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Standardizing the Recruitment Process for Hospitalist Programs

Written by: Abhi Kole, MD, PhD
Published on: Sep 7, 2023

Interview Handshake

Photo credit: Shutterstock fizkes

This workshop discussed ideas to standardize the recruitment process, ask more informative interview questions, and minimize unconscious bias to create a diverse hospitalist group. The audience was separated into three small groups: single-center academic hospitalists, multi-center hospitalists, and community hospitalists.

Each group first discussed the members of a comprehensive recruitment team and how to advertise to solicit a diversity of applications appropriate for their clinical-center type. The next small group discussion focused on questions to elicit how a candidate will perform, rather than superficial demographic questions only. After each small-group discussion, there was a share-out with the larger group. Finally, the session ended with a discussion on the different types of unconscious bias and mitigation strategies for unconscious bias in hiring. 

Key Takeaways

  • A comprehensive recruitment team should include members from division leadership, clinical faculty, and business and financial staff to provide a budget. It is helpful to have someone other than the division chief take over the primary responsibility of recruitment.
  • “Behavioral questioning” allows interviewers to ask questions that will gauge how a candidate would navigate a certain scenario and give insight into how they would perform at the job. For example, one could ask, “Tell me about a success in your past job and how you achieved it?” rather than, “What are your strengths?” Other examples include, “How do you manage patients who are medically clear for discharge, but have significant social barriers to care?” or, “How do you accommodate learners who have trouble adapting to your teaching style?”
  • Unconscious bias can present in the recruitment process via asking different candidates different questions, placing too much emphasis on first impressions, allowing one or two positive or negative attributes to overshadow all other characteristics, comparing a candidate to the last candidate interviewed, and selecting candidates who are all similar to the interviewer. Implicit bias tests, self-reflection, use of evaluation criteria set prior to the process, holistic review of the applicant packet, and appointment of an equity advisor can mitigate unconscious bias.
  • Improvement of the diversity of applicants can be achieved by broadening marketing avenues, including diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in the job description, using inclusive language (avoid gendered and/or ableist language, for example), and specifying clearly which qualifications are required, versus preferred, for the job.

Abhi Kole

Dr. Kole is a hospitalist at Emory University School of Medicine, and the assistant site director of recruitment, onboarding, and retention at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta’s county hospital affiliated with Emory University.

This article was originally published by The Hospitalist