Getting on the Same Page: The Impact of Interviewer Education and Structured Interviews on Interrater Agreement in Residency Interviews

Aimee K. Gardner, Paula Costa, Ross E. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: We explored the impact of implementing structured interviews and associated interviewer education on interrater agreement within a large academic residency program. Methods: Faculty and senior resident interviewers from a large academic residency program participated in a 3-hour structured interview course. Before and after the course, participants completed a 15-item assessment pertaining to the characteristics, logistics, and guidelines associated with structured interviews. Along with interviewer training, interview day logistics also changed from an unstructured format (no specific questions, one overall 1-9 rating scale) to a structured interview format, including incorporation of behavioral-based competency questions that would be asked of every applicant and behavioral anchored rating scales (1-10; 10 = highest). Interrater agreement was assessed via intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC1) for the 2 years before and 2 years after incorporation of the structured interview format. Results: A total of 45 faculty and resident interviewers participated in the course in 2018. Participant knowledge significantly increased from an average of 36% to 79% after the course (p < 0.01). Prior to the intervention, overall interrater agreement was “poor” to “fair,” with an ICC1 of 0.51 in 2016 and 0.49 in 2017. After the structured interview intervention, overall agreement increased to the “good” level with an ICC1 of 0.71 in 2018 and 0.66 in 2019. The proportion of applicants who received interview scores with at least 2 ratings more than 2 points apart significantly decreased from 59% to 47% after the intervention (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Incorporating an interviewer educational session and a structured interview format into residency selection can help increase agreement in ratings between interviewers. However, these data suggest that ongoing refresher trainings may be needed to maintain acceptable levels of interrater agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e12-e16
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • interrater agreement
  • interview
  • interviewer training
  • structured interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


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