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APPIC Recruitment and Selection Guidance for 2021-22

Published on Thursday, June 18, 2020

APPIC Recruitment Selection Guidance for 2021-22

The current COVID-19 public health crisis is unparalleled and the impact is significant, multi-pronged, and ongoing. Disruptions to Health Service Psychology (HSP) training in the US and Canada, at all points in the education to workforce pipeline, have occurred and will likely endure and may worsen. Similarly, it is likely there will be continued COVID-19 impacts on travel, in-person meetings, and public gatherings. Considering the central role of travel and in-person public gatherings in HSP internship and postdoctoral training program recruitment and selection processes, the APPIC board of Directors believes that addressing the class of 2021/2022 recruitment and selection process, in the COVID-19 environment, is both urgent and time sensitive.

We base this document on the underlying assumption that COVID-19 will not have subsided enough for in-person interviews and associated travel to be conducted with a high level of safety. The intent of this document is to provide guidance, rather than to override the judgment and responsibility of doctoral programs, internship programs, postdoctoral programs, and the larger institutions where they reside. The APPIC board of Directors believes that consistent strategies and shared practices, across programs and institutions, will reduce stress and confusion and improve outcomes for all parties participating in the class of 2021/2022 recruitment and selection efforts. The process for developing the current guidance was iterative and involved review of recommendations from other healthcare disciplines, input from subject matter experts, engagement with APPIC training community stakeholders, and consideration of four guiding principles.


Guiding principles:

  • Safety. The safety of HSP service recipients, trainees, trainers, and our communities is of utmost importance.
  • Equity. It is vital to make the HSP recruitment and selection process as accessible and fair as possible for diverse applicants and programs.
  • Ethics. Reliance on an ethical framework for decision making to guard against bias and lapses during a stressful time when systems and the people in them are taxed.
  • Science. Use of science, evidence-based findings, and the recommendations of public health experts to inform our process and recommended procedures.


Recommendations from the APPIC Board of Directors:

  1. Competencies. COVID-19 has disrupted doctoral and internship training for many students in recent months. However, it remains important for doctoral and internship programs to ensure that applicants have acquired the necessary competencies in order to be ready to progress to the next phase of their training (i.e., internship or postdoctoral fellowship).
  2. Evaluation of applicants. Doctoral internship and postdoctoral residencies/fellowships are encouraged to be creative and innovative with their evaluation strategies of applicants to their programs. It may be beneficial for sites to review their minimum hour requirements, to clearly identify them, and to consider exceptions for applicants whose clinical hours and training experiences were impacted by the pandemic. Overreliance exclusively on minimum hour requirements is discouraged in general, and especially for this year. Given the significant and ongoing disruption to training experiences for many applicants, heavily weighting the number of direct service hours over and above other variables may be problematic as direct service hours are likely to be lower than in previous years. To account for these deficits, doctoral programs have implemented additional training opportunities to keep improving their students' skills (e.g. simulated patient exercises, online trainings) and to prepare them for  internship. Thus, minimum hour and direct service hour requirements should be examined along with other related variables in evaluating potential candidates.
  1. Exclusive Use of Remote and/or Virtual Interviews/Recruitment Formats. APPIC recognizes that applicants and training programs greatly value the on-site interview process. However, for this year, all doctoral internship and postdoctoral residency/fellowship programs are strongly encouraged to exclusively use virtual, remote, or on-line open houses, interviews, and/or tours for the entire selection process and not to utilize or offer in-person recruitment formats. It is recommended that this virtual, remote, or online process be used for all interviewees, including local candidates/applicants or those who may request an in-person visit, to support safe and equitable practices.
  2. Access. Doctoral program associates and doctoral internship programs are encouraged to ensure access to resources necessary for remote, on-line, and/or virtual interviews (e.g., internet, technology, and/or private space) for their trainees.
  3. Public materials. Doctoral internship and postdoctoral residency/fellowship programs are encouraged to accurately describe their current training program, any expected changes due to COVID-19, any minimum requirements for applicants, COVID-19 related testing and/or quarantine requirements, and their recruitment and selection format and processes (with information currently available). Please ensure ongoing updates occur in all materials, including websites, brochures, the APPIC directory, and the UPPD (for postdoctoral programs).
  4. COVID-19. Programs should use their public materials to describe the impact COVID-19 on their programs, potential disruptions, safety precautions that were implemented, and the management of subsequent issues as relevant to their interns and fellows. If relevant, it is important to indicate whether trainees are designated as “essential” employees with clear expectations for this status. With this transparency, applicants are able to gather information about the training site’s practices and potential future response, should the pandemic continue or worsen. Thus, they can make educated decisions about applying to sites with specific knowledge about the continued or future management of COVID-19 and its effects on psychology training.
  5. Communications. Implementation of the recommendations herein hinges on transparent, frequent, and clear communication between all HSP stakeholder groups.


APPIC is asking that the entire HSP training community work collaboratively in the service of realizing the shared goal of access, equity, and consistency for doctoral internship and postdoctoral residency/fellowship applicants participating in the 2020/2021 recruitment and selection cycle.

Respectfully submitted, APPIC Board of Directors



Visit for these resources:

Association of American Medical Colleges. (2020) Virtual Interviews: Tips for Program Directors. Association of American Medical Colleges. (2020) Virtual Interviews: Tips for Applicants.

Association of American Medical Colleges. (2016) Best Practice for Completing Residency Interviews. Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. (2020). Virtual Interviewing Guide Jones, R. E. & Abdelfattah, K. R. (in press). Virtual interviews in the era of COVID-19: A primer for applicants. Journal of Surgical Education.

Sign-up for an APPIC webinar on virtual recruitment and selection, with free CE credit on July 10 at 2pm Eastern, Click Here to register.



American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation. (2020). COVID-19: Updates and Information.


Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. (2020). APPIC Board of Directors: COVID- 19 Statement #2.



Council of Chairs of Training Councils. (2020). Statement on Education and Training Considerations during COVID-19 Pandemic.



Council of Chairs of Training Councils. (2020). Guidance Statement on Resumption of In-Person Psychological Services and Training.



Canadian Psychological Association. (2020). CPA-CCPPP-ACPRO Statements Regarding COVID-19.



Coalition for Physician Accountability. (2020). Final Report and Recommendation for Medical Education Institutions of LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants.



Coalition for Physician Accountability. (2020). Executive Summary: Final Report and Recommendation for Medical Education Institutions of LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants.



Coalition for Physician Accountability. (2020). Compendium of Resources for Implementation of Recommendations in the Final Report and Recommendation for Medical Education Institutions of LCME- Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants.



U.S. Centers for Disease Control. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Guidance documents.



World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.