to manage the switch and we empathize with them. This year residency interviews are going to be virtual again. As an education organization, we have had our hand in helping countless students with interview prep, and have provided our expertise to assist dozens of candidates to successfully get into medical residency.
Let’s break down the benefits and drawbacks of virtual interviews.
The amount of money and expenditure that is needed for travel expenses to interview is overbearing for medical school graduates. So having to do the residency interview online, saves the interviewee, money. It was recorded that on average medical residency applicants spent a total of $2500 for travel and lodging. Preparing for a virtual interview involves the bare minimum: getting a ring light and good internet service. With just investing in those items a student spends at most, $200.
Virtual interviews provide flexibility to applicants if they have clashing interview schedules and they take up less time than traveling and attending an in-person interview.
Having that one-on-one interview in person can give a medical graduate a sense of personal connection when applying to a residency. Not only do they “experience” the interview with a program director who has given them a chance to interview for the position, interviewee also get to interact with peers and future mentors with a dinner or social gathering. A virtual interview just isn’t the same. Virtually visiting the town where the residency is also is not the same as actually being there. And if you spend 3 to 5 years in residency you better like the town.
Another drawback is making sure you can have your virtual interview in a quiet environment without disturbances. If you live with family this can be a problem as family can be loud at times, but if you can find a peaceful corner where you can manage to do the interview then this doesn’t deem to be such a trying issue.
Technical difficulties can be a problem that arises when conducting an online interview. If your internet is lagging or goes out, this can pose anxiety and risk a medical graduates’ chances of getting into that program. There’s also the case where the microphone won’t be working efficiently, or the camera is giving a low pixelated quality of the interviewee. All of these are things to take into consideration when vouching for virtual interviews.
What to expect in the future?
A study was done in 2020 in Texas where medical students filled out a questionnaire on their preference of interview type and majority of them unanimously liked in-person. But with the ease and convenience that virtual interviews offer, it favors in that aspect over in-person, hence residencies will hybridize the interviews or provide it as an option. We know of the ins and outs of residency interviews and can save you the trouble and worry to best prepare for them.