1. Sanford, Ashley MA, PMP
  2. Rivera, Emmanuel J. MHRM, MA
  3. Parsanlal, Pranam MS

Article Content

Although nursing programs strive to develop holistic admissions processes, evaluating applicants based on grades and test scores as well as in-person interviews, this process may not always be logistically or financially reasonable. Nursing programs can use virtual interviews to enhance diversity within their programs while maintaining the integrity of the admissions process. Although in-person, holistic interviewing allows for measurement of critical thinking, communication skills, and ethical integrity, virtual interviewing is becoming popular among organizations and universities, as it is less expensive, is more convenient, and can reach broader audiences.1


In March 2020, student services for colleges and universities in the United States transitioned to a virtual environment because of rising concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision impacted the admission interviewing plans for many nursing programs. Before this directive, the College of Nursing (CON) of a large, public research university in the southeast region of the United States was preparing for approximately 400 in-person interviews for the upcoming baccalaureate program cohorts.


Approach to Implementing Virtual Interviews

A team was tasked with streamlining the admissions process within a virtual setting while maintaining the integrity of the traditional process. A successful virtual interview process ensures the following are completed: student interview scheduling, creation of interview documents and scoring rubric, virtual session setup, and recruitment and training of faculty for interviews. The team used 3 platforms to execute a seamless virtual interview experience for the baccalaureate program candidates: an online appointment scheduler (such as Setmore or Square Appointments), a learning management system (LMS) (such as Canvas, D2L, or Blackboard), and virtual conferencing software (such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom).


Student candidates were each provided with a link to the online scheduling platform and directions on how to schedule their interview via the college's application portal. To organize the interviews, a meeting ID and password (Zoom) or calendar invite (Microsoft Teams) and an LMS rubric were developed for each student interview. Each candidate was interviewed by a panel of 2 faculty members. A typical interview day consisted of up to 5 faculty panels with 14 interviews per day per panel. Each panel received an interview packet that consisted of interview guidelines and instructions, an interview question set, and student candidate scoring rubrics.


Interview Documentation and Scoring Rubrics

The team used the LMS that was already in use by the university to replicate the interview packet in a virtual setting. Interview packets were created within the LMS platform, which allowed easy scoring of student candidates and allowed the creation of multiple question sets to support the integrity of the interview process by minimizing information sharing among candidates in later sessions or days. First, modules were developed within the LMS for each interview panel for each day. Each module included general interview guidelines, instructions, and a LMS quiz (rubric) rubric used to score candidates.


The LMS's quiz function allowed the team to upload the question set and scoring rubric into the modules for each student. Faculty used the quiz to read the questions to the candidate and record or note the candidate's responses to each question. After the interview was complete, faculty scored the candidate's interview responses and submitted the quiz/score to the gradebook. To accommodate candidate responses as well as the rubric within 1 quiz, each question was listed twice within the LMS quiz. The first appearance allowed the faculty member to record the candidate's response as an open-ended response. The second appearance of the same question allowed faculty to score the candidate based on a rubric scale using multiple choice answers. This was repeated for all questions within each set. The admissions team then pulled the final score from the gradebook for the final admissions review. This creative approach eased the work of the faculty panel during the interview process, provided automated scoring, and reduced human error. All question sets were uploaded to the LMS modules before 252 quizzes were generated to accommodate the scheduled interviews, and each quiz was specifically assigned to a student candidate, which provided a unique score (grade) within the LMS gradebook.


Virtual Interview Setup

In March 2020, the team used conferencing software to launch virtual interviews. Each of the 6 interview panels included 1 lead and 1 supporting faculty member, and a meeting ID and password were created for each lead interviewer to access the candidate interviews via the software. The supporting faculty member had to join the session using another meeting ID. Challenges included the CON simultaneously maintaining 6 accounts and effectively communicating the login information and procedure to students and faculty.


For the June 2020 interview cycle, the team used the university's communication and collaboration software, which did not require a meeting ID and password. This platform allowed each faculty member to have the same administrative privileges within the meeting session. All calendar invitations were created within the interview cycle's Microsoft Team page created within the communication and collaboration software, which allowed groups to connect in a centralized virtual location, aiding in document sharing, collaboration, etc.


This system allowed the team to send the interview appointment to students without the need for additional accounts, links, passwords, or email addresses outside the university system. However, the team discovered additional administrative limitations owing to university-wide settings (eg, disabled chat function) to the calendar/meeting functionality when all interviews were scheduled within the Team page within the platform. These challenges will require altering the approach in the future, such as creating all invitations outside the Team and linked to a specific individual's account.


Faculty Recruitment and Training

An integral part of the interviewing process, whether virtual or in-person, is securing appropriate faculty and training them to facilitate the interviews. The virtual training session conducted by CON included an explanation of the LMS modules, the LMS quiz setup, and function, faculty interviewer role responsibilities, and the virtual meeting platform functionality. The training was recorded for faculty interviewers who could not attend the live virtual session and for faculty interviewers to reference later. In addition, a detailed step-by-step instructional guide, which included frequently asked questions for faculty interviewers to reference, was included in the LMS course including the recording. Faculty interviewers were given the opportunity to follow along within the LMS course during the session and were encouraged to ask questions to best prepare for the live virtual interviews.



Planning and implementing virtual interviews into a holistic admissions process do not have to require a substantial time commitment; however, it requires strong commitment to creative collaboration from leadership and key stakeholders. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the use of holistic review for achieving greater diversity and improving long-term student success. When admissions goals are clearly outlined and the availability of technological resources has been properly identified, use of virtual interviews for the admissions process can be as effective as in-person interviews to faculty, staff, and students.



Our team thanks Rayna Letourneau, PhD, RN, for her time editing and mentoring us throughout our first publication process. We also thank Elizabeth T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN, for her support.




1. Wagner R, Maddox KR, Glazer G, Hittle BM. Maximizing effectiveness of the holistic admission process: implementing the multiple mini interview model. Nurse Educ. 2020;45(2):73-77. doi: [Context Link]