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Archive July 2013 XIV, No. 7

Staffing: The Art of the Employee Interview

Take chance out of the hiring process with these 10 must-ask questions.

Ken Diebner


employee interview GUT INSTINCT Trust your intuition when assessing what these questions uncover.

You won't always hire the perfect employee, but you should expect to find the best person for the job. Ask these interview questions, in this order, to take some of the mystery (and luck) out of making the right new hire.

Tell me about yourself.
This is a great icebreaker, a request that lets you and the candidates settle into the interview. Look for a 2- to 3-minute overview of what makes them tick, what motivates them in life and what they're going to tell you more about as the interview progresses. An ideal response: "I'm a high-energy, passionate and organized person who's dedicated to the care of my patients." You want to hear and feel their passion.

Walk me through your resume.
Leave this request open-ended to give candidates about 5 minutes to summarize their work experiences. Make sure candidates can articulate what's on their resumes and have organized thought processes. If they're confused about the dates of their former jobs, and their roles and responsibilities, or jump haphazardly while describing jobs, they didn't spend a great deal of time preparing for the interviews or had someone else prepare their resumes. If you're familiar with where a candidate has worked, ask more specific questions about how they dealt with situations, staff or managers at the facility.

Why are you interested in this position?
A candidate might tell you she simply needs a job. There's nothing wrong with that, but you also want to hear that she's worked in surgery centers or hospitals her entire career, loves the high-paced, high-stress atmosphere of surgery and has a natural ability to ease the anxieties of patients and their loved ones. It'd be ideal if she shares that her career focus and your facility's philosophy mesh nicely. Candidates who say they're drawn to your facility solely because they'll be out by 3 p.m. every day, won't work weekends and will receive an excellent benefits package probably aren't the right fit. They'll likely leave your facility for the next opportunity with shorter hours and better benefits.

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