. The cost of convenience: Fellow and program director perspectives on the adequacy of virtual fellowship interviews as a replacement for in-person interviews (2317)

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Gynecol Oncol


Objectives: Gynecologic oncology fellowship interviews have shifted to a virtual format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We assessed fellow and program director (PD) experiences with virtual and in-person fellowship interviewing and satisfaction with the subsequent match results.

Methods: Surveys were designed and distributed via email to gynecologic oncology fellowship PDs and current fellows interviewed in either 2019 or 2020. Fellows and PDs were asked to reflect on their interview experiences and to indicate through five-level Likert scale questions and free text responses the adequacy of the interview process and the degree to which their interview experience was concordant with their current experience after the match.

Results: We received 48 responses, 21 from fellows and 27 from program directors. PDs sent an average of 22 invitations per available position in 2019; 38% reported sending more invitations in 2020, with an average increase of 6 additional interviews per available position. Fellows who interviewed virtually applied to similar numbers of programs as those who interviewed in person (39 vs 45, P = 0.32) but reported receiving significantly fewer invitations (19 vs 26, P = 0.035). Fellows who interviewed virtually spent significantly less money on average than those who interviewed in person ($83.33 vs $6833.33, P < 0.0001). Most PDs agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to assess candidates for fit and showcase their program's unique attributes (79.3% and 70.0%, respectively). However, only 53.3% agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to rank virtual applicants confidently. Most fellows felt similarly able to assess fit (90.4% overall, 91.6% virtual, 88.8% in-person) and rank with confidence (95.2% overall, 100% virtual, 88.8% in-person). Of the fellows who interviewed virtually, 83.3% agreed or strongly agreed that their current experiences were congruent with the impressions from their interview day. Similarly, 73.3% of PDs agreed or strongly agreed that their in-person experiences with their first-year fellows were congruent with their expectations of them based on their virtual interview. Fellow free text responses most commonly discussed themes relating to cost, ease of scheduling, and assessing program culture. PD themes not only included cost and applicant perceptions of programs but also emphasized the importance of social interaction.

Conclusions: PDs and fellows who interviewed virtually report feeling satisfied with the virtual interview process, with the majority recommending that it be continued in the future. Issues of cost and the ability to assess program culture were the most commonly cited areas of concern among both fellows and program directors. Virtual interviewing with opportunities for in-person interaction or “second looks” has been proposed as a solution that may address the concerns identified in our survey.



First Page


Last Page