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With residency interview time on us, pressure is felt by faculty to balance clinical productivity with residency candidate interviews. Residency programme invites candidates for interviews after reviewing the candidate’s credentials. The interview day is designed to allow candidates to evaluate the programme and for the programme to evaluate candidates. Beyond credentials and reputation, both sides are seeking the elusive ‘right fit’. Candidate credentials, such as the personal statement, letter of recommendation and transcripts, are available in programmes such as Oriel in the UK or ERAS (electronic residency application service) in the USA. During the interview day, candidates may observe a typical academic conference and have lunch with residents. We have increased the number of faculty interviewers in order to decrease the time commitment per person, but this leads to decreased cohesion of the interview evaluation data. Some faculty are higher scorers and others lower, and the criteria used are not always apparent.
A good interviewer is able to ask questions that elicit information that is aligned with the six medical competencies; professionalism, medical knowledge, communication skills, system-based practice, practice-based learning and patient care, as well as goals and aims of the programme.1 A review of the literature suggests that many interviews are poorly structured and may actually fail due to an array of reasons, including interviewers forming an opinion about applicants before the interview begins, based mainly on applicant appearance or the interviewer monopolising the conversation.2 Structured interviews have been suggested as a way to mitigate these pitfalls.3 4 A standardised question is one that is written before the interview, is used for all candidates and is graded using a standardised grading rubric.
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