woman sitting in front of two interviewers across the table

Avoiding the Pitfalls: Interview Process For Healthcare Leadership

The success of any healthcare organization starts with the leadership team. This can be particularly complex in times of transition, during which myriad dynamics — relationships, priorities, and structures — are subject to change. 

The “great resignation” is further shrinking an already-tight market for top-level talent in the healthcare industry, making it all the more important to assure that organizations are hiring the correct person for the correct leadership position. By optimizing the interview process, it is much easier to identify the strongest candidates with the best potential for success in the role.

Kirby Bates has seen the challenges that healthcare organizations encounter in the recruitment process, so we are providing these pointers for avoiding mistakes and enabling a better recruitment experience.


Crafting a Better Interview Process

When searching for new talent, preliminary processes must be taken care of first. Some of these may seem self-evident, but our team has seen each of these aspects handled incorrectly more times than one may expect. Overlooking the basics is surprisingly common and it’s a surefire way to waste time and push away talent. 

Here are just a few of the small, yet often overlooked steps to be completed in coordination with Human Resources:

  • Decide on a salary range so candidates know the expectations
  • Confirm the educational and licensure verification process
  • Review the candidate’s resume for required academic background, skills, and experience
  • Proactively schedule first- and second-round interviews to adhere to the established timeline
  • When candidates go on site, provide them with an itinerary including the interview date, time, and location, and the names and titles of all interviewers
  • Plan break time for phones checks, meals, and water breaks during long interview days
  • Well before the interview, test technology (e.g., teleconferencing, presentation equipment, etc.)
  • Review results of objective assessments completed by the candidate, such as DiSC, etc., before the interview
  • Complete internal interviewee evaluations as quickly as possible to gather objective feedback from all stakeholders while memories are fresh

It’s important to remember that candidates will notice how they are treated before, during, and after an interview. Interviewers should come to the interview as prepared as the interviewee.  Interviewers should give candidates the same respect that they expect to receive.


Mistakes to Avoid During the Interview Process

Organizations need to recognize that the leadership recruitment and interviewing process is a mutual selection process. Not only is the organization searching for the right person to fill a role, indeed the candidate is also searching for the right organization to facilitate their career growth and future success. 

When interviews go badly, it’s not always the candidate’s fault; it may also reflect poorly on the organization.  In addition to the pre-interview actions mentioned, it is also crucial to recognize and avoid some of the more common errors made during the actual interviews:

  • Be clear and concise about needs. The interview is a two-way street. Be sure to convey to the candidate crucial information such as current challenges and expectations of the role. Let  interviewees express themselves, their ideas, and how they can benefit the organization.
  • Be open to differences in experiences. Not every candidate who worked for an organization with a less-than-stellar reputation is unfit for the job at hand. Indeed, the candidate may have been a star performer in an otherwise weak organization.  Being overly critical of a candidate’s past employers or the circumstances surrounding their career progression may close off new opportunities and fresh perspectives.
  • Treat candidates respectfully, even if they may not be a good fit. There are too many instances in which the interviewers talk among themselves, answer phone calls, etc. in the middle of interviews. This behavior is not only rude, it reflects poorly on the organization. Even if the candidate is decidedly unfit for the role early on, the interviewer’s commitment to courtesy will protect the organization’s brand as an employer.

Considering how expensive healthcare recruiting is in general, and how time-consuming it has become in the current talent market, bungling the interview process can be quite costly and frustrating for all. By employing these best-practices, the organization’s good name will remain intact.


Anticipate Questions From the Interviewee

During the interview process, the candidate is deciding whether the organization will facilitate their career goals. Part of treating the candidate with respect includes allocating enough time for them to ask questions about the organization.

During the preparation phase, anticipate some of the more commonly asked questions. Topics often include:

  • Recent and historical organizational performance
  • Why the organization is more desirable to work for than a competitor
  • Reasons for hiring new leadership and why the role is vacant
  • Current operational hurdles and pain points
  • Results of recent accreditation surveys
  • Questions about company culture


Partner With An Executive Search Firm

Executive search firms such as Kirby Bates help align an organization’s stakeholders and drive an objective, criteria-based, inclusive interview process. We collaborate with organizations to deliver exceptional quality and timely results for both long- and short-term leadership needs. Our collective healthcare expertise and access to a vast pool of both active and passive candidates allows us to find the perfect match for the unique challenges and culture of your organization. Kirby Bates’ executive recruiters are among the most experienced and highest performing in the industry.  KBA VP consultants and recruiters deliver proven results with guaranteed satisfaction every time.

We know that time is valuable. We will do the heavy lifting when it comes to filling executive leadership roles so that you and your team can focus on your strategic priorities.

Get in touch today to get started!