By Nina Panugaling
As an employer or interviewer, you want the best of the best; but to get the best, you need to ask the right questions. When hiring any new employee, the stakes are high from a business standpoint. However, in the healthcare industry, the stakes are even higher — you're dealing with people's health.
That is why you'll want to acquire and keep a stacked team of skilled employees who are both empathetic and adaptable. In order to do so, you need to start from the beginning, focusing on the hiring process. As stated by Stefan Benndorf, Managing Director at Applift, "Entrepreneurs need to change their mindset. Hiring is not a chore or a side job — it is the foundation of their business."
The growth of your practice will depend on successful recruitment. If you're ready to tighten up your interview process, here are some healthcare interview questions to guide you.
Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has received plenty of attention in terms of employment — mainly due to rapid shifts in business objectives, marketing, data security, finance, and other categories related to patient care.
As stated in Harvard Business Review, only around one-third of U.S. companies report that they monitor whether or not their hiring process actually leads to good employees. The available research shows that employers continually complain about how difficult hiring is, yet they are hiring more than any other time in modern history.
Hiring appears to be challenging because the majority of openings are now filled by hiring candidates from outside instead of promoting from within. Also, retention has become tough — this is particularly true within the healthcare system. That is why you cannot afford to waste time hiring the wrong people.
Tip: To combat some of the challenges associated with hiring and employee turnover, in addition to interviewing potential candidates from outside of the practice for new positions, you should also consider internal interviews to fill existing positions. In addition, while hiring, it's important to focus on a candidate's innate personality and their natural abilities — not just their resume.
When looking for the perfect hire, you'll likely have a checklist of what it is you're looking for. While experience, education, and skill are imperative within the healthcare industry, it's important to dig a little deeper when it comes to the healthcare management interview questions you ask each candidate.
During the hiring process, ask yourself, will the candidate fit in with your team and culture? Do they seem like they can handle the pressure? These are the types of things you need to keep in the back of your mind.
This question is the staple "why" question, but it is more tailored towards the individual. By asking this question, you will gain greater insight in terms of who the candidate is, and more importantly, what motivates them. Working in the healthcare industry requires immense passion and dedication, so look for signs of this in the stories they tell.
Encourage them to explain both their educational and work-related background, as well as their personal journey that led them to where they are today. Depending on the position, although clinical skills are crucial, the candidate should also showcase compassion.
For example, if you're interviewing a potential physiotherapy candidate, focus on what they have to say in terms of their personal and academic journey, in addition to their relevant work experience and transferable skills. Did they volunteer somewhere unique? Do they have an interesting story to tell in terms of their background and interests?
Once you have a better idea of who they are and where they come from, in terms of why they chose their profession, you can then ask more situational questions (i.e. what would you say to a doctor to give reason for the importance of physiotherapy treatment — or how would you personally measure your effectiveness as a physiotherapist?)
This question can be left up to interpretation, which can be very telling. The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, and in today's workforce, it's important to build a team of innovative, creative thinkers — regardless of the industry. When you have a team full of employees who can offer ideas on how to do things better, that's how a company grows.
Creative thinkers often make connections that will better your workplace. The key here is to look for signs that the candidate is not only innovative but that they can also adapt to change.
For example, as a dentist, you likely often think about where your practice is headed, continuously aiming toward a successful future. For that to happen, you need the right team to fuel your vision. Pay attention to how the candidate's answers align with your vision. If they offer suggestions that you have not yet thought of, they may be an asset as you build on your desired future.
Although relatable to the question above, this question is less philosophical and focuses more on advancing technology and research. This will show you how involved the candidate is within the industry. For some, a job is just a job — and for others, it's much more than that.
While knowing everything that's going on in the industry is certainly not a requirement, this will show you who truly enjoys their job, and as long as you provide a positive work environment, hiring these types of candidates could help you potentially reduce your turnover rate. Also, that type of enthusiasm can be contagious, spreading positive awareness across an entire team.
For example, a doctor who is very passionate about their career will likely read the latest research related to their area of expertise, be mindful of changes in the industry, and have an understanding of the latest technology. This type of mentality will bring a lot to the workplace, especially in terms of your patients' experiences.
Depending on the industry and the position you aim to fill, working in healthcare can be one of the most stressful jobs out there. The ability to remain calm is critical, especially while working with those in need of specialized care. By asking them for an example, you can gauge how they applied their emotional intelligence in the past. After all, a candidate's ability to manage their own emotions, empathize, and communicate effectively during times of high-stress is invaluable within the healthcare industry, particularly among surgeons.
Everyone makes mistakes, it's what they take away from that mistake that matters. Depending on what the candidate says, you'll be able to assess their level of insight, especially in terms of problem-solving. It will be interesting to see how the candidate handles this question, as they should not pass the blame onto others and focus more on what they personally took away from the experience.
For example, when interviewing for a position within your dentist practice, the goal here is to discuss an honest failure to better understand how the candidate handles setbacks when things don't go as planned — and more importantly, what they took away from it. The failure may have been a team failure, which is fine, as long as they elaborate on what they learned from the situation.
Regardless of your hiring process and the questions you ask, in addition to your specific needs, it's important to remain mindful of the long-term potential of each candidate, their level of passion, and ability to put their skill to action, as well as whether or not they are a team player.
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Quick note: This is not to be taken as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance. Learn about HR for Health's HR services