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How Thalamus Streamlines Remote and Video Interviews for Residency and Fellowship Programs

Posted by: in GME , Interview Tips , Thalamus , Video Interviews

Date: March 18, 2020

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Thalamus. Video Interview. video conference. How Thalamus streamlines remote and video interviews for residency and fellowship programs.

Due to technological advances over the last decade, video conferencing has emerged as an increasingly popular tool for collaboration amongst the workforce for meetings, team huddles and especially for interviews.  Not surprisingly, the practice has become more popular in GME recruitment as video interviews for residency and fellowship programs have been studied in the literature for years and have become more popular over the past few years as programs and specialty organizations have begun outlining best practices.   Thalamus, the most preferred GME interview management software, has supported remote and video residency and fellowship interviews since our inception in December 2013.

However, and perhaps not unsurprisingly, in a field where the in-person interview has long been held critically important, the modality has often been criticized for being underutilized.  In fact, the American Association of Medical College (AAMC) piloted a Standardized Video Interview (SVI) program in Emergency Medicine over the last several interview seasons, although the program will not be renewed or expanded for the ERAS 2021 application cycle “based on an assessment of factors necessary for the successful continuation and expansion of the initiative.”And yet, when managed effectively, video interviewing certainly has several benefits, including decreasing the cost of interviews for candidates and programs alike. 

Now, in the current period of #socialdistancing in response to the COVID-19 crisis, distance-driven solutions are quickly jumping into the limelight as an immediate solution to interviewing candidates unable to travel.  And, while the residency interview season will wrap up with Match Day 2020 this week, fellowship programs are in the heart of their interview seasons.  As such, video interviews are a hot topic in GME (and obviously the driving factor for this blog post!).  

Team Thalamus uses video conferencing technologies daily in our team stand-ups (our team has always celebrated being a remote and distributed company) as well as interacting with our current and potential customers through screen shares, demos and more. 

a group of people posing for a photo

In fact, residency and fellowship programs have a history of using Thalamus to organize their video interviews through the main residency and fellowship matches AND during the Supplemental Offer Acceptance Program (SOAP).  Here are key strategies for utilizing Thalamus to ensure the most streamlined and successful video interview season, especially in light of current events.

Thalamus Provides Easy Scheduling of Video Interviews

Regardless of whether you are interviewing in person or via video conferencing, the interview needs to be scheduled.  Thalamus serves as a centralized platform for residency and fellowship programs to streamline and organize their candidate data and interviews.  We are the fastest growing solution in GME interview management and are now widely used in over 150 institutions across the US and Canada in over 100 specialties.  Thalamus integrates with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) as well as the San Francisco (SF) Match.  Even those specialties not using a centralized application service can take advantage of the conveniences of using Thalamus.  

Programs can setup an algorithm using our Track and Tier features, which allow interview positions to be reserved for particular types of candidates.  This includes a track that can be specifically made for “Video Interviews.”  Additionally, our calendar allows for scheduling multiple interviews on a given day, which is perfect for scheduling ten, fifteen, thirty or hour-long video interview sessions.  

Thalamus Home Page

Thalamus Allows for Easy Dissemination of Video Interview Information

Video conferencing software of all types are great at setting up one-on-one or even group interviews.   However, the nuances of scheduling GME interviews present additional organization and scheduling challenges.  Thalamus streamlines this by allowing for easy dissemination of video interview information.

  1. Thalamus provides each program its own unique profile where information can be stored and is then viewable to all candidates invited to interview.
Thalamus program profile displaying information about video interviews.
  1. Thalamus allows for the creation of specific tracks for video interviews, which allows programs to give permission to certain candidates to sign up for video interviews (vs. in-person).  This field is also filterable to run reports on candidates who complete video interviews. 
Tracks may be set up in Thalamus specifically for video interviews.
  1. Thalamus’ email feature allows for creation of customized emails which include attachments.  The software allows both internal messages sent through our “Send Template” feature as well as externally through a mail client (such as Outlook, Gmail, etc.) for easy sharing of video conferencing links.
Video interview instructions and links included in custom emails sent though Thalamus.
  1. Each event on Thalamus’ calendar has a description and attachments section viewable by candidates signed up for that event.  If positions are assigned to a “video interview” track, only those candidates granted permission to assign video interviews will see these events.  There is also a “private event” feature to ensure that only scheduled candidates can view an event (including video interview events).
Candidate view of Thalamus showing link to a video interview.
  1. Thalamus’ itinerary builder allows for customizing the interview day schedules of particular candidates and faculty.  Whether running an in-person or completely virtual interview day, the itinerary builder allows for easy scheduling and reporting of any individual’s interview day!
Thalamus tinerary builder showing custom schedules for candidates/faculty both for in-person/video interviews.

Thalamus Builds Video Interviewing Technologies Directly Into our Software

Thalamus can currently support streamlining the management of programs using any video conferencing technology including Zoom, WebEx, Blue Jeans, Google Hangouts Chat, Microsoft Teams, Skype or any other video conferencing technology.  While we have always planned to incorporate video conferencing technology directly into our software, there wasn’t necessarily enough demand in the market to justify the development effort.  However, this has changed over the last few weeks, and we anticipate this will be a growing trend in GME interview management. 

Thus, we are excited to announce the launch of a private (and free!) beta of Thalamus’ new video conferencing software!

To learn more, please contact us at sales@thalamusgme.com. We are excited to support GME recruitment starting with residency programs going through SOAP and fellowship programs currently in the middle of their recruitment seasons.

While this initial roll out will be limited, Team Thalamus is planning on a full release of the feature for the 2021 ERAS application cycle (starting in September 2020)! Video interviews will now be able to be conducted directly through Thalamus and further integrate with our survey, scoring, notes and ranking features!  We are thrilled about what is to come for Thalamus in general, and our current user feedback has shown great interest in the upcoming video interview feature!

In Summary

Given the current events, Thalamus is more committed than ever to supporting video interviewing.  We are ready to immediately support our users and potential new customers through the challenges of recruiting in the era of COVID-19. We have many prior successes scheduling and managing video interviews through our highly-celebrated interview management platform.  We have a number of features which can enhance and streamline your video interview process and will fully support integrated video interviews for the ERAS 2021 application cycle (we a free, private beta currently ongoing).  Want to learn more about Thalamus, please contact us or request a demo (which can be done via video conferencing 😊) today!  

Written by: in GME , Interview Tips , Thalamus , Video Interviews

Jason Reminick, MD, MBA, MS, is the CEO and Founder of Thalamus. He is passionate about medical innovation, education, and technology. Jason is a published author with work featured in top journals including The Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME) and The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Formerly, Jason trained in the combined Pediatrics/Anesthesiology residency program at Stanford University with clinical interests in pediatric chronic pain management. He was recognized as a Physician of Tomorrow award recipient (2012) by the American Medical Association for his entrepreneurial and medical journalism pursuits. Trapped in NYC during Hurricane Sandy at the start of his residency application season, Jason and Thalamus Coming! Founder Dr. Suzie Karan, are committed to optimizing the application process for applicants and programs alike.

Thalamus is the premier cloud-based interview management platform designed specifically for application to Graduate Medical Education training programs. We are the experts in the residency and fellowship application processes. Learn more about Thalamus.

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