Recruiting and Behavioral Based Interviewing at Southcentral Foundation

This is the fifth in a series of articles about the learning opportunities available at the Nuka System of Care Conference.

Hiring is critically important for health care organizations. Recruiting the right people can go a long way toward ensuring the success of health care services and programs. However, recruiting can be difficult for health care organizations, and Southcentral Foundation has certainly faced challenges in this area.

To deal with these challenges, SCF has implemented a number of recruitment techniques. SCF has aligned all of its interview processes and questions with its four workforce competencies: Customer Care and Relationships, Communications and Teamwork, Improvement and Innovation, and Workforce Development Skills and Abilities. These competencies are integrated into every step of the hiring process and beyond.

One important element of SCF’s hiring process is behavioral-based interviewing (BBI). Developed from industry best practices, BBI questions replace standard interview questions with questions that seek to discover the interviewee’s previous behavior. For example, instead of asking how an employee would act in specific employment-related situations, BBI asks how they did act in similar situations in the past. BBI asks interviewees to demonstrate their skills and competencies, as well as the impact their behavior has had on others.

SCF maintains a set of core questions that are asked when interviewing for all positions at SCF. Supplemental questions are used for specific positions (e.g., provider, case manager, etc.). During the interview, interviewers ask the base question and use follow-up questions to keep following the story the interviewee is telling. Interviewers do not prompt or give examples; rather, they seek information and additional information about past behavior and performance. The interviewee is always given enough time to answer the questions to their satisfaction.

After the interview, overall ratings for each workforce competency are given based on the answers provided by the interviewee and how well those answers fit with traits that are desired. SCF provides training in behavioral-based interviewing for its employees who will be hiring for positions.

SCF’s hiring and other Human Resources (HR) practices have resulted in a turnover rate lower than the national average for health care organizations; SCF’s turnover rate was 14.55 percent in 2015 and 13.22 percent in 2016. This is lower than the national average for health care organizations, which was surveyed at 19.2 percent in 2015. SCF has also achieved 95 percent employee satisfaction.

SCF’s recruitment and HR practices show that care being taken during the hiring process can lead to a more stable and satisfied workforce in the long run.

Several sessions about SCF’s HR practices are available at the upcoming Nuka System of Care Conference. These will include a session on SCF’s recruitment practices and behavioral-based interviewing described above, as well as sessions on SCF’s relationship-based HR practices, onboarding programs, and SCF’s approach to employee learning and development.