Healthcare executives go beyond expectations and engage in the hiring process
Hiring in any organization, healthcare-related or not, is usually left up to Human Resources departments, sometimes in partnership with a representative from the department that is hiring. Rarely do executives become involved; however, some healthcare organizations are rejecting this norm. In adding the responsibility of becoming involved in hiring to their already busy schedules, these executives are able to form new connections between staff and executives early on and ensure that only the best possible individuals are chosen to represent the organization.
At Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, hiring new staff depends on each department’s director, who is supported by the human resources department. For some positions, however — particularly those that have high overall impact on the organization — chief operating offi cer James Burke, FACHE, and occasionally, other senior leaders are included in this process.
When looking to hire an employee who will report directly to him, Burke becomes highly involved in the process. If the position is in a different department, however, he is careful to leave the final decision up to that department director.
“I think that the person closest to that department is best able to make that decision,” Burke explained. “So I let the director of the area narrow down the list of people; then I participate in the fi nal interview round and provide my input on the candidates’ behavioral traits, experience and their general ability to play an important role in our organization.” In commenting on potential hires, Burke aims to shift the focus from candidates’ technical qualifi cations towards how they will fi t into the hospital’s culture — something not typically considered in interviews.
Additionally, Burke makes a point of playing a part in every new employee’s orientation. He meets with groups of new hires, talking to them about the history and mission of the organization, and specifi c details related to the job. “It really helps and shows that the organization has an open-door policy,” said Burke. “Although we have different jobs, we’re all in the same organization, pulling on the same oars.”
David Musyg, president and chief executive offi cer of Windsor Regional Hospital in Ontario, has similar reasoning for involving himself in his hospital’s hiring process. “It shows we are one. We work as one,” he said. “We are there to support each other for the benefi t of our patients.”
Musyg explained that the interview process at his hospital is unique in that the Human Resources department reports directly to him rather than to a vice president. “The reason for that is simple. We are only as good as our team members,” he said.
However, like Burke, Musyg believes that it’s crucial that the proposed team member’s direct supervisor is central in the process. With this in mind, he prefers not to be included in the process until a short list of candidates has been chosen. “I sometimes fi nd getting involved too early in the process might result in a hiring committee looking to me and my preference,” he explained. “We have to make sure the individuals working together the majority of the time are comfortable with each other.”
The hiring processes of non-hospital healthcare organizations are quite different due to both size and needs. Alex Guerrero, MD, FACS, founder of the New York-based InterTrauma Premium Surgical Staffi ng, is sure to involve himself in the hiring of every employee — something that isn’t always possible in a larger organization.
As a staffing company that matches facilities with acute care surgeons for both permanent and locum tenens opportunities, InterTrauma is unique in that it is owned and managed by a trauma surgeon. “When people outsource their clinical needs to our company, it’s very much my personal reputation on the line as a clinician,” said Guerrero. “I’m very invested in every single person who works under my brand. It’s a big part of my identity.”
Although recruiters compile an initial list of candidates, Guerrero handles the bulk of the hiring process. Once candidates are screened based on a set of objective criteria, Guerrero speaks with them over Skype and, if the conversation goes well, meets with them in person. At that point, Guerrero makes the final decision regarding whether or not the candidate is a good match for the organization.
“You want to ensure quality and that your vision is propagated throughout the organization with new hires,” he said. “For me, it’s very important to ensure that my brand is my brand. I would never allow the fi nal decision to go to somebody else.”
CertaPet, a web-based network of mental health providers that serves individuals seeking an Emotional Support Animal letter for their pet, has a similar hiring process. However, as a telehealth company, CertaPet screens all candidates electronically and conducts all interviews over the phone.
While other staff members recruit candidates, senior vice president of business development, Min Lee, is involved in every step moving forward. He and a colleague look through the list of possible candidates, conduct all interviews and ultimately
determine who to hire.
Although it can be time-consuming, by being directly involved in the interviews, Lee feels confident that all of CertaPet’s employees are good representatives of the company. “I try to conduct interviews with a conversational fl ow, as it’s important for me to see how the candidates would interact with my patients,” he said. “My providers are the face — or, in this case, the voice — of our company, so they are often the only personal connection between the company and the patient.”
Of course, not all healthcare organizations involve their executives in the hiring process. More often than not, the traditional route is taken and the decision falls upon the shoulders of Human Resources professionals. However, as these four
executives have seen, becoming more involved in choosing new employees can make all the difference for an organization.