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blog post 08152016

The Leader’s Role in Healthcare Peer Interviews

This blog post continues our series of patient experience best practices from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. Every week we share information that demonstrates our expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions we have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

The peer interviewing process is designed to be carried out without the leader in attendance so that the potential employee can converse freely with the team. It presents an opportunity for the candidate to ask candid questions about the position. Remember, the objective is not only to select the best person for the job, but also to ensure that the individual will be satisfied and stay with the organization.

The role of the leader is to educate, direct, and guide the process—explaining why it is necessary and how it ultimately benefits the organization. Empowering employees to assist with this staff-retention initiative fosters engagement on their part. Make sure they know the cost of turnover and that there is a real business case to improve staff retention through the use of peer interviewing.

Leaders must also give staff the tools to conduct effective interviews—provide them with training to help them hone their skills, and teach them how to listen, probe, respond, and evaluate. You’ll not only develop a staff of expert interviewers, you’ll create a closer, more cohesive team, give the candidates you do hire a better transition into their workplace, and give your current employees an incentive to support their new team member.

Equip Your Staff for Peer Interviewing

  1. Train them to be effective listeners.
  2. Give them interview guidelines.
  3. Teach them how to select relevant skill, performance, and behavioral-based questions.
  4. Instruct them—or bring in a human resources staff member to educate them—on how to avoid discriminatory questions.
  5. Give them tools that help them evaluate candidates fairly.
  6. Stage mock interviews for practicing the skills they’ve learned.

With shortages in the availability of qualified healthcare workers looming and current turnover costs severely impacting the bottom line, there are very real reasons to use every means available to improve hiring and retention. An excellent way to do this is through the utilization of a peer interviewing process.

Empowering staff results in numerous benefits for the organization. First, the question of why a person was hired is eliminated because it was a team-based decision. Secondly, there is a sense of ownership in the new hire’s ultimate success. Third, those doing the interviewing truly know the tasks at hand and can communicate the job duties effectively.

Finally, the candidate gains candid insight about the company as a place to work, rather than input from a leader who is trying to persuade or sell the recruit. Ultimately, the organization not only realizes a more effective hiring process, it also experiences an improved retention rate and enhanced engagement of existing staff. 


About the Best Practice Series

We are pleased to share the best practices developed by our expert coaches from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. This series of how-to publications offers proven techniques, key words and phrases, and processes to help you transform your culture to one of high performance.

Our Best Practices Series, based on employee-developed and employee-managed practices and programs, includes the following:

  • Hourly Rounding
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Peer Interviewing
  • Bright Ideas™
  • Purposeful Rounding
  • Words that WorkSM
  • Service Recovery
  • Standards of Performance

Our goal for this collection is to offer you even more tools to achieve extraordinary service and higher levels of performance excellence.

Learn more about the services offered by the HealthStream Engagement Institute.

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