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Multiple mini-interviews versus traditional interviews: stakeholder acceptability comparison


Dr Saleem Razack, Montreal Children’s Hospital, 2300 Rue Tupper, C-807, Montreal, Quebec H3H 1P3 Canada. Tel: 00 1 514 412 4400 (ext 22919); Fax: 00 1 514 412 4205; E-mail:


Context  The McGill University Faculty of Medicine undertook a pilot, simulation-based multiple mini-interview (MMI) for medical school applicant selection, which ran simultaneously with traditional unstructured interviews (all applicants underwent both processes). This paper examines major stakeholder (applicants and evaluators) opinions towards the MMI compared with traditional interviews, including perceptions about the feasibility and utility of the MMI.

Methods  A total of 100 candidates applying to McGill University Medical School were enrolled in the pilot comparison of the MMI with the traditional, unstructured interview. Applicants’ opinions were obtained by questionnaire shortly after the process (for all applicants) and approximately 6 months after the interviews (for non-accepted applicants). Evaluators’ perceptions were also surveyed. Questionnaires contained both quantitative items and space for qualitative impressions. Descriptive statistics, repeated measures analysis of variance (manova) and analysis of the topics raised in written comments were conducted.

Results  Univariate analyses of response scores revealed statistically significant differences, with the MMI rated more highly than the traditional interview on fairness, imposition of stress and effectiveness as a measurement tool. Compared with the traditional interview, applicants also felt the MMI: (i) allowed them to be competitive; (ii) was enjoyable, and (iii) was often a favourite part of their interview experience. It should be noted that applicants were aware that their MMI score would be included in their overall interview rating. Written comments were positive with regard to, for example, fairness, the provision of opportunities to show one’s strengths, and appreciation of the fidelity of the simulations. Evaluators’ responses were in agreement with applicants’ responses, albeit that overall they expressed more caution about the MMI.

Conclusions  Results suggest the MMI is a promising selection tool from the point of view of both applicants and evaluators. Both groups expressed concerns, but overall the response was favourable for the MMI in comparison with traditional interviews, and the MMI has been adopted by McGill University’s medical school.

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