Compassionate CaregiverMost experts agree that compassion is necessary in just about every industry known to man. It helps grow companies, bond employees, strengthen team efforts and produce magnificent results. In long term care communities, compassion is the driving force behind the community’s reputation and maintaining happy residents. One of the most difficult challenges that you’ll face as an interviewer is determining whether the candidate you’re evaluating will offer the compassion your residents need.

An applicant’s experience and education helps you assess if they’re the right fit for the “technical” aspect of long term care, but what about their compassion? Long term care residents rely on staff for their physical and mental well-being. Hiring employees that lack empathy, sympathy and understanding for these residents could create friction and negative energy in your community.

The Importance of Compassion in Long Term Care

Long term care residents want to feel independent, and they want to have their medical needs met in a compassionate way. A recent article published by PubMed Health outlines the problem with compassion fatigue nurses have working in long term care. Compassion fatigue is caused when nurses detach themselves from the residents after facing continuous losses and challenging situations. This type of detachment can ruin the reputation of a long term care community and cause residents to develop depression as they become detached from the staff. The only way to prevent this kind of detachment is to have protocols in place to counsel the nursing staff and to ensure that team morale doesn’t weaken and to avoid hiring nurses who are already victims of compassion fatigue. Here are three things to consider to avoid compassion fatigue when interviewing candidates for long term care:

1. Realize they can fake compassion

It’s fairly easy to tell whether a candidate is hardworking and flexible during the interview, but is he or she compassionate? When asking a tough interviewing question such as, “What challenging situation did you encounter at your last job and how did you handle it?” does their answer display compassion? This is often tough to decide, since many candidates prepare answers to these frequently asked questions. In fact, an article published by the Nursing Center warns candidates to anticipate these types of questions and advises them on how to give impressive answers. The problem with this is not knowing whether a candidate is actually compassionate or well-rehearsed.

2. Incorporate panel interviews with your residents

By involving residents in your interview process you are able to introduce applicants to people who they would work with on a day-to-day basis. Candidates say that panel interviews make them feel as if they have already made a connection with the residents. With behavioral assessment software, you are able to generate position tailored interview guides based on the candidate’s behavioral assessment results. In addition, residents are often better qualified to answer candidate questions about job details than HR or the hiring manager. This process often enhances the candidate experience by evaluating candidates who are already emotionally invested in the role. 

3. Consider a more scientific approach

Behavioral assessment software can help you determine a candidate’s compassion level by assessing how they handled previous difficult situations. From this process, you can measure their compassion more effectively. Healthcare behavioral software is a very specific assessment program used to assess potential healthcare staff. Many HR leaders find it hard to determine an applicant’s sincerity or compassion; missing certain signs during the interview can result in hiring the wrong person or overlooking the best applicant. Utilizing behavioral assessment software is a step in the right direction for hiring the most compassionate applicants.

In long term care, hiring candidates with compassion for their job is essential for the wellbeing of your residents. By looking for candidates that possess compassion for people from the start, long term care organizations can avoid nurses with compassion fatigue and ensure that they’re hiring the best staff to provide their residents with the best care possible.


Interview White Paper ipadAre you interested in learning more about how you can improve the interview process at your healthcare organization? Download our free educational white paper titled:

Improving the Interview Process: 6 Strategies for Healthcare HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals

In this white paper, we share six strategies for talent acquisition professionals to consider adopting to improve their healthcare organization’s interview process.

About Meghan Doherty

Meghan Doherty is a content marketing professional based in the Greater Boston area. She has more than five years of experience creating and managing content for SaaS companies in the healthcare and talent management spaces.