Tips for Behavior Based Interviewing
Hiring well is one of the best ways to ensure office profitability. Competent staff provides the level of service that your patients demand. Competent staff executes administrative tasks efficiently, and they solve problems by thinking through what is in the best interests of both patient and practice. But how do you really know if the person sitting across from you during an interview has these skills?
Almost every job requires two distinct sets of employee skills. One set is technical skill. In other words, can the candidate file an insurance claim, can they use the A-Scan? To determine whether someone can perform the various technical skills or tasks, most people just check the resume. But remember, the resume only tells you whether or not they’ve had exposure to the technical skill, you seldom get an understanding of the quality level with which they perform the designated technical skill or task.
With some technical skills, you can actually ask a candidate to demonstrate the skill during the interview. You can watch them set up lab equipment or you can watch them navigate a software application. But be aware, technical skills are only half of the hiring equation.
The other set of skills employees need to be successful is called Performance Skills. Performance skills are the “how” part of the job; they are the less tangible skills like customer responsiveness and attention to detail. These skills are very important for success in the office but are very difficult to identify on a resume. The best way to determine whether a candidate has the performance skills necessary for the open position is to use what is called a“behavior-based interview”.
Behavior-based interviewing helps the interviewer gain insight into a candidate’s past work behavior. Why do we want to know about past work behavior? Because behavioral research tells us that past performance tends to predict future performance better than any other tool available to us during the interview process. If a candidate can describe specifically how they’ve handled an irate patient in the past, you can gain a good understanding of how they will most likely approach an irate patient in the future.
Most job candidates have the tendency to respond an interviewer’s questions by describing their personal traits rather than past work behaviors. For example, they may say, “I’m a real people person,” or “I’m very organized.” When candidates respond this way, the interviewer often takes their word for it, or just goes with their gut instinct. This is not the most reliable way to hire someone. Instead, try using several behavior-based interviewing questions during your next interview and make an effort to listen attentively to their response. By following the example below you will be able to predict future success.
- Devise open-ended, behavior-based questions that are related to a specific job skill – for example, let’s say customer responsiveness.
- Ask the candidate to answer the question by describing a time in the past when they actually demonstrated customer responsiveness on the job. For example, you may say, “Describe for me a time in the past when you needed to be responsive to an angry patient. What did you do?” By structuring the question this way, you are asking the candidate to give you specific examples of what they did in that situation.
- If the candidate tries to answer with vague generalities, probe to gain specifics. For example, if they say, “I’m very responsive to all our patients,” you may follow with, “Tell me about a specific time when you dealt with an angry patient. What was the situation? What action did you take and how was the situation resolved?” By probing to gain specifics, the candidate will be better able to give you the kind of information you are looking for to assess if they have the right skill base necessary in this position; or better yet, you’ll be able to tell if they don’t have the experience or skill in that critical area.
Behavior- based interviewing is a proven approach for identifying individuals with the performance skills necessary to help your office run more effectively and to increase your profitability.
If you’d like to learn more about behavioral interviewing or other strategic human resource strategies to improve your practice, please call Dialogue Consulting at 919-272-1482 or send an email to Tommy Re at email@example.com.