Conducting video interviews during the COVID pandemic: Radiology experts offer their advice

Hiring managers likely will not be shaking any hands or conducting interviews with new radiologists in person any time soon, which has many turning toward virtual solutions. In this new reality, experts are offering tips and tricks to keep hiring running smoothly now and beyond the public health crisis.  

Imaging giant Radiology Partners quickly pivoted to tele-interviewing as stay-at-home rules took effect, conducting 65 video interviews across 20 practices in March and April—more than the normal pre-pandemic volume. That has resulted in roughly 30 offers extended, compared to the typical 21 on average, the El Segundo, California-based firm said this week.

Rad Partners has now compiled a list of best practices on video hiring and believes the process will likely stick around post-COVID. It recommends using video for the early stages of interviewing, creating web tours and other content for potential hires, and sharing hiring best practices across the enterprise.

“Instead of spending time and resources on airline travel, tele-interviewing is a great tool. Not only do we get a sense of the candidate, but it gives a prospective physician hire a look at the facility,” said Soti McGinley, the company’s senior director of recruitment. “Tele-interviewing is here to stay.”

Similarly, schools are making greater use of video when connecting with rad residents and fellows. Both the Coalition on Physicians Accountability and the Association of American Medical Colleges are strongly recommending that all residency programs conduct virtual interviews with applicants during this upcoming round.

In a piece published Monday in JACR, academic experts offered their own advice to those looking to make the transition. Asim Mian, MD, program director with the Boston University Medical Center, suggested five “critical components” to virtual hiring, some of which can also translate to the business world:

1) Creativity: Leaders should strive to be unique in their interviewing, highlighting program strengths and incorporating breakout rooms that explore specific groups, such as women in radiology.

2) Scheduling: “Meticulously” plan the interview itinerary, practicing the process to make sure it’s feasible and that transitions are smooth from one segment to the next. “An organized operation goes a long way in leaving a positive impression on applicants,” Mian advised.

3) Familiarity: Make sure that both the applicant and staff are acquainted with the virtual platform, and ensure there is adequate light, and that both the camera and microphone are functioning properly.

4) Virtual tours: Similar to Rad Partners’ recommendations, Mian also advocated for the use of professionally produced video tours of the department and medical campus. This gives applicants a chance to see the grounds and form an impression of the institution.

5) Get together: Taking it a step further, Mian also recommended a “virtual evening get-together,” providing those interested with a means to mingle and “get a feel for the program.”

“Change is challenging, but the pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to create a new paradigm for the residency interview season, which very well may become the new normal,” Mian wrote.

You can read more of the piece in the Journal of the American College of Radiology here, and a second piece from Academic Radiology on the topic here.