How to Interview People When You Hate to Interview
As a healthcare industry keynote speaker and breakout speaker who talks on hiring, motivating and retaining non-professional staff members, I frequently get feedback from professionals and office managers on the challenge of interviewing for support staff positions. Most healthcare practices find interviewing prospective support candidates difficult.
Culture or a Good Match?
The conventional wisdom is to find healthcare support staff that will fit in with the “practice culture.” Quite often, the hiring manager, who isn’t fond of interviewing in the first place, will look for someone they’d like to socialize with, someone who matches their vision of a team player. According to the Harvard Business Review (January-February 2018):
“Finding the right people is also not a matter of ‘culture fit.’ What most people really mean when they say someone is a good fit culturally is that he or she is someone they’d like to have a beer with.”
It is perilous to fall back on such assumptions in a high-stress practice. The Harvard Business Review further states:
“People with all sorts of personalities can be great at the job you need done. The misguided hiring strategy [of hiring someone the hiring manager feels comfortable with] can also contribute to a lack of diversity, since very often the people we enjoy hanging out with have backgrounds much like our own.”
The article concludes that hiring good people is about finding good matches, but be open. The matches you need aren’t what you might have originally expected.
Pamela Ballou-Nelson RN, writing for the Medical Group Management Association explained: “One of the key factors relating to employee turnover happens when those in charge of hiring do not take the time to properly evaluate applicants. Hire candidates whose personalities and skills match the job requirements, even if finding the right person initially takes a little longer. New hires who are not a good fit for a job do not tend to stay in those positions, with hiring problems accounting for as much as 80 percent of employee turnover.”
Healthcare industry experts used to say that 15 percent was a reasonable front office support staff turnover estimate. According to the Medical Group Management Association (November 2018), it has crept up to 20 percent or more. It is expensive to find and hire new people; better to take your time and do it right the first time.
Interviewing is an Art
Anyone responsible for interviewing potential healthcare support staff is expected to have excellent communication skills, technical knowledge of the field, a sense of engagement and a passion for what they do. However, basic interviewing tools are not enough in today’s tight job market.
According to the website iEduNote.com, among the top interview skills identified include more hidden and intuitive abilities including active listening skills, emotional maturity, empathy and the ability to recognize uniqueness.
Even if you hate the idea of interviewing potential candidates, understand that the applicant is interviewing you as you talk to them. Interviewing is an art. Interview with your heart as well as your head. Healthcare practices are much too dynamic, flexible and demanding to allow for unhappy or even toxic people to sit in the chair next to you.
Mike Hourigan, Healthcare Industry Keynote and Breakout Speaker
For more information on Mike Hourigan’s Healthcare Industry Motivational keynotes and break-out training on hiring, training and retaining non-professional office personnel, call him today at: (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.