By Brenda Rinehart, MBA, CRA, FAHRA
November 2013—Human resource management is one of the five CRA domains because it’s a fundamental part of medical imaging management. Any imaging manager knows that hiring the right employee is important, and it is also difficult. Whether you’re hoping to become a CRA today or you’ve held the credential for years, this is an area where we can always learn more from each other. Here are my tips for screening and interviewing potential new candidates for openings in your department.
After HR has pre-screened applicants for the position, the hiring manager screens the remaining applications for the best candidate. One time-saving practice is to set a deadline for applications and begin the screening process only after the deadline has passed and all pre-screened applications have been received. This allows the hiring manager to address the screening process once and from a position of having all of the information available.
Screening is best performed using a simple screening form, which allows the hiring manager to defend his position if questioned about the decision to interview one person over another. Simple screening forms may include an application identifier and a matrix of decision points such as education, years of experience, specialization, GPA, references’ comments, HR applied assessment scores, and a decision scale that represents the ranking of that individual to the other applicants that were pre-screened.
Develop Interview Tools
Similar to the screening tool, interview tools provide another easy way to document hiring decisions as well as acceptable interview questions and comments for group interviews. A simple interviewing tool may contain a section at the top for the applicant’s screening information (excluding confidential information), interview questions that will be asked of every applicant, a section to write in questions that arise during the interview process, and a section for the interviewer to complete after the interview process.
Include Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are based on experiential situations and provide the interviewer with the opportunity to solicit real world responses from the applicant. These questions provide the best opportunity to get to know the applicant. Some examples of behavioral interview questions would be: tell me about a time when you and a fellow employee were struggling to get along and how you handled the situation; or tell me about a time when your boss asked you to do something that you disagreed with and how you addressed the situation. Behavioral interview questions are difficult for some applicants to answer, so the interviewer should provide reassurance to the interviewee and allow for long periods of silence in order for the applicant to remember a time when the situation applied.
Conduct Group Interviews
Group interviews are an excellent way for the hiring manager to solve several issues inherent to the hiring process. First, the hiring manager’s time constraints are addressed; the hiring manager can be present for just a portion of the interview process, rather than the whole thing. Second, the group interview builds collaboration by allowing all participants a voice in the hiring decision. Lastly, it provides the applicant the opportunity to meet many members of the team and to determine if the culture and environment are a good fit. Group interviews should be scheduled in a way that allows for specific team members and functions to be grouped together. For example, a hiring manager, supervisor, lead, and physician may make up the first group, and the second group may consist of four to six team members from one or more modalities or departments. When hiring a supervisor or manager, a third group consisting of people in similar roles within the organization should be included.
Lead by Example
Meet with the interview team a few minutes before the candidate arrives to discuss expectations. Not everyone on the interview team will have an understanding of HR principles, so it important to set the expectation that the group ask the questions contained within the interview tool and not to modify questions. This will allow the group to stay on track and avoid asking inappropriate questions. However, the group should be encouraged to ask the applicant for questions and to answer those questions candidly. This will provide the applicant with information that is essential to the decision to accept an employment offer should one be extended.
The interview team members should be encouraged to complete the interview tool right after the interview, not during the process, and to return it to the hiring manager before the end of the day. The last session for the applicant should be a one-on-one interview with the hiring manager. In this session, the hiring manager may ask additional questions to determine behavioral style, as well as to discuss expectations and any questions that may have resulted from the interview process.
In my next and final article on this topic, I will finish with a discussion on how to best determine job fit.
Brenda Rinehart, MBA, CRA, FAHRA is the regional director of imaging at Confluence Health System in Wenatchee, WA. She can be reached at email@example.com.