The Problem With Making a Poor Fit Hire — and How to Fix It

Hiring and recruiting are two of the most challenging and time consuming aspects of your business, but they often get the least number of resources dedicated to them.  If you are like many resource constrained healthcare organizations, hiring and recruitment may not be as high of a priority compared to all of the other responsibilities that you have to your patients, their families, your existing employees, and your business as a whole.

With that in mind, some organizations become complacent with their current hiring practices and don’t feel like a change needs to be made because “that’s just how the industry works.”  Comments such as “high turnover is a fact of life in healthcare” or “we hire everyone that applies because we need warm bodies” submit to the notion that nothing can be done to solve the challenges faced by healthcare businesses.

Instead, we will address why making the right hire is so important and how to align your hiring process to best support that approach.   

What’s the problem with hiring the wrong person?

Costly investment

Hiring and recruitment cost a lot of money and require a significant time investment.  So we want to be as efficient as possible from both a cost savings and time management perspective.  Therefore, it is imperative that you develop a sound and repeatable hiring process to weed out candidates that will not advance your business goals.        

Short-term solution to a long-term problem

Hiring people just to fill a seat might be a necessary evil, but it is also only a short term solution that will affect your business in the long run.  You are essentially kicking the can down the road without developing a sustainable solution for moving your business forward.  So, if you must hire someone that isn’t a good fit to address an immediate need, be sure that you continue to passively recruit until you can find an employee that better fits with your organization.

Your ultimate goal shouldn’t be just to hire someone, but rather, to hire the right person and integrate them into your organization quickly.  When employees are aligned with your mission, values, culture, and goals, your business will grow as a result.  You tend to develop trust much more quickly, which gives you more of an opportunity to focus on process management, and more faith that they’ll do their job without the need for constant supervision.

Damaged reputation

Having the wrong people on your team will inevitably lead to high turnover.  Not only from the poor fit employees, but also from your existing employees.  Unhappy employees that don’t fit into your culture can be extremely toxic to the working environment for your other employees and drive them away.  Those same employees will lead directly to decreased levels of quality care for patients and residents because they are disengaged and don’t buy into your mission and vision.

When those employees do eventually attrit, you’ll be in an even tougher situation because you’ll have lost continuity of care and treatment for your patients.  Patient satisfaction suffers when patients have to continually rotate through staff members and have a lack of consistency with their care providers — and can mean the difference between maintaining contracts long-term or having patients seek out services elsewhere.        

So what can we do about it?

How about a little transparency?

Develop a career site that tells your organization’s story, outlines your mission and your values, discusses your open opportunities, and highlights the benefits that you offer employees.  The major key here is that you want to be as transparent as possible about what your organization means to you and how you run your operations.  The point being that you are not trying to “trick” people into applying to your open positions, but rather, trying to attract like-minded employees that best fit your culture’s mold.

Specifically referencing your open positions, providing clear job descriptions that give an accurate depiction of what the job entails will allow applicants that don’t fit the bill to self-select themselves out and discourage them from applying.  Keep in mind that the purpose isn’t to discourage prospective employees, but instead to reduce the incidence of employees coming to you a few weeks down the road to say that the job was not what they expected.

Once again, transparency matters so taking the time to explain what the job entails and what is expected of employees will eliminate some of the mystery for job seekers, and allow them the opportunity to determine if the position is worth pursuing.  That determination and self-selection process will save you time and money in the long-run by filtering out job seekers that wouldn’t last due to a lack of fit or commitment.      

Utilize technology

In an effort to maximize your efficiency, you should explore technology offerings that can help you mitigate the chance of making a poor fit hire.  Conducting reference checks on your candidates will help you to get more information on your job seekers and provide you invaluable insights from individuals that have worked with that person in the past.

Now, this can be very time-consuming for you and your team especially when you are trying to fit that task in with everything else that’s competing for your time.  Our friends over at SkillSurvey have solved this problem by providing automated reference checks to recruiters and having the system do all the heavy lifting for you.

Candidates select their references, and the system will send out automated questionnaires for references to complete.  Once completed, the system will notify the hiring manager and provide a comprehensive report based upon responses from the references that are aggregated to boost compliance and to encourage references to be truthful without fear of repercussions.  Best of all, this requires very little effort on you or your team’s part which gives you all more time to dedicate resources elsewhere.

Another excellent resource is the use of job fit and behavioral assessments — like those offered by SkillCheck — in your hiring process. These tools can help to surface any red flags or potentially toxic behavioral traits.  Understanding the ideal characteristics of your best employees and constructing a profile based upon those traits will help you better screen job applicants and build your best team.  
Consider having your current team submit their responses and mine out the similarities to create an “all star employee” profile which you can use to measure candidates against. 

While this is not the “end all, be all” for selecting all employees, this can help to make some keen observations and reduce the risk of making a bad hire. If you’re interested in seeing how Hireology works to make your hiring process as efficient as possible, you can schedule a demo here.  



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