The Standardized Video Interview

Author: Ashley Rider, MD, EM Resident, Highland Emergency Medicine, on behalf of the CORD Student Advising Task Force

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This application season, Emergency Medicine will be the first specialty to pilot the Standardized Video Interview (SVI). Last year the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) performed an assessment of the tool among a small cohort across multiple specialties to demonstrate validity and reliability. Now it’s prime time.



The AAMC has collaborated with the Emergency Medicine Standardized Video Interview (EMSVI) Working Group (representing many different stakeholders within EM including EMRA) with the goal of providing programs with objective, performance-based information unrelated to traditional scores or evaluations.  In the video interview, all applicants will be applied to the same national standard, unlike for institution-based grading, Dean’s List, and class rank. Furthermore, the applicant pool is becoming increasingly more competitive, making it more challenging for applicants to distinguish themselves. The hope is that the SVI will help applicants by allowing them to stand out in ways not captured in the traditional Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) application. It also may help programs determine who might be a good fit for their program and should be offered an interview. The SVI will NOT replace in-person interviews.


Who needs to do this?

While SVI is a pilot this year, it is not optional. All applicants to ACGME-accredited emergency medicine programs will be required to submit a video application. If an applicant is undecided about applying into emergency medicine, he or she should submit a video interview in favor of application completeness.  On the MyERAS dashboard, applicants will click “yes” to “Are you planning to apply for a residency position at an ACGME-accredited Emergency Medicine Program?”  Within 24 hours applicants will be sent an email inviting them to complete the interview. Of note, the interview doesn’t need to be completed immediately, but the AAMC is suggesting applicants do the interview early so there is enough time to score them.


How are the videos made?

Applicants will be able to use a phone, computer, or tablet to submit the SVI. A third party vendor, HireVue, is responsible for the technical operations of this project. There will be six questions given to applicants over text, all drawn from a large question bank. Responses to each question must be completed within three minutes. Barring technological problems, applicants will only have one opportunity to respond to each question.  The videos will then be graded in a standardized process. A rater will generate objective scores based on professional behaviors, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. These raters will have gone through extensive training in recognizing and eliminating bias. They are predominantly human resource professionals. The raters will also be monitored through the process to maintain consistency. The video will be submitted with the rest of ERAS materials to programs selected by the applicant. At this stage in development there is no additional fee for video submission.

Applicants will have through July 31st to complete the interview. Scores and videos will be made available to programs around September 15,  2017 (perhaps sooner than many SLOEs). It is anticipated that applicants will receive their interview scores around the same time.


Why is the AAMC doing this?

Preliminary data suggests that the SVI adds a new flavor to the student’s application. There is no correlation between interview scores and USMLE Step 1 scores, suggesting that this might help boost applicants with low board scores. Data from the 2017 application cycle demonstrated no significant differences in SVI scores by gender, race/ethnicity, and applicant type (MD, DO, IMG), but further study is necessary.  The EMSVI and AAMC will continue to analyze the SVI process to investigate the implications for application selection and utility across groups.


What will programs do with this new information?

The hope is that Program Directors (PDs) will use the videos and scores to perform a complete assessment of applicants. Programs have a limited number of interview slots per year, yet must choose from hundreds of applications that are growing in number each year. The SVI is another evaluation tool that provides data beyond resumes and standardize test scores to determine students who might be a good fit for the program. At this point in the process, it is up to the discretion of the PDs how they would like to utilize the videos in their screening process.


Be prepared:

Preparation for the Standardized Video Interview (SVI) should be no different than preparation for an in-person interview. The questions will focus on professionalism and communication skills, so applicants may benefit from brainstorming experiences that highlight these skills.


Tips for success:

  • Prepare! Come up with a list of possible questions and 2-3 min appropriate answers.
  • Practice with a classmate or mentor for feedback.
  • Dress as you would for an in-person interview.
  • Be aware of your body language, consider watching a video of yourself prior to completing the SVI.
  • Perform the SVI in a quiet room free of distraction or background noise.
  • Complete the technology check before beginning the video interview.
  • Be professional and sincere in your responses. The SVI is meant to evaluate your professional and interpersonal skills.
  • Keep in mind that there is no person to interact with during this interview, you will be talking directly to the screen. This may make the interview more challenging than an in-person interview, and worth practicing.
  • You will have one opportunity to respond within three minutes. You will not be able to view your video or re-record during or after submission.
  • Do not share interview questions with fellow applicants. This is a violation of AAMC policies surrounding the interview.
  • Do not violate HIPAA. Using patient names or unique identifiers is prohibited.
  • While you will not be required to submit the SVI in order to submit your ERAS application, programs will note this as a missing field and your application may be considered incomplete.



All applicants should review the following document from the AAMC:


The future

While at first glance this may send MS4s into a panicked preparation of yet another “game to master” the SVI will likely be advantageous for many applicants.  If all goes well this year, the AAMC will make the decision to continue the program and incorporate into the application for other specialties.


Additional resources:


AAMC link that describes the pilot in more detail:



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