4 Healthcare Hiring Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

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Hiring in healthcare is complex — you’re dealing with a high volume of job applicants for multi-disciplinary positions, competing in the “war for talent” for qualified candidates, adjusting to shrinking budgets, responding to hiring manager requests, and much, MUCH more. Essentially, talent acquisition professionals are expected “to do more with less,” and in the hectic healthcare environment, that is no easy feat.

In order to keep things running as smoothly as possible in the increasingly complex world of healthcare recruitment, here are four healthcare hiring mistakes talent acquisition professionals can easily avoid:

Mistake #1: Looking for the perfect resume. 

It’s important to remember that it’s not about finding the perfect resume; it’s about finding the perfect person. It would be naive to base your new healthcare hire on their resume alone. When hiring in healthcare, you can’t just look at an applicant’s professional experience, academic credentials, and skill-sets; you have to look at the applicant’s inherent behavioral competencies, such compassion, adaptability, and service-orientation. By using behavioral assessments, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate whether or not the candidate is a cultural fit for your organization.

It’s important to choose a behavioral assessment solution that compares the individual’s results to healthcare peer benchmark data in order to objectively uncover their innate strengths and weaknesses. These types of scientifically-validated assessments are a proven way to identify those who are most likely to succeed in your organization. Remember, no matter how “perfect” someone looks on paper, it’s not going to work out in the long-run if their personal values and behavioral competencies lack alignment with the organization’s culture and mission.

Mistake #2: Going with your gut and your gut alone. 

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A “gut feeling” is an instinctual and/or emotional reaction to something based on unconscious thoughts, rather than logical rationale. While you may feel pressure from senior leaders and hiring managers to fill open requisitions and reduce your time-to-fill ratio, it’s important to be sure that you’re thoroughly evaluating all candidates before extending a formal job offer.  While your gut may be right at times, it can also be wrong. With that said, you can avoid the risk and repercussions of a bad hire by taking a scientific approach to interviewing with behavioral assessments.

By incorporating assessments and behavioral-based interviewing into your hiring processes, you’ll be able to conduct more strategic in-person interviews by asking questions that will reveal a candidate’s cultural competencies.  When qualified candidates are interviewed in-person, recruiters and hiring managers can rely on customized follow-up questions, designed to probe any potential weaknesses revealed in the results. Jared Wright, Recruiter at Silverado At Home’s Dallas branch said: “Candidates often say that the questions really make them think about themselves and their behaviors in more depth. And those same individuals frequently turn out to be the best applicants. I find that the percentage of quality candidates I interview is much higher as a result of using a behavior assessment tool, and higher quality staff translates into better customer service.”

Even though they aced the interview and pulled the “I want to get into healthcare to help people” line, it’s important to focus hiring those who have the competencies to succeed, not just the desire.

Mistake #3: Overlooking candidate reference checks.

Using the old phone-based reference checks is always a hassle, and never gives you the insights you really need on the candidate. Often, recruiters give up on getting through to the reference over the phone or the former employer gives a glowing review of an average (or worse, bad) candidate.

By using an automated reference assessment, everything is done online and the reference questions are based on behavioral science. The questions are more focused on how the former employee has actually seen the candidate perform on the job. For example, the old phone-based reference question, which isn’t terribly accurate would be, “How would you rate this nurse’s ability to interact in a caring manner with patients?” However, giving the reference the ability to rank a statement such as, “He/she takes actions that demonstrate concern for the feelings of the patients,” allows for a more accurate response.

Mistake #4: Assuming your job is done after the offer is accepted. 

mistake -1After going through the whole hiring process, recruiters tend to move on to filling the next position. But wait, you’re not done yet!  It’s important to keep track of how well the new employee is performing. Engage the employee by following up with them for the first 90 days or a slightly longer duration. An applicant tracking system that was used before the hiring process should now be used to track and check in with the new hire. If you positively contribute to new hire retention, you’ll become even more valuable to your healthcare organization.

And never forget that recruiters are the backbone of healthcare by indirectly delivering quality patient care by providing quality talent for their organization.


 Are you interested in learning how leading healthcare organizations are using behavioral-based assessments to recruit and retain top healthcare talent? 

Download our white paper, Identifying Today’s High Performers and Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Leveraging Behavioral Assessments for Healthcare Talent Managementto learn how you can revolutionize the way you attract, assess, select, and develop your employees. 

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About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.