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Best Practices For Using Assessments To Power Healthcare Hiring

Building a strong team is at the core of successful healthcare. Whether that’s a nursing unit, administrative cohort, or back-office group, finding, training and keeping the right people who function well individually and as a group is key to success.

That’s why, six or seven years ago, the mindset of how HR selected and presented candidate pools to hiring managers began a dramatic shift, say Bryan Warren, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Select International, and Dr. Ted Kinney, Select’s Vice President of Research and Development, both of whom use data to build effective hiring, development, and leadership programs.

It used to be that “The hiring managers chose who they liked, and if that employee didn’t work out the hiring manager asked for the next batch of resumes and candidates,” Warren says. “It was HR's job to find the people, and generally the managers also looked to HR and organizational-development professionals to develop the people. Now organizations are asking their managers to take more accountability for the team, for selecting it and for building it.”

While those expectations have changed, the tools that the organizations are providing the managers have not always kept up, Warren adds.

“One of the tools that Ted and his team developed almost 10 years ago now, and continue to update, helps nursing managers understand the behavioral strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. What they’re looking at is a report from a 20-minute online assessment taken by the candidate. A nurse manager can then interview this candidate, already understanding behavioral strengths and weaknesses.”

For instance, if a candidate scores low in the areas of dependability and emotional intelligence these would be areas to probe during an interview and would be areas of focus during developmental efforts should that person be hired. Enhancing and strengthening this process is a new tool, HealthStream Assess, which Select and HealthStream are developing for release later in 2018.

“This is going to combine the behavioral competence measurement expertise of Ted and his team with HealthStream’s clinical and technical measurement tools,” Warren explains. “You'll end up with a very comprehensive developmental tool that's going to empower managers to understand nurses' global strengths and area of development.”

Assessments allow candidates to showcase themselves

And while there may be some concern that applicants find the assessments to be invasive as an up-front requirement of the application, they tend to report a positive feeling, says Kinney.

“Usually close to 100 percent on average of our candidates like our assessments,” he says. “The one area where scores are a little bit lower is the rating about measuring skills and abilities. Our tests don’t typically measure skills and abilities. So, these ratings actually should be lower. That's an important point because it indicates, to me, that the candidates rating the assessments higher in other areas weren't just blowing smoke to get a job. Rather they actually do believe that these assessments are positive. The reason for this is that the most important determinant of how candidates will feel about your selection system is whether or not they feel they were given an opportunity to show their stuff. If you don’t get enough data about them, your candidates will not feel like you’re making fair decisions, and they will not like your hiring process.”

He backs that up with qualitative research his team did at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In Candidates were asked open-ended questions about how they felt about the assessment process. Many of the candidates reported that the assessment actually made them want to work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center more than they did before they applied to the position, he says.

“The typical reason was that in that extremely competitive labor market, where there are a lot of hospitals within blocks of one another, they were the only hospital system who 'cared enough' about who they hired to actually assess them.”

About Bryan Warren:

Bryan Warren is the Director of Healthcare Solutions at Select International, where he leads the healthcare team and is actively involved with their clients on executive and position leadership selection in development projects. Dr. Ted Kinney is Vice President of Research and Development at Select International, where he focuses on using data to build and implement effective hiring and development programs that support larger business goals.

This blog post is taken from a HealthStream Webinar. To access Warren and Kinney’s full discussion, click here.

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