Academic radiology chairs put most value in job candidate’s subspecialty expertise

Chairs of academic radiology departments put more value in a candidate’s expertise in their subspecialty than any other criteria, according to a recent survey published in Academic Radiology.

Shrita Marie Smith, MD, Staten Island University Hospital department of radiology, and colleagues distributed an anonymous survey to academic radiology department chairs from December 2014 to March 2015. A total of 79 chairs completed the survey.

The survey included numerous questions about the hiring process and what chairs look for in a candidate. Respondents put the most value in a candidate’s expertise in subspecialty, with fellowship training, the perceived ability to work well with referrers, and clinical productivity, in that order, being the other three most popular attributes.

“The chairs weigh many and varied hiring criteria; however, the important elements cited were expertise in subspecialty, fellowship training, and perceived ability to work well with referring physicians,” the authors wrote.

Job interviews also proved to be a crucial part of the hiring process, with 86 percent of respondents calling the interview “extremely important.”

The survey also found that 52 percent of respondents consider a residency program director’s written or verbal recommendation to be “extremely important.” Another 34 percent consider it “somewhat important.”

In addition, 94 percent of respondents said they had at least one or two attending job openings in the past year. Forty-two percent said they had three to six attending job openings, while 13 percent said they had more than six.

The survey also addressed recent changes to the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification process, which require the ABR diagnostic radiology certifying examination to be taken 15 months after the completion of residency training. Fifteen percent of academic radiology department chairs, primarily those from smaller departments, said their hiring decisions will be impacted by the changes.

“The recent change in timing for the ABR certifying examination has been a catalyst for residency programs to offer subspecialty-focused training in one or two disciplines to fourth year residents,” the authors wrote. “These are commonly termed ‘mini-fellowships.’ Ideally, mini-fellowships enable fourth year residents to develop strong skill sets in one or two radiology subspecialties.”

As these mini-fellowships become more common, 46 percent of respondents said a candidate’s choice of mini-fellowship will impact hiring decisions. Body imaging, breast imaging, and neuroradiology have the most value for potential candidates.

“It appears that completing one or more mini-fellowships may give a competitive edge to new graduates, suggesting the importance of further development of the mini-fellowship framework and curriculum,” the authors wrote.