There's always a certain amount of risk in hiring a new employee. After all, you never really know how someone is going to perform in the workplace until that person is in the position working with your team.
But in health care, the stakes are even higher when it comes to ensuring that you hire the right candidate on the first try. The professionals who work in this field are literally responsible for the health and safety of their patients, which means that making a hiring mistake could have serious repercussions in your workplace.
As with any candidate, health care providers should be screened for drugs and criminal history. But due to the responsibilities of their position, it's important to check other elements of their background, such as education, certification and past disciplinary action more carefully than you might in other industries.
To increase the effectiveness of your current screening process, include the following five tips:
1. Ask the right questions
If you want to get a good picture of the candidate you're considering, you need to start by asking the right questions on the phone screening. Otherwise you'll miss out on opportunities to identify potential red flags that could come back to haunt you down the road. When screening a candidate, go into the conversation with a list of questions that will specifically bring to light any weaknesses or past problems.
For example, asking questions about why they're looking for a new position can give you valuable insight into what – potentially – went wrong in a previous workplace. Or a question about what they hope to get out of their next position can tell you a lot about their values.
Remember, a phone screening is your opportunity to obtain information that you can't get from the person's resume. Taking the time to prepare a list will help you remember to ask questions that give you a more complete picture of the applicant.
2. Look for patterns
A criminal background check may reveal past instances of law breaking, but it won't give you much information on other less-than-desirable habits that aren't necessarily illegal, such as a bad work ethic or a confrontational personality. Looking for patterns can help you to identify red flags while still in the screening stage.
If it appears that the candidate leaves a position every two years, for example, you may want to think twice before continuing in the hiring process. That pattern could suggest a lack of commitment or even recurring problems with authority – definitely undesirable traits for most positions, especially in the health care setting.
3. Confirm credentials
There is perhaps no field where credentials are more important than medicine. In health care, however, it's particularly critical to ensure that the degrees and other training listed on applications are correct due to compliance issues, legal requirements, financial risks, patient safety and more. Verify each piece of information and eliminate dishonest candidates as soon as possible to protect your organization and your patients.
Don't forget to check that all the credentials are valid in your state, or that the candidate is at least in the process of obtaining the proper licensing to practice at your location.
4. Check past disciplinary action
Lawsuits are a common concern in health care. According to Diederich Healthcare, the total medical malpractice payout in 2014 was nearly $3.9 billion in the U.S. Often, hiring managers are most concerned with whether or not a candidate has a history of malpractice, but you shouldn't stop there. Use electronic databases to check other aspects of your candidate's professional history to ensure that there aren't other warning signs that suggest hiring the person may present a threat to your organization.
One of the main purposes of the screening process is to identify candidates that may put your organization at risk. No medical provider is perfect, but finding someone who is diligent and conscientious is critical. Past disciplinary action could be a one-time mistake – or a sign of a bigger problem.
5. Use your resources
While a criminal background check is likely already on your to-do list, it is far from the only resource available for vetting candidates. To mitigate risk, use any other relevant databases and employment records that are available to you. The more information you can obtain, the better your chances of choosing the right person for the job.
Your path to finding your next health care provider doesn't need to be a solitary one. Consider partnering with Global HR to work with professionals who know just what to look for in health care background screenings. To learn more about how HR Global can be your strongest resource when hiring health care candidates, contact us today.