Virtual Interviewing Remains Best Practice for 2021, May Explain Increase in Fellowship Applicants
As the 2021-2022 interviewing and recruitment season gets underway, ASN continues to strongly encourage nephrology fellowship programs to conduct all interviews with applicants during the recruitment cycle remotely. Health, safety, and equity are key factors of this best practice.
As the 2021-2022 interviewing and recruitment season gets underway, ASN continues to strongly encourage nephrology fellowship programs to conduct all interviews with applicants during the recruitment cycle remotely. Health, safety, and equity are key factors of this best practice, which was also encouraged widely in 2020.
In terms of cost and time associated with virtual recruitment, applications, and interviews, there have been considerable benefits for candidates, which may explain why the number of fellowship applicants have increased.
“Across the United States, there was a 52% increase in all fellowship applicants and a 25% increase in nephrology fellowship applications for the 2021 academic year compared with 2020, presumably due to the ease of applications and lower cost of virtual interviews,” point out Samira S. Farouk, MD, MS, FASN, and Kirk N. Campbell, MD, FASN, in a recent perspective in CJASN, “Virtual Interviews for Nephrology Fellowship Candidates.”
ASN is committed to ensuring the continued health and safety of applicants and home institutions, as well as maximizing equity for candidates from different geographic backgrounds and financial means. The society recognizes applicants may choose to visit a city and program after their interview to make sure they are amenable to their needs, but programs should not disadvantage applicants who are unable to travel due to personal or programmatic decisions.
Although the recent increase in fellowship applicants presents a challenge of screening higher numbers of applicants, it also encourages fellowship programs to interview more candidates. Considerations related to fairness and the well-being of candidates remain paramount as fellowship programs and medical education offices weigh the pros and cons of virtual versus in person interviews.
Despite missed opportunities to interact on a more personal level and tour the facilities on campus, the benefits of virtual interviews, as Farouk and Campbell recognize, are significant: scheduling multiple interviews on consecutive days, increased interviewer/applicant comfort, lower cost, and increased flexibility.