Over the past several years, the University of Texas (UT) at Austin College of Pharmacy has gone through several iterations of their admissions process. Transitioning from interviews on-campus to online via Zoom, Texas Pharmacy’s admissions process had become a tapestry of disparate processes held together by manual workarounds.
“By transitioning our interviews online, we opened a window for us to attract and enroll a more diverse applicant pool,” shared Gregory Caldera, the Director of Admissions and Student Services at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy.
“We wanted to maintain that accessibility, but we needed to do it in a way that was sustainable for our admissions team in the long run.”
“We began looking for an interview platform that integrated both the live virtual experience and an assessment submission tool and dashboard,” he continued. “That’s when I came across Kira Talent.”
Evolving the admissions process
Since 2019, Texas Pharmacy has used a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) to ensure consistency as well as structure throughout their admissions interviewing process.
Kira Talent supports a wide range of interview styles, from Asynchronous Assessments to real-time one-to-one interviews, panel interviews, and MMIs. Find out how Kira Talent can support your interview process.
“When the interviews were originally held in person, reviewers scored applicants using scantrons,” shared Caldera. “Inputting that data was a long and clunky process, but it was what we had always done.”
“In 2020, we transitioned both the interview and the scoring online with Zoom and Qualtrics,” Caldera continued. “Zoom was our quick fix in order to meet our admissions deadlines for that year, but we very quickly realized that the platform required a lot of background support to keep things running smoothly.”
“That burden fell on our staff and student co-chairs by necessity,” he explained. “We simply needed more hands to be able to run our Zoom interviewing process.”
Piecing together disparate tools
From managing breakout rooms and transition timing to flipping between screens to record scores, the disjointed process was putting significant strain on the Texas Pharmacy admissions team.
“Trying to use multiple tools in ways they weren’t meant to be used and then integrating all those systems into one disjointed process was a recipe for stress,” shared Caldera.
And it wasn’t just behind the scenes where the process was causing strain.
“Our interviewers often struggled to shift smoothly between Zoom and Qualtrics to score applicants,” Caldera explained. “And we were relying on applicants to correctly click the right links at the right times.”
“With Kira, those challenges are taken care of.”
Streamlining the admissions interview
“The University of Michigan College of Pharmacy was on a webinar to discuss their experience with Kira and give insight into their interviewing process,” shared Caldera. “I started to explore Kira as an option for our admissions process and found that it checked all of our boxes and then some.”
With Live Interviewing in Kira Talent, Texas Pharmacy has been able to retain the accessibility benefits of the virtual experience while eliminating the technical hassles.
“Our interviewers no longer have to manage multiple windows or multiple programs,” explained Caldera. “They’re able to engage more with the applicants and score them in the moment.”
“For us, that means our interviewers are not only more efficient at reviewing, but they’re more effective with the interview engagement.”
Kira moves applicants automatically through each station, according to a set schedule, while interviewers evaluate and score applicants in-platform. At the end of the interview, Kira’s integration with PharmCAS transfers all the scores and notes directly into Texas Pharmacy’s existing management system.
“Applicants move through several stations of one-on-one interviews and finish with a group activity, which helps us see how well applicants can work in teams,” Caldera shared. “Kira helped us build a schedule that allows us to seamlessly shift from one-on-one interviews to group sessions. ”
“It was very important for us to facilitate a face-to-face conversation between our interviewers and applicants,” Caldera continued. “Kira gave us a way to do that without creating any barriers for our applicants.”
Attracting a wider pool of diverse applicants
“With Kira, we’ve been able to scale our interview process without any additional burden on our admissions team,” shared Caldera. “The platform eliminated a lot of the manual work that went into coordinating our interviews, both on Zoom and in-person and the Kira team helps us manage the rest with on-hand support before and during the interviews. Kira has not only helped us increase the efficiency and ease of our admissions process but it's also allowed our staff and student co-chairs to go back to focusing on applicant engagement.”
By removing the travel and cost barrier associated with on-campus interviews, Kira is also helping Texas Pharmacy reach a more diverse pool of applicants.
“Kira allows applicants to interview without the financial burden of travel, making us more attractive to under-represented minority applicants, nontraditional-aged students, and applicants who live out of state,” Caldera explained. “It’s given us the opportunity to recruit applicants who may have not applied to our program if travel was required for the interview.”
Getting an applicant’s perspective
“The way the faculty interacted with us during my Texas Pharmacy interview was a huge factor in my decision to come to UT,” shared Sydney Bryant, a Doctorate of Pharmacy Candidate at UT Austin College of Pharmacy, Class of 2026.
“I interviewed with five different schools during my application process, four of which were virtual interviews and one which was in-person,” she continued. “Most of the virtual interviews were on Zoom, with the exception of Texas Pharmacy.”
“My overall experience interviewing virtually compared to in-person was so similar that it would have been nice to save the travel time and do it all online.”
“I had a five-hour drive to attend the in-person interview, which meant that I had to miss some school,” Bryant shared. “Ultimately, I felt like I got the same amount of face-to-face interaction through my Kira interview for Texas Pharmacy as I did during the in-person interview for another program. I was able to have the same kind of in-depth interaction with my interviewers and the flow of conversation was similar because it still felt like we were face-to-face.”
“Compared to the in-person interview process I went through, the virtual experiences definitely helped reduce anxiety and made me feel more relaxed,” she continued. “With Texas Pharmacy, this was especially true. For my interviews on Zoom, I had to hop from one link to another, so the whole time I had this underlying sense of anxiety that I might mess up and click the wrong link at some point and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. With Kira, I didn’t have to keep track of links at all. Once the interview started I could sit back from my computer and just focus on my conversation with each interviewer.”
Keeping up with modern education
“We’re now seeing healthcare delivered to patients through all kinds of different mediums,” shared Caldera. “The rise of telehealth means that virtual technology is becoming increasingly integral to the healthcare profession.”
“At UT Austin College of Pharmacy, we want to make sure that our students are exposed to these new practices,” he continued. “We’re aligning with how technology is being used in healthcare practice today, and Kira Talent is a part of that vision.”