Optimize Interviewing as Part of Your Healthcare Talent Management Strategy

The Q1 2016 Healthcare Workforce Advisoris focused squarely on nursing. This post excerpts an article by Laurie Wasko, Ph.D, Healthcare Consulting Lead at Select International.

Healthcare organizations are facing unprecedented challenges. The single most important factor in how you respond to these challenges is the strength of your team. Every hospital can add better facilities and new technology and adopt quality improvement and patient satisfaction programs. Success or failure, however, will turn on how effectively your people, at every level, implement and maintain these tools and strategies. An effective interviewing program is a foundational element of any talent acquisition process. All organizations interview candidates, but few do it effectively.

The interview serves two important functions. First, it should enhance your ability to choose candidates with the skill set to match the role and the behavioral make-up that matches your vision and culture. Second, the interview goes a long way toward defining the candidate experience. In most instances, you are competing for the best candidates; every part of the candidate experience influences their decision-making process. As much as the interview is an opportunity for you to learn about the candidate, it is also an avenue for the candidate to learn about the position and your organization and how she might fit in and contribute as part of your team.

You need to effectively engage hiring managers in their role as talent evaluators—building their teams and serving as organizational ambassadors. Hiring managers need to appreciate the importance of the interview process, and you need to give them the tools and training to be effective interviewers.

Designing Your Interviewing Program

Rather than focusing on interviewing tools, you should be building a deliberate interviewing program that is structured, objective, predictive, efficient, and legally defensible:

1. Identify the competencies

In order to predict candidate success and to establish a legally defensible selection system, the competencies you are evaluating in the interview need to be clearly defined and job-related.

2. An efficient, structured behavioral interview guide

Build structured behavior-based interview questions for each of the competencies and incorporate these into an easy-to-use interview guide. Provide hiring managers with a tool that covers the competencies, but is not too cumbersome. Healthcare managers, particularly, have little patience for seemingly redundant or unnecessary interviewing content. The guide should include competencies, behavioral questions, a behaviorally-anchored rating scale, and space to document responses. Documentation is key to objectivity and legal defensibility. Healthcare is unique. You need to identify candidates who are patient-focused, dependable, have high levels of emotional intelligence, are collaborative, compassionate, and can adapt and innovate. Don’t try to adapt off the shelf interviewing content and training designed for other industries.

3. Incorporate Realistic Job Preview Information

Provide opportunities in the interview process for a candidate to ask questions about the position and about your organization. Think about the key takeaways and selling points for your organization and arm hiring managers with a consistent message and responses to important questions. Make sure that you disclose the positives, but also some of the challenges you face.

4. Train hiring managers to become interviewing experts

We often hear, “We created great interview guides but I have no idea how my hiring managers are using them.” Yes, hospital managers are pulled in many different directions and have time constraints. Regardless, it is important that you find an efficient and effective way to develop hiring managers’ interviewing skills. This is imperative to make sure you are not only gathering the information you need to make an informed decision about a candidate, but also important to create a professional and positive candidate experience. To be effective, training should not be a one-time event. A combination of periodic, progressive live training, online training, and feedback is most effective.

April 1, 2021