It Takes a Village … to Interview Candidates for Our New Hospital

Apr 17, 2012

They say it takes a village to raise a child — a proverb that I have recently learned translates to recruiting physicians, clinicians, and administrative associates for our new hospital. Nemours Children’s Hospital is currently recruiting 600 new associates for its 95-bed facility, which anchors our 60-acre, fully integrated pediatric health care campus. And, we have taken an innovative approach to interviewing potential candidates that gives our most important stakeholders — patients and families — a voice in hiring the best possible health care providers and administrative leaders.

The Idea

As human resources professionals, we are continuously searching for ways to enhance our ability to recruit superior employees for our organizations. Traditional recruitment tactics have focused on pleasing internal stakeholders. We evaluate a candidate’s skills and experience, as well as behavioral qualities to ensure the candidate is both technically qualified and a fit for our organization’s culture. Is the candidate willing to perform services in a way that we think is best for the patient? Sure. But, it’s almost never asked if the candidate is willing to perform services in a way that the customer feels is best for themselves and their child.

Nemours Children’s Hospital tasked the human resources team to challenge the status quo and create a new method for the recruitment and selection process that would forge a direct partnership between our customers and the hospital.

The Family Advisory Council is comprised of diverse individuals whose experiences in pediatric health care are helping shape the design and operation of Nemours Children’s Hospital. To lend our external stakeholders a voice in the recruitment process, we used this unique asset and created a process to allow our Council members to interview select candidates for the new hospital.

The Process

Developing an effective protocol for Council interviews with potential candidates would be a challenge. The Council is supporting the development of a family-centered patient care model that requires open communication between health care providers, patients, and their family members. We determined that their feedback on candidates’ behavioral qualities would be most useful to ensuring we hire candidates that value the family-centered approach to patient care, and the human resources team provided training on behavioral interviewing techniques. The Council learned a variety of interview skills that would help them ask the right questions to assess candidates seeking positions in clinical and executive leadership roles. Together, we structured questions for each interview. Human resources then shared its vast knowledge in behavioral assessment to ensure we received pragmatic feedback from their interviews.

The Results

Feedback from the Council interviews has proved invaluable in the selection of the finest physicians and associates to manage our hospital. We have effectively avoided the pitfall of hiring a physician or administrative leader who may have met our organizational needs, but wasn’t a fit for the customer. We even selected one of our senior executive leaders over another candidate based on feedback from the Council interview. This is important because Nemours Children’s Hospital and its family-centered patient care model can only be successful if we recruit associates who believe in the model and see the value of partnering with families to realize the highest level of patient care. After all, you can have the best physician or clinician on your staff, but it won’t help anyone if the patients and their families are not comfortable under their care.

Our unique interview process has also earned Nemours Children’s Hospital recognition in the community. The Council was recognized with innovation awards from the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and Florida Hospital Association for its success and creativity in diversifying health care. Such recognition has generated high-quality prospects for our organization, enhancing the human resource department’s contributions to our organizational goals.

The Future

Our human resources team is entrenched in the process of hiring for the new hospital, which will open in October. I firmly believe that the families we look forward to serving at Nemours Children’s Hospital will reap the benefits of our investment in this one-of-a-kind behavioral interview process.

I hope to see more organizations involve their consumers and stakeholders in the recruitment process. Think about the day-to-day interactions you have with the educators who teach your children, police who keep your streets safe, or financial planners who manage your accounts. Imagine if you had a voice in recruiting those people, helping to select candidates who have your best interests at heart. Bringing this recruitment technique to more organizations empowers human resources professionals to build a new level of trust between customers and organizations, cultivating loyalty and creating a veritable village of highly invested stakeholders guiding your organization to a successful future.

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