By Debra K. Pickup, RN, M.S., Consultant, Barlow/McCarthy, Plymouth, MA
Most experienced recruiters would agree that managing the physician interview process is challenging. Beyond all of the site visit details, there is a critical need to engage, develop and support members of the interview team. Without a clear strategy and process, the organization stands to lose physician talent in today’s highly competitive market.
Most physicians have had limited formal training on how to conduct an interview that is intentionally designed to assess skills, knowledge, competencies and cultural fit. Without a clearly defined purpose and process, there is a natural tendency to conduct a "social” interview that often focuses on commonalities related to training, colleagues and personal interests. Not only is this interviewing style inefficient, it’s a missed opportunity to assess the candidate’s strengths and abilities that are critical for the success of the team and organization.
Although most physicians welcome the opportunity to participate on the interviewing team, time constraints and competing priorities will always be an issue. With this in mind, the goal of training is to provide the team with tools and materials that are clear and concise. Essential materials should include:
- Objectives and goals of the opportunity.
- Organizational or service line goals.
- A profile and attributes of the "ideal” candidate.
- EEO guidelines for interviewing.
- Customized fact-based and behavioral questions.
- Candidate evaluation mechanism.
While it would be ideal to have all members of the interview team participate in training as a whole, it’s often unrealistic. The ability to be flexible and adapt the delivery approach is key. Training sometimes works best during a quick lunch or over the phone, and is often most effective when done one-on-one with each team member.
It’s important to provide the team with a guide and specific questions that will assure consistency and reduce subjectivity in the decision making process. The guide should outline the competencies or skill being assessed (teamwork, communication, problem-solving, etc.), accompanied by several behavioral-based questions for each category. In addition to the list of competencies and sample questions, it is helpful to include an area for the interviewer to take notes and a system that rates the candidate along a continuum.
The recruiter can play a pivotal role to support the interviewing team on ways to conduct an interview that is goal-focused and purposeful. This upfront investment helps to assure a successful physician selection process.