The residency interview season is upon us, and I think both applicants and programs alike are curious about how it will pan out. This is the first year that interviews are entirely virtual, which has its pros and cons. The pros include saving enormous amounts of money and time not having to travel to interviews, and being able to apply to more programs as a result. Students have voiced similarly viewed disadvantages to the virtual process, such as not being able to get as good a feel for the program, missing out on the person-to-person interaction during the interview day, and not being able to explore the city in which the hospital is located, which are all very important points! Additionally, many people view virtual interactions as awkward and artificial compared to real-life interactions, so they may not perform as well with a computer screen separating the interviewer from themselves. While I do agree being in-person could portray an applicant in a more positive light, I think generally it should not make too much a difference as the same questions will be asked, and interviewers and applicants can still read each other’s body language and facial expressions via video chat.
To prepare for this virtual interview process, it is important to download all video platforms and practice using them prior to the interview to ensure you know how to use it. It will also be important to have a stable wi-fi connection because you don’t want to run into technical issues on the interview day. Practicing using the webcam itself will be useful as well, speaking from firsthand experience. There are little aspects, such as learning how to alternate looking at the screen and into the camera, that matter, as it reflects your eye contact and personability.
Read more tips for virtual interviews.