Can commercially available business tools be used to identify competencies specific to the junior otolaryngology resident and to develop behavioral-based interview questions and techniques?
Background: The resident selection process cannot predict consistently and accurately the successful training and job performance of a potential resident. One area of potential intervention and improvement is the interview, where improvement can be made in both the subject of the questions and the method of asking. Job analysis techniques utilized in business identify job-specific objectives, essential and desirable knowledge and skills and competencies that characterize a specific job and its effective performer. Behavioral-based interviewing assumes that a person’s past behavior is predictive of how he or she will behave in the future.
Study design: A pilot program
Setting: Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Department of Otolaryngology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; University of Cincinnati Professional Development Institute
Synopsis: The pilot program, developed with the help of a professional development consultant, involved a focus group within an otolaryngology department, a commercial business software for occupational analysis and a personnel selection and interview training seminar for faculty and residents. A formal job analysis was conducted to define the job objectives and competencies of a junior otolaryngologist resident. The identified information was incorporated into the current resident selection interview. Faculty and residents were trained in behavioral-based interviewing.
Although the otolaryngology specificity of the developed material might be seen as a limitation, the authors said their study is applicable to many fields. Listed limitations included the assumption that the focus group correctly identified the position competencies and the fact that interviewers were not blinded to the applicant’s academic record, which might have created bias.
Bottom line: Job analysis and behavioral-based interviewing that identifies skills, knowledge and competencies necessary for the successful performance of tasks may be performed and implemented successfully within an academic otolaryngology department.
Citation: Prager JD, Myer CM IV, Hayes KM, et al. Improving methods of resident selection. Laryngoscope. 2010;120(12):2391-2398.
—Reviewed by Sue Pondrom