FQHC Hiring Tips: Finding the Best Match for Your Organization

In this job market it is not uncommon to receive an overwhelming pool of candidates for a posted position. There are a few simple steps that will help you narrow the candidate pool and make the selection process easier.

But first, ask yourself two important questions:

1. Did you do your homework?

Before posting the position, you should have assessed a couple of areas:

  • Is the position still required?

  • Do we have a job description that accurately describes the position being posted?

2. Have you looked in the right places?

I am a big proponent of internal job posting programs and internal referral sources. Your best employees should be rewarded with growth opportunities and/or may know of a candidate that fits your organization’s needs. Select from this pool first, then utilize outside venues to post a position. Remember that these candidates, just as outside candidates, must meet the required qualifications.

Now, you're ready to sift through your applicants to find the best candidate for the position! 

Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  1. Review each applicant’s qualifications, matching them against the job description. Select those candidates that meet all the required qualifications for the position. 

  2. If your pool is still too large, then reduce it. Review only those who meet all of the required AND desired qualifications and set aside those who have only the required qualifications.

  3. Conduct your reference check process. These are references listed with their application, not a full background investigation. The background investigation will be completed once you have extended conditional offers. For more information on this topic, see my blog post on the do's and don'ts of reference checks for FQHCs.

  4. Email each remaining candidate an open-ended question and ask them to respond. Their responses will help you assess their written communication skills and, based upon the question you ask, this process may provide insight into their work ethics before your phone interview. Use this email to schedule a phone screening date and time. Do not give them and extended period of time to respond - You do not want to delay your hiring processes for the candidate that doesn't make you a priority.

  5. Conduct phone interview/screening. This is not intended to be a full interview, but should allow you the ability to determine if a face-to-face interview is warranted. Keep your questions job-related. For example, don't ask "Do you have a car?" when the question should be "Do you have reliable transportation to and from work?" The need for a car is not a requirement, but you need to know that they can get to and from work on time. Let the candidate know that you will contact them if they are selected to hold a second interview.

  6. Face-to-Face interviews.  Again, keep your questions job-related. Behavioral questions are believed to be the best indicator of future performance. You have already assessed their experience on paper so let them tell you how they will use that experience in a real workplace situation. The Situation, Task, Action, Results or STAR technique is a widely utilized format in behavioral interviewing.

  7. Remember: You should have NO LESS THAN THREE candidates for every position and you should have each candidate interview with MORE THAN ONE PERSON. Panel interviews with rating sheets are a great way to assess candidates. Also, don’t forget to assess whether the candidate shares your organization's mission, vision, and values.

  8. The Conditional Offer: Once interviews have been completed, you may wish to extend a conditional offer to one or more candidates. If you have one position, but want to extend an offer to more than one candidate, that is acceptable as long as you have evaluation processes in place to determine the final candidate. These processes may include full background investigations, drug testing, etc.

In my next post, I will explore the contents of the “Conditional Offer” and how a proper offer will protect your organization.

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If you have a problem, chances are we have dealt with something similar or know someone else who has. With PETTIGREW FQHC on your team, you can rest assured that you will be equipped to meet any challenge, secure in the knowledge that we’ve got your back.

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