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Job Candidate Reaction to Healthcare Employee Assessments

February 23, 2012

Structured selection tools have been used for decades in many industries.  If properly designed and used, they improve quality, reduce turnover, reduce injuries and enhance legal defensibility.

Just as healthcare only recently started to bring in processes like lean and six sigma, they are turning to more sophisticated approaches to building their workforce.

One common point of resistance is the real or perceived shortage of candidates in some fields.  Recruiters, particularly, are leery of anything that might negatively impact the candidate experience.  To that end, I wanted to share some recent feedback and data from the selection system at a large academic hospital system.  Applicants were asked to rate the experience on a 1 – 5 scale. 

  1. Overall, participating in this assessment process was a positive experience – 4.34
  2. The length of the process was appropriate for this role – 4.29
  3. This assessment gave me a positive first impression of the hospital’s commitment to selecting the best employees – 4.29

Applicants also have the opportunity to provide comments.  Here are a few:

I actually thought the assessment process was fun and refreshing and has given some insight into how the hospital might select candidates.”  

“I feel as though this assessment process is a very effective, efficient, and fair part of the recruitment process. . . questions were relevant and allowed me to demonstrate my qualities and work ethics. This tool gave me a very positive view of the hospital.”

The other audience that is a challenge in healthcare is the hiring manager.  The various professions and departments have a great deal of autonomy and are leery of HR taking a bigger, more structured role in the hiring process.  Feedback from hiring managers in the same hospital system:

  • “The assessment process was a godsend. Our new hires . . .have demonstrated exactly what we are looking for in our nurses. This process was definitely a good predictor of success and cultural fit.”  - Nurse Manager. OR
  • “The interview questions are really helpful and helped during the interview”  -  Respiratory Care Manager
  • “Resume review time and the number of interviews conducted for entry level positions was cut in half” - Sr. Staffing Partner

What you don’t see in the data/comments are the reasons for the success:

  • Selection system success is only partly about the quality of the test.  How it is used and positioned within the organization are critical.
  • You don’t get these results with off-the-shelf tests you buy online.  This hospital built a comprehensive hiring “system” designed to meet its unique needs, using tools designed for healthcare.
  • Real work went into configuring interview content and pre-employment assessments to match the identified competencies.  Be leery of approaches and sexy-looking “simple” solutions.  They are easy to sell, but are often abandoned after a few years because they don’t have a real impact.
  • We also worked closely with the hospital’s compliance department to enhance the legal defensibility of the system.
Interested in healthcare hiring? Check out our eBook, Healthcare Hiring Essentials.

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.