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J Surg Educ. 2018 Jan - Feb;75(1):72-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Can We Get Faculty Interviewers on the Same Page? An Examination of a Structured Interview Course for Surgeons.

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Department of Surgery, School of Allied Health Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; SurgWise Consulting, Houston, Texas. Electronic address:
SurgWise Consulting, Houston, Texas.
SurgWise Consulting, Houston, Texas; Department of Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas.



Guidance on how to train faculty to conduct structured interviews and implement them into current screening processes is lacking. The goal of this study is to describe a structured interview training program designed specifically for surgeons and examine its effectiveness.


Faculty involved in advanced surgical fellowship interviews completed a 20-item knowledge assessment and video-based applicant interview ratings before taking a half-day course on conducting structured interviews. The course consisted of evidence-based strategies and methods for conducting structured interviews, asking questions, and rating applicants in a highly interactive format. After the course, faculty again completed the knowledge assessment and provided ratings for 3 video-based applicant interviews.


All faculty members (N = 5) responsible for selecting fellows in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery completed the training. Faculty had an average of 15.8 ± 9.12 years in practice. Average performance on the precourse knowledge assessment was 35% ± 6.12% and the group was unable to achieve acceptable agreement for applicant interview scores for any of the competencies assessed. After the course, faculty demonstrated significant improvements (p < 0.01) on the knowledge assessment, more than doubling their scores on the pretest with average scores of 80% ± 9.35%. Faculty also improved their interrater agreement of applicant competency, with 80% of the applicant interview ratings within 2 points of each other.


Implementation of a half-day course designed to teach principles and skills around structured interviewing and assessment demonstrated significant improvements in both interviewing knowledge and interrater agreement. These findings support the time and resources required to develop and implement a structured interview training program for surgeons for the postgraduate admissions process.


Systems-Based Practice; interview; residency; selection

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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