Postmatch Perceptions of Virtual Interviews Among Orthopaedic Surgery Program Directors and Candidates: Results of an Online Survey

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Interviews are considered fundamental to the residency application. Universal implementation of virtual interviews (VIs) caused substantial modifications to the 2020/2021 residency application cycle. Previous work elucidated the expectations and perceptions of candidates and program directors (PDs) prior to the match. The authors aimed to assess whether the match results affected perceptions of VIs.


An online survey was distributed to candidates and PDs of the 2020/2021 orthopaedic surgery residency application cycle. Questions assessed match results, the perceived impact of VIs, and interview format preferences for upcoming application cycles.


Responses included 39 PDs (20% response rate) and 71 candidates (14% response rate). PDs in the sample reported filling all positions. Of the 71 candidates, 19 went unmatched. Candidates had significantly higher prematch expectations of the impact of VIs than PDs (P=0.039). PDs reported significantly different changes in perception of VIs after the match compared with candidates, with more positive views of VIs reported (P=0.009). Compared with matched candidates, unmatched candidates expressed significantly greater dissatisfaction with the match result (P<0.001).


PDs reported higher satisfaction with VIs than expected after the match compared with prematch expectations. Candidates’ opinions of VIs postmatch were polarized. Unmatched candidates expressed a high level of dissatisfaction with the match and overwhelmingly felt VIs negatively affected their chances of matching. A large majority of PDs and matched candidates were satisfied with the outcomes of the match and VIs; nevertheless, this did not confer broad support for continuing VIs in the future.

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Level IV



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