Staffing is one of the biggest challenges ambulatory surgery centers face – and the single biggest line-item expense for facilities. In the United States, the average cost for a surgical procedure at an ASC is $1,167.39, including $354.18 for employee salaries and wages and $347.82 for medical and surgical expenses, according to VMG Health. In an era of higher costs, lower reimbursements and shrinking profit margins, hiring the right staff – and keeping them – are perhaps the single biggest factors in operating a successful facility. These also top the list of concerns for healthcare hiring managers. According to American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration and HealthSource’s 2014 “Healthcare HR Initiatives Survey,” streamlining human resources processes and improving retention are the healthcare industry’s top two HR cost-cutting initiatives. Here are five best recruitment practices for Regent ASC staffing:

Develop well-defined job descriptions

Recruitment should never start by dusting off an old ad and simply reposting it online. Instead, assembling the right staff starts with well-defined job descriptions that outline the core competencies necessary for success in the role. To develop these important tools, HR and department managers should collaborate on the role’s responsibilities, educational requirements and any other technical skills required. It’s vital that all decision makers in the hiring process have a clear understanding of what to look for in candidates.

Conduct initial candidate screening

With a well-defined job description in hand, it’s time to test the market with the job posting. Beware: The response may be overwhelming. In recent years, the ease of applying for jobs online means that it’s not uncommon to receive many more applicants than are practical to interview; even more, the majority of these applicants ultimately are unlikely to be qualified for the role. Sifting through this initial pile of resumes can help narrow the field of potential qualified applicants. In addition to screening for minimum education, work and licensure requirements, it’s also important to cast a discerning eye on seemingly small issues like spelling, grammar and style issues. They may seem insignificant, but applying for a job is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. And often times, a sloppy resume is a good indication of what’s to come.

Assess for core competencies

After the initial candidate screen, your stack of resumes is likely to be considerably smaller. These short-listed candidates should then be interviewed over the telephone to assess whether they demonstrate the core competencies of the job. Ask them about their previous roles, responsibilities and accomplishments, and encourage the applicants to elaborate. Avoid casual conversation and try to keep the conversation on topic. At the end of the phone call, the interviewer should be able to identify key traits, attributes and weaknesses of the candidate as well as glimpses of their character, likeability and communication skills.

Test for core values

At Regent, our RISE corporate values program guides everything that we do, including informing our management and staff hiring process. This focus allows us to deliver the best possible care and comfort to our patients, timely accurate service to our physicians and nurture our team:

  • Respectful Caring: Demonstrating compassion toward all stakeholders.
  • Integrity: Being true to what we believe in, doing what we say we will do and adhering to our commitments.
  • Stewardship: Responsibility to properly utilize and develop our people, property and assets while fostering a safe and secure environment.
  • Efficiency: Appropriate identification, selection and management of all resources to ensure excellent clinical and financial outcomes.

Verifiable experience demonstrating these core values is a prerequisite for all Regent staff hires. It’s also important to determine if applicants have the emotional competencies to thrive in the role. Find out what’s frustrating about their current and previous roles, and assess whether their responses are likely to be an issue vis-à-vis the responsibilities of the advertised role.

Consider intangibles, check references

Licensures, educational attainment and demonstration of core values are relatively straightforward criteria to measure objectively. But they frequently don’t tell the whole story. During the in-person interview process, take time to determine if candidates display the right cultural fit, i.e. that they display the right temperament and personality for the facility. These criteria can be challenging to assess, but very important in the overall process. Explaining the role in detail to a candidate and analyzing their responses and non-verbal behavior is an important part of this process. Does the candidate just want any job or do they really want to be part of your team? The answer to this question often provides a good indication of whether the hire is a good fit – or not. If you’re unsure after the first interview, don’t hesitate to schedule a follow-up. Past incidence of wrongful termination, illegal activity and protocol violations are serious issues that, in most circumstances, disqualify an individual from employment at Regent. If these issues come to light during the hiring process, it’s important to discuss these matters immediately with the appropriate Regent contacts. For any questions about the staff hiring process at Regent, please contact aroberts@regentsurgicalhealth.com.