The process for interviewing fellowship candidates changed dramatically during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 recruitment seasons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with applicants and programs developing new approaches for the application and recruitment process and conducting interviews almost exclusively via a virtual format. These past recruitment cycles highlighted the strengths and challenges of conducting interviews virtually – in particular, balancing most applicants access to interviews.
- AAIM recommends fellowship programs conduct virtual interviews for all applicants, including learners at their own institution.
- Without further evaluation of safeguards to maintain equity for applicants, AAIM recommends against in-person visits as part of the interview process, including in-person interviews, open houses, or program-sponsored second looks.
- AAIM recommends fellowship programs adopt clear standards for communicating interview status (invitation, waitlist, or rejection) with applicants and describe their communication process and timeline on their program’s website.
- AAIM recommends residency program directors use a standardized fellowship letter of recommendation.
- AAIM recommends residency programs provide resources to help residents prepare for fellowship interviews.
- AAIM recommends fellowship programs provide training for faculty on strategies to mitigate implicit bias in interviews, and on appropriate interview and post-interview communication. Standardized interview questions would help limit bias in interviews by focusing on factors that have a direct impact on performance.
The Alliance thanks the APDIM – ASP Writing Group for reviewing and revising these guidelines: Vera P. Luther, MD; Ricardo Correa, MD, EdD; Laurel B. Fick, MD, FACP; Gaby Weissman, MD, FACC; Valerie O.
Interview strategies and methods changed in adaptation to the pandemic. New policies were developed, adopted, and continue to serve most applicants and programs. As stakeholders explore options to address systemic issues within the recruitment and interview process, the guidance provided should help learners, faculty, and administrators navigate the current landscape. AAIM acknowledges the complex and evolving nature of this current landscape; recommendations are made in the spirit of equity and fairness for all applicants, educators, staff, and others involved in the interview process. Evaluation of benefits and disadvantages of interview practices should continue on an ongoing basis, with iterative adjustments made in future guidance for fellowship programs.
Review the guidance