Virtual Residency Interview Format

The circumstances we find ourselves in currently with the COVID-19 pandemic are hard to believe. Yet, as we fight for our patients every day, we cannot forget about other responsibilities for the future strength of the profession. That is why ensuring residency interviews for the incoming class continues on. As long as the format with which they’ve traditionally been handled chances.

While online and web-based meeting platforms are becoming more familiar in pharmacy circles, conducting an interview online can present its own set of challenges. But using simple modifications to a typical interview structure, you can still conduct interviews with largely the same format, in less time and with free tools.

Case By Case

A common component of many pharmacy residency interviews is having the candidates work up a patient case. Typically in these scenarios, candidates are given a clinical vignette with a few problems to specifically address. After working the patient up and creating a treatment plan, the case is presented and defended. This format can remain, regardless of whether you’re in the same room, city or state as the candidate you’re interviewing.

For this case format component of the interview, arrange a virtual conference with the candidate for a one-minute briefing where you give them the case and instructions on the specific format of the response.  Say, for example, it’s due by 30 min from that time and the case must address three specific questions. Confirm the candidate understands the instructions then end the call. When the call ends, the clock starts. The email with the case is due exactly 30 minutes from the end of the call. To make sure there are no technical difficulties, you can have the candidate send test email back and forth to confirm the method send/receipt.

By not sitting on the call for 30 minutes changes your time commitment to 1 minute. The case results can then be reviewed by the Residency Advisory Committee or a designee at a convenient time, using an agreed-upon rubric. This method also allows you to conduct a brief element of the interview with a potentially unlimited amount of candidates. Doing this method in person, you’re limited to a 10, maybe 20 candidates. This method can be an additional screening tool for 50-75 candidates.

Lights, Camera, YouTube

The second component of this secondary screening for candidates is to have them record their answers to the standard interview questions and upload their responses to YouTube. Similarly to the case, you can screen numerous candidates compared to traditional interview methods. If you’re worried that the candidates are going to be able to practice and reverse their answers, ask yourself, aren’t the good ones doing this anyways?

If you’re concerned about candidates with excellent technical skills, stipulate they must be single take- no editing permitted – in the video response.

Pre-Recorded Content

Along the same lines, you can have the candidates record a clinical topic presentation. Some programs do not do this because it takes a considerable amount of time during the interview day. However, when you aren’t restricted to an 8-hour workday and can play videos at 1.5-2x speed, getting through and assessing several 15-20 minute videos can be easily accomplished.

Understandably, many residents will feel nervous about posting a clinical topic presentation or anything else for that matter on YouTube for the world to see. Fortunately, they don’t have to expose themselves since YouTube can make the videos either “Unlisted” or “Private.”

Unlisted videos are uploads that anyone with the video link can see this video. These videos won’t appear on your channel page. It also won’t appear in YouTube search results unless someone adds it to a public playlist.

Private videos are uploads that only you and the people you choose can see this video. This video won’t appear on your channel or search results.

In either case, you’re protected from having your video come up on searches.

Final Phase

For people that pass with satisfactory results from the above interview methods, they then can arrange one on one video conferences. At this point, the typical Q & A can take place. But in all likelihood, many of the questions have already been answered which allows for further questioning on relevant performance-related issues or additional questions in a situational format.

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