In healthcare, extended interviewing and thorough hiring processes are both necessary and inevitable. Unfortunately, their importance doesn’t prevent them from taking a toll on those involved — perhaps even causing a few “healthcare hiring headaches” that could contribute to HR burnout. Of course, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of you who work in healthcare.

Interview staff, hiring managers, and HR employees alike are responsible for filling the wide range of available positions (most of which come with three shifts a piece) that exist in the multiple departments of however many facilities their healthcare organization supervises. Additionally, the high turnover rates and strict compliance demands that accompany virtually every available healthcare position makes the task of interviewing potential new hires seem all the more daunting. Naturally, all of this pressure can put a lot of stress on your interview staff — and if you’re not careful, this pressure can develop into burnout

With all the challenges involved in the hiring process, it makes sense that interview staff often struggle with burnout. That said, the interview process is crucial to recruiting and retaining the best healthcare hires possible, so it’s important to find a way to keep your interview staff from becoming detached from their jobs. Fortunately, although it is very common, the “burnout phase” that so many HR employees and interview staff members go though is not inevitable. There are many ways healthcare organizations can determine which aspects of the interview process are causing their HR staff and hiring managers the most stress; and there are effective solutions to simplifying the interview process, too.

Here are some tips for making sure the interview process isn’t causing your HR team to burn out or fade away:

Treat Your HR Employees Like Talent Scouts

HR thought leader, Josh Bersin, revealed in a recent Forbes article that being doubtful of your HR department’s capabilities can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He suspects the reason people are so cynical about HR departments is because, in many ways, they’re set up for failure. To fix this problem, Bersin suggests making it clear to your HR employees that they should stop thinking of themselves as “service providers” and start considering themselves to be “talent consultants” instead. The responsibility of any quality HR department is to recruit and retain the best possible talent for their organization, so treating your HR employees like talent scouts actually makes a lot of sense. While this recommendation may sound like a fantasy for many HR departments, it really shouldn’t. Explain to your administration that by adjusting the focus of your HR department to be more talent-focused, you will effectively add quality healthcare employees to organization’s employee roster.

Let Your Candidates Do Most of the Talking

If an interviewer feels like they have to talk to potential new hires for an hour or more at a time, then of course they’re going to feel burnt out after just a few days. Advise your interview staff to let candidates open up to them. Obviously, interviewers should always be friendly and thorough. That said, allowing candidates to do most of the talking may lead them to reveal crucial details about their work ethic and workplace goals. Tell your interviewers to focus on taking notes and answering any questions potential hires may have about the position they’re interviewing for, rather than leading the conversation.

Develop an Efficient Interview Process

The first step to reducing the risk of burnout among your HR department and interview staff is ensuring that your organization develops an efficient, easy-to-stick-to, interviewing system. If all of your staff are on the same page concerning your organization’s interviewing process, then preparing for and documenting interviews will naturally become smoother for everyone. Some of the stress your interview staff feels comes from a lack of certainty of their role and responsibility in the process. Interviewing staff and hiring managers may feel confident and energetic when they begin their roles, but the more time passes, the more likely they are to feel less self-assured and more stressed out.

By using structured interview guides, and training HR and hiring managers on how to use them, will help everyone understand their role in the hiring process. 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. An established “handbook” of your organization’s interview processes can help prevent any anxiety employees may be feeling regarding interview protocol. In addition, it should help your interview staff feel more certain and satisfied about their own job performances.

A written interview guide is a simple way to inform your staff about everything they need to know regarding the interview process. They’ll get to learn about how your company handles screening, as well as which interview questions they need to ask in order to successfully evaluate whether a candidate is the best fit for your organization. Be sure to include an index in your guide, too. This way, staff can quickly and easily consult the right section during moments of doubt.

Be Specific With Your Job Descriptions

One of the most frustrating aspects of the interview process is quickly realizing that the candidate you’re interviewing is not qualified for the position you’re trying to fill. It’s time consuming and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Eliminating this common problem is actually pretty simple. Before your organization posts a job listing, make sure the job description is as specific and thorough as possible. By doing this, you’re narrowing down the number of applications your HR department has to wade through while simultaneously ensuring that the resumes your staff does spend time reading are worth their effort. Involving all of your staff in this process will keep the expectations and required qualifications for candidates clear to everyone in your facilities.

Make Hiring Managers Part of the Process

Hiring managers often make the mistake of delegating all interviewing tasks to HR, and this practice is likely one of the biggest contributors to HR burnout. When you encourage your hiring managers to take on part of the interview-workload, you’ll witness your team’s work capacity increase. Plus, you’ll watch your supervisors become more invested in overseeing the hiring process from start to finish.

Streamline Processes with Technology and Lean Initiatives

When it comes to optimizing healthcare talent management processes, the implementation of technology and the application of Lean principles is a great place to start.  At its core, Lean focuses on four areas: removing non-valued activities and waste, reducing wait time, reducing errors in work, and improving customer satisfaction. In addition, consider the following talent management technology solutions to further streamline processes:

  • Applicant Tracking System: Applicant tracking systems and onboarding software eliminates the costly inefficiencies often associated with talent acquisition. Consider using healthcare-specific recruiting software in order to accelerate hiring, improves management and staff productivity, attract high-quality personnel, and reduces talent acquisition costs.
  • Behavioral Assessment Software: Behavioral-based assessment software transforms the interview process by comparing the individual to healthcare peer benchmark data objectively uncovering strengths and weaknesses, and helps you to hire applicants who are more likely to provide a high level of patient-focused care. By incorporating pre-hire assessments and behavioral interviewing techniques into your hiring processes, your talent acquisition team and hiring managers will be able to conduct more strategic in-person interviews.
  • Automated Reference Checking Software: The traditional phone-based method of checking references is labor-intensive, often unproductive, and rarely provides the thoughtful insights you really want (and need) on the candidate. Consider ditching the cold calls and adopt an automated reference checking solution, making it easy for reference providers to give confidential input.

All of these systems help make the lives of your HR and interview staff easier while simultaneously allowing them more time to focus on their responsibilities. So what’s the bottom line?

The role of HR, hiring managers, and interview staff within the healthcare industry couldn’t be more important. However, the pressures and heavy workloads of these positions makes burnout perfectly understandable. Because of this, it’s essential that your organization does everything in their power to make the whole interview process as simplified, specific, and streamlined as possible. Luckily, we can help you with all of that.

Are you interested in learning more about how to improve the interview process at your healthcare organization? 

Download  our white paper: Improving the Interview Process: 6 Strategies for Healthcare HR and Talent Acquisition ProfessionalsIn this white paper, we share six strategies to consider that can help your healthcare organization improve recruitment processes while simultaneously reducing the “hiring headaches” that lead to HR burnout. 


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.