Hiring the Right People in Healthcare

April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

This blog post continues a 3-part series focused on employee engagement in healthcare, a vital component of every complete workforce development initiative. Here we are excerpting an article in the current issue of PX Alert, HealthStream's quarterly magazine devoted to the wide range of challenges, situations, and issues that have an impact on the patient experience.

Turnover and retention are a growing problem for organizations across the continuum of care. Increased volume demands on our healthcare system mean that organizations cannot afford to waste time hiring the wrong people. Two of our partners, Assess Systems and NurseCompetency, help care organizations improve their hiring processes and identify and assess better potential candidates. The excerpted Q&As below explain how human resources professionals can make better hiring choices using tools from two of our partners.

Hiring Healthcare Workers Who Are a Better Fit: A Q&A with Olivia Salas, Director, Talent Solutions, Assess Systems

Can you tell us about your company and its expertise with healthcare talent management practices?
Assess Systems ( provides talent selection and people development solutions to organizations worldwide. For more than 25 years, it has assessed millions of people in a broad spectrum of industries and positions spanning 42 countries and supporting 16 languages. Assess Systems partnered with HealthStream to help customers make better hiring, placement, and promotion decisions by using behavior-based, non-clinical assessments designed for the healthcare industry: Select for Healthcare™ and Assess for Healthcare™. With HealthStream, we have an important, unifying purpose—to help our customers improve healthcare.

What are some of the big challenges you help care organizations address?
Assess Systems is changing the patient experience through improved hiring. We help organizations reduce unwanted turnover and hire those with the best fit, driving productivity, improving hiring efficiencies, and standardizing and enhancing the decision-making process. We also improve interviews by providing dynamic interview guides with behaviorally-based interview questions and candidate-specific probes based on the assessment results. Assessment reports also provide development suggestions to support the new hire’s on-boarding and development.

Focusing on a candidate’s innate personality characteristics and natural abilities, the assessment platform can save hospitals time and money by providing a tool that evaluates the candidate’s natural fit with the competencies most important for job success and provide additional insight into the factors that may help or hinder the display of desired competencies and behaviors.

Our product allows organizations to hire patient contact employees who have a service orientation toward patients, remain composed under pressure, are energetic and productive, and who adapt to change and work cooperatively with other staff members. It will also help identify those applicants with low integrity and who are poorly suited for caregiver positions.

Can you share any specific stories about customer achievements using your solution?
A leading healthcare organization/university requested assistance to create a customized pre-employment assessment to help identify top candidates for their high volume, patient-facing Clinic Assistant role. A criterion-based, predictive validation was conducted to identify the traits which distinguished top performers.


Results from the study showed the assessment clearly predicted which employees were the most successful on the job:

  • 95% of those who were rated as star employees were recommended by the assessment.
  • Those who struggled in the role were three times more likely to be categorized as an “Avoid” on the assessment than those who were top performers.
  • Prior to the custom assessment with the tenure measure, the client reported that 13.9% of Clinic Assistants turned within the first 90 days. In a follow up analysis after the implementation of the custom assessment with Tenure Index, turnover for the role within the first 90 days was reduced to 7.5%. This equated to a 46% improvement in retention of hires.

Use NurseCompetency to Identify Candidates with the Right Clinical Skills: A Q&A with Elease Caracci, EVP, NurseCompetency

Can you tell us about your company and its expertise with healthcare talent management practices?
NurseCompetency ( is on a mission to create a safer healthcare environment for patients and healthcare workers through the use of current, clinically relevant education, assessments, and technology.  The core values that guide everything that we do include:

    • Patient Safety: by providing valid and reliable assessments, we help to ensure that healthcare workers are knowledgeable about providing safe patient care, which often results in increased HCAHPS scores and lower re-admission rates.
    • Healthcare Worker Safety: by providing education and assessments, we give healthcare workers the knowledge they need to remain safe from the hazards that exist in the workplace, which can have the added benefit of risk reduction and lower incidence of Worker's Compensation claims.
    • Professional Development: by providing meaningful feedback to healthcare workers, we help them to identify and remediate knowledge deficits which allow for on-going professional growth and safer patient care.

What are some of the big challenges you help care organizations address?
As a market leader in healthcare competency testing and technology, we are distinguished by our commitment to healthcare workplace safety and optimal patient outcomes.  All of our materials are compliant with industry and government standards (OSHA/HIPAA/TJC) and help our customers ensure that in turn, they are always operating in compliance with these same standards—resulting in a safer environment for both patients and the healthcare workers who serve them.

In addition, as many healthcare organizations struggle to find and retain qualified clinical staff, we provide an EEOC compliant way to be more effective in hiring practices and staff retention. Effective pre-hire testing can allow organizations to identify clinicians who are qualified, and then provide a means for the on-going evaluation and professional growth of those employees, once hired.  All of these factors can help to increase employee engagement, productivity, and reduce the rate of turnover. 

Can you share any specific stories about customer achievements using your solution?
We’ll let one of our customers speak on behalf of our solutions: Kellie Hodge RN, BSN, Director of Nursing at Omega Hospital, has said that,

“The clinical exams from NurseCompetency play a key role in our talent management program—as they are used to measure and ensure that our clinical personnel are knowledgeable and competent to perform the tasks associated with their respective positions.  The high level of authority among the subject matter experts consulted and the rigor in exam development both contribute to make NurseCompetency’s clinical exams among the best available anywhere for assessing competencies.”