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imageBackground: The integrated plastic surgery match is a competitive process not only for applicants but also for programs vying for highly qualified candidates. Interactions between applicants and program constituents are limited to a single interview visit. The authors aimed to identify components of the interview visit that influence applicant decision making when determining a final program rank list.
Methods: Thirty-six applicants who were interviewed (100% response) completed the survey. Applicants rated the importance of 20 elements of the interview visit regarding future ranking of the program on a 1 to 5 Likert scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, hierarchical cluster analysis, analysis of variance, and Pearson correlations. A literature review was performed regarding the plastic surgery integrated residency interview process.
Results: Survey questions were categorized into four groups based on mean survey responses:
1. Interactions with faculty and residents (mean response > 4),
2. Information about the program (3.5–4),
3. Ancillaries (food, amenities, stipends) (3–3.5),
4. Hospital tour, hotel (<3).
Hierarchical item cluster analysis and analysis of variance testing validated these groupings. Average summary scores were calculated for the items representing Interactions, Information, and Ancillaries. Correlation analysis between clusters yielded no significant correlations. A review of the literature yielded a paucity of data on analysis of the interview visit.
Conclusions: The interview visit consists of a discrete hierarchy of perceived importance by applicants. The strongest independent factor in determining future program ranking is the quality of interactions between applicants and program constituents on the interview visit. This calls for further investigation and optimization of the interview visit experience.

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