VanOrder T, Robbins W, Zemper E. Residency Program Directors’ Interview Methods and Satisfaction With Resident Selection Across Multiple Specialties. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2017;117(4):226–232. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.040.
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Context: Competition for postdoctoral training positions is at an all-time high, and residency program directors continue to have little direction when it comes to structuring an effective interview process.
Objectives: To examine whether a relationship existed between interview methods used and program director satisfaction with resident selection decisions and whether programs that used methods designed to assess candidate personal characteristics were more satisfied with their decisions.
Methods: Residency directors from the Statewide Campus System at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine were invited to complete a 20-item survey regarding their recent interview methods and proportion of resident selections later regretted. Data analyses examined relationships between interview methods used, frequency of personal characteristics evaluated, and subsequent satisfaction with selected residents.
Results: Of the 186 program director surveys distributed, 83 (44.6%) were returned, representing 11 clinical specialty areas. In total, 69 responses (83.1%) were from programs accredited by the American Osteopathic Association only, and 14 (16.9%) were from programs accredited dually by the American Osteopathic Association and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The most frequent interview method reported was faculty or peer resident interview. No statistically significant correlational relationships were found between type of interview methods used and subsequent satisfaction with selected residents, either within or across clinical specialties. Although program directors rated ethical behavior/honesty as the most highly prioritized characteristic in residents, 27 (32.5%) reported using a specific interview method to assess this trait. Program directors reported later regrets concerning nearly 1 of every 12 resident selection decisions.
Conclusion: The perceived success of an osteopathic residency program’s interview process does not appear to be related to methods used and is not distinctively different from that of programs dually accredited. The findings suggest that it may not be realistic to aim for standardization of a common set of best interview methods or ideal personal characteristics for all programs. Each residency program’s optimal interview process is likely unique, more dependent on analyzing why some resident selections are regretted and developing an interview process designed to assess for specific desirable and unwanted characteristics.
Keywords: medical education, residency match, residency programs
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