Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Standardized Video Interview - What Applicants Need to Know

The CORD Student Advising Task Force just published an explanation of the new mandatory AAMC Standardized Video Interview (SVI) “pilot”.  If this is the first you have heard of this, we urge you to read the CORD EM blog summary and the related materials from the AAMC (links are included on the CORD blog).  In this post we are going to attempt to address what this requirement means for students in the 2018 NRMP match.  

“Do I have to do this?”

Yes.  Anyone applying to Emergency Medicine is going to be prompted to sign up and and create these videos.  If the AAMC is happy with the results, this may get expanded to applicants applying to all specialties in future years.  There is no cost to applicants to complete this and some programs may consider your application incomplete if they do not have results.  And we are not going to know which programs that will be.  If you want to do EM, do the video interviews.  

“What are programs going to do with this information?”

Programs will receive your score on the video interview and have the option to view the actual videos.  What programs do with this information is up to them.  This is the first year programs will receive SVI data, so program directors do not know how well this score will correlate with other information like SLOE’s, the MSPE, and most importantly: the impression made during the interview day.  

There are a few realistic options for what programs will do with the SVI:

Option A:  The program looks at the SVI and uses it to help them differentiate between two candidates who are otherwise very similar, offering an interview to the student with the better SVI performance.

Option B: The program does not use the SVI information to determine who to interview but subsequently compares SVI data to their own impression from the interview. This would help them know if they are going to use the SVI data in the future.

Option C: The program makes no use of the SVI information as it is unclear if this will continue to be available in subsequent years and they don’t want to spend time on something that will not be available in the future.

What are program directors actually going to do?

Application review is a time-consuming process that requires trained faculty to do it well.  Each program has a finite amount of application review resources to throw at this task.  Programs do not know if the SVI scores represent information that is important to them and they do not have time to personally review the actual videos (18 minutes x 1000+ applicants!!).  

Program directors will be offered training on how to understand the SVI data in August.  At that point they will decide how they are going to use this information this year.  Each program already has a system in place for application review and they are unlikely to incorporate the SVI data into that system until they know if it provides useful information.  There may very well be a few early adopters among the program directors, but not enough that students should change anything about their application plans based on this.

Students applying for EM in the 2018 match should complete the SVI, there is no upside to not doing it.  However, you should not be worried that your “performance” will hurt your chances at getting an interview.

For more information on the  the SVI take a look at this ALiEM EM Match Advice video.  This is a panel discussion with a representative from the AAMC.  

Adam Kellogg is an Associate Residency Director, former Clerkship Director, and previous Chair of the CORD-EM Student Advising Task Force. The opinions in this blog post are his and do not represent those of CORD-EM or of his employer.