If you are an executive director, administrator or department manager, arguably the most important part of your job is the hiring of staff.  The interview process is never black and white for any industry, but hiring in senior housing is especially challenging.  High turnover, a wide range of positions to fill, and grueling resident care requirements are just some of the contributing factors. Here are two steps you can take to improve your interview process:

1. Align the Interview with the Job Description

Make it easy for candidates to evaluate your organization, and make sure you’re attracting qualified candidates. It starts with the job description.  Make it easy for applicants to understand the job responsibilities before they apply by involving those who understand the role best.  Hiring managers and their staff should be involved in the selection of dimensions and characteristics for the role, and then apply those to the job description.

2. Be Consistent and Look for Cultural Fit

While many organizations have adopted behavioral-based interviewing methods*, it can be problematic if executed without a consistent approach.  Once you find those candidates who look good on paper, using behavioral-based assessment technology is often the best way to pre-screen candidates before they move forward in the interview process. These tools provide a consistent interview guide with questions designed to find the right personality and cultural fit for the position and for your organization. “Consistency in the interview process is critical,” noted Mark Wiersma, Assessment Division Manager for HealthcareSource. “Using a structured interview process ensures that candidates will be asked job-related questions built around critical job competencies.  Good questions mean good data.”  From a risk management perspective, consistency and a structured interview guide is imperative.

To avoid asking “yes or no” questions and questions that lead candidates to give you the answers you want to hear, Mark Wiersma recommends using the SAO method to obtain answers that demonstrate behaviors. The interviewer should ask for a specific example of a past experience, such as, “Give me an example of when you had to deal with an overly demanding person – someone who demanded constant attention to the point where it impacted your ability to get other important work done.” Then, interviewer should take notes and listen for 3 components within the answer to the question: Situation (S): Does the applicant understand the situation or task they are being asked about? The situation or task facing the applicant Action(A): What actions did the applicant take or what actions would they take? Outcome (O): The results or changes caused by those actions The interview process should always be focused on hiring candidates who are an excellent fit for your organization – using a structured interview guide helps facilitate this.

Successful long-term care professionals employ interview strategies that are built around their unique culture, such as job descriptions that reflect the requirements of position.  This helps attract new hires that will be successful in their organization.  Another key to success is ensuring consistency while interviewing candidates – during each step of the process. Not only does consistency help make the process more efficient, but it also imparts a positive impression on candidates.

This is an abbreviated version of a white paper titled, ‘Improving the Interview Process: 7 Steps for Long-term Care HR,” which was published by HealthcareSource.  HealthcareSource is the leading provider of talent management software for the healthcare industry.  To download a complimentary copy of the entire white paper – and learn what the other steps are – please click here. *Behavioral description or behavioral consistency questions ask the candidate to describe how he or she behaved in previous relevant situations. Because past behavior can be considered the best predictor of future behavior in the same kinds of situations, these questions are particularly helpful. They are most useful when they probe for specific details about how an applicant behaved in previous situations.

Don’t miss a single issue of Senior Housing Forum, subscribe today. It is free! We do not sell or share your contact information. The posts are practical and never too long. Go to the main page of Senior Housing Forum and on the right hand side you will see a place to enter your email to subscribe. You will receive notification when a new article is posted. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Finally: If you know anyone who is looking at emergency call systems I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about Vigil Health Solutions.