Live On Line Video Interviews Dramatically Improve the Plastic Surgery Residency Application Process
Kaveh Alizadeh, MD MSc.
Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, Garden City, NY, USA.
Live online video interviews (LOVI) allow employers and prospective applicants to share information in an environmentally and economically efficient manner. The Plastic Surgery Residency Matching Program recently used the web to minimize the need for paperwork in the application process. As the competition for plastic surgery residency spots increases, there is a pressure on the applicants to apply to as many programs as possible to optimize the chance of securing a spot for the match. We have started a pilot study to ascertain whether the use of LOVI will help minimize the need for unnecessary interviews during the application process.
We first conducted a survey of all the candidates who had an interview with the Nassau University Medical Center Plastic Surgery residency program in 2009. We then took a random sample of 10 applicants that we had interviewed personally and performed a Skype video online conferencing with each to ascertain whether the experience could provide a parallel match. A total of 5 questions were repeated for each applicant at the in-person interview and the LOVI and the response was scored based on completeness, ease of discussion, and relevant conclusions reached by the candidate. Candidates were also compared based on their demeanor, poise, and being articulate in each setting.
There were a total of 100 applicants and a total of 24 applicants were interviewed with 50% response rate to our survey. The average applicant applied to 10 programs (range 6-18) and spent an average of $8000 on interviews (range $5000-$12000) including travel and accommodations. The candidates also spent an average of 12 days away form their program, most of them utilizing their vacation time. 10 applicants who were compared in-person vs LOVI showed similar results in across all categories. The only exception was ease of discussion since all the candidates were perceived to be more relaxed during the LOVI.
The results of our study confirm the need to develop new ways of making the interview process more efficient for plastic surgery residency applicants. Based on our study, we see the following advantages to incorporate LOVI:
1. Time: In the current model, applicants can only choose a given day set up by the program director and may have to miss an interview day if there is a conflict with another program interview date. LOVI allows the candidates and the interviewers to set up a time that suits both parties at a mutually agreeable time.
2. Cost: LOI only requires a computer terminal and the camera hardware to make the interview process. It can cut down on the costs of travel and accommodation that can reach over $10,000 per candidate.
3. Green: As we plan for a greener economy, LOVI allows our specialty to play a role to decrease the need for airline travel and unnecessary paperwork that pollutes our environment.
LOVI is an extremely effective tool to screen candidates that may not be able to participate in the interview process because of time or financial constraints.
Back to Program