In the fast-paced and demanding world of healthcare, having a skilled and efficient team is crucial for the smooth functioning of any organization. You need a team you can trust on all fronts – direct care and administrative. Administrative staff are the backbone of healthcare facilities, ensuring that operations run seamlessly, patient records are managed effectively, and communication flows smoothly. However, finding the right candidates with the necessary skills and qualities can be challenging. To help healthcare organizations build their dream administrative team, we’ve compiled a list of interview tips that will help you find the best candidates for these vital roles.
1. Define the Role Clearly: Attract the right candidates
Before beginning the interview process, it is essential to clearly define the role and responsibilities of the administrative staff. Outline the key tasks and skills required for the position, including organizational abilities, communication skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in relevant software applications. Having a precise job description will help you attract candidates who possess the specific qualities needed for success in the role and save you time during tip number two.
2. Screen Resumes Thoroughly: First impressions matter
Carefully review the resumes and cover letters submitted by candidates. Look for relevant experience, educational qualifications, and certifications that align with the position’s requirements. Pay attention to details such as tenure in previous roles, achievements, and any notable skills or accomplishments. Prioritize candidates who have demonstrated reliability, adaptability, and a strong work ethic.
But looking beyond the content of the resume is important as well. Is the resume well formatted? Is the layout and font choice professional? Are there typos? Did they follow the application instructions correctly? If there was a cover letter submitted, was it tailored to your healthcare organization and well written, or was it generic and sloppy? Paying attention to these details before you bring candidates in for interviews can help you weed out candidates who are not a good fit early on in the process.
3. Conduct Structured Interviews: Prep your questions and be ready to listen
When interviewing candidates, follow a structured interview process to ensure consistency and fairness. Begin by putting the candidate at ease. A few conversational questions in the beginning of an interview will help them feel comfortable and encourage them to express themselves freely before you really dig into the interview. Next, try asking behavioral questions that assess their past experiences and problem-solving abilities. For administrative roles, questions may revolve around multitasking, handling difficult situations, and managing time effectively. Assess their communication skills, including both verbal and written, as clear and concise communication is vital in healthcare settings.
Be prepared to follow the 80/20 interview rule – you should only be talking 20% of the time.
4. Evaluate Interpersonal Skills: Be polite, professional, and observant
Interpersonal skills are crucial for administrative staff who interact with patients, medical professionals, and other team members regularly. Assess a candidate’s ability to handle diverse personalities, work collaboratively, and maintain professionalism even under pressure. Role-playing scenarios or situational questions can provide insights into how candidates handle conflicts, prioritize tasks, and maintain a calm demeanor.
While you want to get a feeling for the candidate’s personality, you also want to remain polite and professional, not overly friendly or casual. Assessing is different than chatting, and you want to make sure you’re sticking to interview questions rather than just having a conversation.
5. Assess Technological Proficiency: Tech literacy matters
In today’s digital age, technological literacy is a must for administrative staff. Evaluate candidates’ proficiency in the software applications your organization uses, your electronic medical record system, and any data management tools they will be interacting with regularly. Depending on the specific needs of your organization, assess their ability to adapt to new technologies and their overall tech-savviness, which can enhance efficiency and streamline operations as your organization grows.
6. Gauge Attention to Detail: Details matter
Attention to detail is a crucial quality for your administrative staff. Assess a candidate’s ability to spot errors, manage paperwork accurately, and follow established protocols. Depending on the length of your hiring process, you might want to incorporate an assessment or task that requires candidates to review and identify discrepancies in a document or medical records, ensuring their precision and meticulousness. This assessment could be part of the interview, or it could be part of the application process. You can also get a feel for this skill during step number two.
7. Cultural Fit and Professionalism: Know your company
Before you begin interviewing, make sure you have a firm understanding of what your company is, what your values are, what your mission is, and how your ideal employee would interact in their role. Does the person you’re interviewing fit into that company model? Would they align with your organization’s values, mission, and culture? Evaluate their level of professionalism, including punctuality, attire, and the ability to maintain confidentiality. Healthcare environments require employees who can empathize with patients and their families, as well as maintain a compassionate and caring approach, and that level of caring is vital in administrators as well as direct care providers.
Building a dream team for your healthcare organization requires careful consideration, thorough evaluation, and a structured interview process. By defining the role, screening resumes, assessing interpersonal skills, technological literacy, attention to detail, and cultural fit, you can find the best candidates who will fit right into your healthcare organization. Hiring the right administrative staff not only contributes to efficiency but also enhances patient care and overall satisfaction. Invest time and effort into the hiring process, and you’ll be rewarded with a highly competent and cohesive administrative team that supports your healthcare organization’s success and works well together as your organization continues to grow.