By Mike Monahan, RN, MEd
Hiring for “Fit” is the best way to ensure that new hires share the desired values of employees in an organization. If teamwork is an essential value, team-oriented people fit better. If working independently is an essential characteristic, hiring people with a proven record of independent success makes more sense.
The goal of any selection interview is to learn enough about a candidate to be able to predict future on-the-job performance and behavior. That information can then be used to make an informed hiring decision or recommendation.
The three areas of competency to ensure “Hire for Fit” are Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes. Knowledge being education and previous work experience – resume material. Skills being experience, certifications, training, and hard-wired capabilities such as hand-eye coordination or physical strength. Attributes relate to the candidate’s attitude, interests, motivations, and personality traits. These are all important and collectively form the basis for bringing someone into your organization who is most likely to succeed.
The best method for determining a candidate’s “Fit” for your organization is Behavioral Interviewing. Behavioral Interviewing is a technique based on the premise that a candidate’s past behavior is the best predictor of how they will behave in the future. But behavioral traits don’t appear on a resume — they can only come from an interview. Furthermore, interviewers need to obtain repeated examples of behavior to confirm they really exist. Interviews not based on behavioral interviewing techniques inevitably focus exclusively on knowledge — exactly the information that’s already on the resume. While these are clearly important, they only reveal what a candidate actually did. Behavioral interviewing helps get at the “how” and “why” behind a candidate’s performance.
To get the process going, it is important to determine exactly what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are necessary for the job available. For physicians, this would include the education, work experience, licensure, and board certifications required. It should also include a list of particular skills, both clinical and others that are required. These may be things such as surgeries performed, rotations in their fellowships, or use of certain equipment. Finally, what type of person do you want a physician you are considering to be? Work ethic, willingness to work collaboratively with non-physicians, research-oriented, and patient focused are areas to consider.
After reviewing the resume, references, and credentials, an interview with behavioral questions will help get to the “Hire for Fit” assessment. Behavioral questions typically look something like this:
• “Tell me about a time when you . . . .”
• “Give me an example of . . . .”
• “Describe a project where you had to . . . .”
Responses to behavioral questions should have three components:
• A description of the situation
• The candidate’s response to the situation
• The outcome of the response
Here is an example of a physician candidate’s response to a behavioral question designed to determine if they are likely to exhibit a collaborative approach to interactions with non-physician staff:
Interviewer – “So Dr. London, tell me about a time when you established a collaborative partnership with a nurse or other non-physician for the betterment of a patient outcome or process improvement”
Dr. London – “In my position as the medical director at the surgery center, I was concerned that the nurses were not sharing their observations about things we doctors could do to provide safer and better care.” (Situation) “I appointed several nurses to committees and asked them to attend physician meetings where we all had an equal say in what we did well and needed to do better.” (Response) “Lots of good things happened. We had fewer mistakes, less conflict between doctors and nurses, and our patient satisfaction scores improved.” (Outcome)
In this case, you can have a high level of confidence that Dr. London will meet the standard for collaboration that you desire.
Conversely, if the candidate can’t give you an example of their collaboration, is disdainful of the concept in their response, or indicates they don’t see how that matters in their practice, don’t expect to train or encourage that behavior into their future behavior with you.
All things being equal, physicians or any other staff you hire that have the credentials, skills, and attributes and have demonstrated appropriate deployment of those competencies in previous positions will result in a better workforce and a better “Fit” for all.