Maternal–fetal medicine fellowship program director perspective on virtual interviews following matriculation of the first virtual interview class


      The first class of virtually interviewed maternal–fetal medicine fellows has matriculated into their training programs.


      This study aimed to evaluate the impact of virtual interviews on the outcomes of the National Resident Matching Program within our subspecialty. We assessed maternal–fetal medicine fellowship program directors’ experience with their fellows who interviewed virtually as compared with experience with the previous year's fellows who interviewed in-person. In addition, we evaluated program directors’ satisfaction with the virtual interview process and their preferred mode of interviewing for future cycles.


      A cross-sectional online survey was distributed through the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine to all maternal–fetal medicine fellowship program directors on October 26, 2021, approximately 4 months after the first virtually interviewed fellow matriculated into the training program. Program directors were asked to provide information about their National Resident Matching Program rank list between their final in-person and first virtual years. Program directors were asked to evaluate their experience with their fellow 4 months into the first year of fellowship compared with their expectations based on their virtual interview, and their experience at that same point in fellowship of their last fellow who interviewed in-person. For all questions, in programs with >1 fellow per year, program directors were asked to answer the questions for the fellow ranked highest on their National Resident Matching Program rank list for each year. Survey data were collected anonymously and stored securely. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were performed to compare groups, all tests were 2-sided, and the significance level was set at P<.05.


      A total of 80 of 98 (81.6%) program directors responded. There was no difference in the position of the matched fellow on the program's National Resident Matching Program rank list between candidates interviewed in-person and candidates interviewed virtually. There was also no difference in the number of programs that took an internal or external candidate outside of the National Resident Matching Program match process or that did not fill their fellowship positions. Program directors reported no difference between fellows interviewed virtually and those interviewed in-person in meeting interview-based performance expectations with regard to clinical capabilities (P=.67), technical skills (P=.96), research potential or experience (P=.54), professionalism and ability to be a team player (P=.72), and compatibility with the division and fellowship program (P=.67). Program directors’ overall experience with virtual interviews was favorable: 70 (95.8%) program directors reported that the virtual interview experience was better than expected, slightly better than expected, or as expected. In future years, most program directors favored ongoing exclusively virtual interviewing (n=41; 56.2%) or a hybrid of virtual and in-person interviews (n=27; 37.0%). Only 5 (6.9%) reported a desire to return to exclusively in-person interviewing.


      Maternal–fetal medicine fellowship program directors did not identify a difference in National Resident Matching Program results between fellows interviewed virtually and those interviewed in-person. Furthermore, there was no difference between these fellows in meeting interview-based expectations in the first year of the training program. Most program directors found the virtual interview process to be effective and support ongoing virtual interviews.

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