The First Episode of the Thalamus Grand Rounds Podcast is Now Live: Virtual Interview Best Practices

It seems virtual interviews will be the standard for the 2021-2022 residency application season.  Last year, program coordinators made this change incredibly well considering the unprecedented constraints. This year, however, it’s time to uplevel your virtual interviews and make the process as effective and seamless as possible for all stakeholders. 

We thought this would be the perfect topic for the inaugural episode of our new podcast, Thalamus Grand Rounds, created by and for current and former residents,  program coordinators and directors to spotlight and empower GME leaders to innovate the residency and fellowship recruitment processes.  You’ll hear insightful discussions about all things GME including virtual interview best practices, managing expectations of applicants and faculty, promoting DEI initiatives and holistic review, data and analytics to drive recruitment and much more. 

This week, I sat down with Carey McDonald, MBA, Residency Program Manager for the East Carolina University Department of OB/GYN, and Tim Burns, Program Administrator for the University of Vermont Medical Center OB/GYN Residency Program. We had a robust and frank discussion about creating an excellent virtual interview process, and navigating the challenges and benefits of a fully virtual interview season. 

Carey specifically stated about a long-term virtual system, “It’s not scary. It was different, but I still felt like the people we matched with last year, even though we had only ever met them from the neck up, were the people that we wanted in our program, and that were a good fit with us. It’s still possible to get a really good class even though everything is virtual.

To listen to Episode 1: Virtual Interview Best Practices, click here or find us on Spotify.

You’ll gain great insights from Tim and Carey such as

  • How a virtual season actually offers more equity and financial ease to applicants. 
  • What to know about holding virtual, interactive events that will make your program appealing to applicants.
  • How current residents can help applicants feel more connected with your program. 
  • How to use video, social media, and other tools to enable applicants to get a sense of what it’s like at your hospital and the surrounding area. 
  • Equipping your team with knowledge of proper lighting and audio standards for conducting interviews. 

We also discussed things that program coordinators should always keep in mind, such as finding candidates that are the perfect fit for your program holistically, rather than focusing on their scores alone. 

Tim shared that his team at University of Vermont had a very successful Match because they took into consideration a range of candidate attributes. “Don’t interview people just because of their scores. [We asked students] Do you have ties to Vermont? Are you interested in a rural location? Are there things at our program that are going to make you [the doctor you want to be]?”

It was a great conversation, and whether you’re a program coordinator looking to run an optimal virtual interview season, or an applicant looking to get the inside scoop, I encourage you to give it a listen. 
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