How Employers Can Improve the Interview Process in Healthcare

How Employers Can Improve the Interview Process in Healthcare
Marketing Specialist

From the looming retirement of Baby Boomers to the 20 million of Americans newly insured under the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare hiring process has become more challenging than ever. In fact, though healthcare continues to create new jobs, the cost of leaving positions vacant can really add up for providers, states Healthcare Finance Associate Editor Susan Morse. For example, one unfilled healthcare position can cost a healthcare facility an average of $7,700.  

To reduce time to hire, employers must review current hiring strategies and understand that improving the interview processes can play a key role in an organization’s overall recruitment success. However, employers should not rush the interview process—the wrong hire will only cause more work in the end, says business and healthcare writer Susan Reagan. “Make time to do it right so you can save the time required to make corrections.”

Here are five practices you should consider as you plan to strengthen your interviewing process to meet today’s healthcare hiring demands.

1. Assess Your Current Process

The first step is assessing your current interview process. Determine what works well, what can be improved, and what is broken beyond repair, Reagan says. Examine all aspects of your interview process, from recruitment to the questions asked. Have you lost candidates to competitors in the past? How’s your tone during the interview? “Once a complete process evaluation is conducted, a plan to make improvements can be created.”

2. Conduct Behavioral Assessments

The best way to know a candidate’s fit for your organization is by studying their past behavior. Behavioral assessments enable interviewers to ask candidates to describe in detail how he or she responded to similar situations in the past. It helps employers find candidates with the traits, temperament and innate talent best suited to the jobs being filled, says Bill Roberts in a SHRM article.

To evaluate a candidate’s level of care and compassion, Rebecca McNeil, now Director of Learner Acquisition at ExtensionEngine, suggests using the following question outline:

Describe your most rewarding experience helping others.

  • What was the situation?
  • Exactly what did you do?
  • What motivated you to do this?
  • What was the outcome of your efforts?

Recruiters are advised to base behavioral assessments on the organization’s culture and values. Regardless of how talented the candidate, hiring for cultural fit is critical to reducing retention at any facility. You can train someone who is the right culture fit, but the opposite cannot be said, McNeil states.

3. Interview as a Team

Shifting away from top-down decision making and toward a collaborative model can have a positive impact on hiring results, productivity and retention. Hiring managers should consider including the department supervisor, one or two immediate coworkers, and a representative from another department. Internationally known HR thought leader Dr. John Sullivan says, “By adding collaborative hiring, you get higher level of employee involvement, stronger employee buy-in, and more diverse assessment and candidate selling approaches.”

To foster a culture of collaboration, Sullivan recommends adopting approaches like transparency, team-based goal setting, 360-degree feedback, and team decision making, “By altering the hiring process so that the team is involved, you also eliminate some of the biases that hiring managers often have.”

4. Be Consistent

Following a consistent interviewing strategy allows interviewers to be objective when faced with professionals who naturally interview better than others.  “If you’re consistent and ask everyone the same interview questions, you’ll be better able to weed out candidates who interview well but may not serve your organizational mission,” says contributor Heather Boerner.

To remain consistent and impartial, consider employing the following five key elements:

1. Create a checklist: Closely following a protocol for each interview will help you maintain consistency throughout the hiring process.
2. Outline your expectations: Create a list of desired attributes and rank them on a scale of importance from one to five.
3. Categorize your questions: Try to categorize your list of interview questions by the list of traits determined above. (e.g., detail orientation, communication, and the ability to be a team player)
4. Use a scoring system: Using your outlined traits, rate each candidate on a scale of one to five at the end of the interview with the same scoring sheet.
5. Rank each candidate: It’s time to compare his or her rating to the importance of each trait. Multiply the interviewee’s score in each category by its importance. This is their weighted score. Once you’ve weighted each category, add their total score and compare them with other interviewees to choose the best fit for your organization.

5. Practice Makes Perfect

Interviewing is a skill that requires training and practice like any other acquired talent. “Establish what types of questions to ask, how to ask them, and how to properly listen for a response,” Reagan says. You may also allow the interviewer to observe a hiring process being carried successfully. Then have them role-play and practice the skills they learned. Not only does it permit self-assessment and evaluation, it allows for mistakes to be made in a nurturing environment conducive to testing and learning.

By implementing the aforementioned best practices, you can dramatically improve your interview process and save time in the long run. Does your organization follow any of these practices? Please share; we’d love to hear from you!

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