Improving the Interview ProcessThe healthcare hiring process has become more challenging and competitive than ever for recruiters. But you can reduce your time-to-fill by improving how you interview candidates. We’re not suggesting you should rush the interview process — the wrong hire can cost the organization more in the end. In fact, a study published in Healthcare Finance News found that one unfilled healthcare position can cost an average of $7,700.

Here are five healthcare interviewing best practices you should consider to meet today’s hiring demands:

1. Assess Your Current Interview Process

The first step is assessing your healthcare recruitment team’s interview process. Determine what works well, what can be improved, and what is broken beyond repair. Examine all aspects of your interview process, from the current sourcing trends to possible alternative recruitment strategies for healthcare. Have you lost candidates to competitors in the past? How’s your tone during the interview? Once you’ve evaluated the current interview process, you can create a recruitment optimization plan.

2. Conduct Behavioral-Based Assessments

The best way to know a candidate’s fit for your organization is by studying their past behavior. In healthcare, behavioral-based assessments enable interviewers to ask candidates to describe in detail how they responded to similar situations in the past. This helps healthcare organizations recruit candidates with the traits, temperament, and inherent behavioral competencies suited to working in the healthcare environment. To evaluate a candidate’s level of care and compassion, consider the following question outline:

Describe your most rewarding experience helping others.

–  What was the situation?

–  Exactly what did you do?

–  What motivated you to do this?

–  What was the outcome of your efforts?

Healthcare recruiters are advised to leverage behavioral-based assessments to align the interview process to the organization’s culture. Regardless of how qualified the candidate, hiring for cultural fit is critical to increasing retention at any healthcare organization. You should always hire for attitude and train for skill.

3. Interview as a Team

Shifting away from top-down decision-making and toward a collaborative model can have a positive impact on hiring results, productivity, and retention. Hiring managers should consider including the department supervisor, one or two immediate coworkers, and a representative from another department in the interview process. To foster a culture of transparency and collaboration, consider implementing team-based goal setting, 360-degree feedback, and shared decision-making to inspire teamwork.

4. Be Consistent

Following a consistent interviewing strategy allows interviewers to be objective when faced with professionals who naturally interview better than others. If you’re consistent and ask everyone the same style of questions by using a structured interview guide, you’ll be better able to quickly identify candidates who interview well but may not serve your organizational mission.

To remain consistent and impartial, consider the following candidate evaluation tactics:

  • Create a checklist: Closely following a protocol for each interview will help you maintain consistency throughout the hiring process.
  • Outline your expectations: Create a list of desired attributes and rank them on a scale of importance from one to five.
  • Categorize your questions: Try to categorize your list of interview questions by the list of traits determined above. (e.g., service orientation, willingness to learn, and critical thinking)
  • Use a scoring system: Using your outlined traits, rate each candidate on a scale of one to five at the end of the interview with the same scoring sheet.
  • Rank each candidate: It’s time to compare his or her rating to the importance of each trait. Multiply the interviewee’s score in each category by its importance. This is their weighted score. Once you’ve weighted each category, add their total score and compare them with other interviewees to choose the best fit for your organization.

5. Practice Makes Perfect

Interviewing is a skill that requires training and practice like any other acquired talent. Establish what types of questions to ask, how to ask them, and how to properly listen for a response. You may also allow the interviewer to observe a hiring process being carried-out successfully. Then have them role-play and practice the skills they learned. Not only does it permit self-reflection and evaluation, it allows for mistakes to be made in a nurturing environment, conducive to learning and professional development.

By implementing the aforementioned healthcare recruitment best practices, you can dramatically improve your interview process and improve employee engagement in your healthcare organization.

Does your team follow any of these practices? Please share in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!


Are you interested in learning more about how you can improve the interview process at your healthcare organization and avoid common interview mistakes? Download our white paper:
Improving the Interview Process: 6 Strategies for Healthcare HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals

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

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.