Hire Better


If you were one of the 300 or so individuals at my session on reducing turnover at CALA you know that one of the topics we had the most fun with was Technique #3: Hire Better. If you’re hiring this guy, thinking “He’ll clean up OK and I’m sure his heart is in the right place,” you’re setting yourself up. You’ll lose him, and likely some of your good staff (and clients) along with him.

As the group shared techniques to hire better one of the most fun ideas we explored was the “stress interview.” I have to admit I didn’t even know this was a real interview technique, or as my kids would say, “it’s a thing.” In fact, it’s apparently “the job candidate’s worse nightmare,” according to Monster.com. It is designed to put candidates in an uncomfortable situation and see how they react, with the level of discomfort apparently varying widely, possibly depending on how sadistic the interviewer is.

Personally, while I like putting a candidate at ease so I can better see his/her real self, I do think there’s something to be said about seeing how individuals react in an uncomfortable situation.  Here were some suggestions we discussed, which may have merit – you decide:

    • Tour your candidates through a memory care unit or some other client setting that may make people uncomfortable.  See how they react and how they respond to the clients and the setting
    • Direct your candidates, preferably in a small candidate group, into a meeting room that isn’t set up for a group.  See who steps up as a leader and starts tidying up the room or suggesting leadership skills.
    • Spill a drop or two of water – inadvertently – on a candidate and see how they respond.

You get the picture.  The ideas could get out there, and are certainly interesting!  What works for you?  What have you tried?  How do YOU move the “hire better” bar? 

5 Responses to “Hire Better”

  1. Shawn'A

    I have gotten down to the real nitty gritty lately with applicants…asking the real questions like “Are you comfortable changing an incontinent adult? How about the one with runny stool down his leg?” We are in a very rural community here so touring a facility with applicants is not possible–but asking the real questions IS. As an agency providing care for every kind of need My application process has turned into a ‘grilling’ of sorts–but it is a weeding out process that has our clients’ well being, dignity, and livelihood at heart. I want to know NOW who is going to be there for the code brown reality of this job. There is so much joy to be gleaned for any person with the heart to even want this kind of work, but they have to be able to do the tough stuff as well.

  2. Kathy A

    When I was a Director of Nursing, the goal was to hire someone with passion & caring for the elderly! I love the idea of “Hopefully changing a person” but unfortunately, this usually does NOT work!!

  3. Susie Halim

    Prior to working with this company, qualified applicant must pay for the finger printing and physical/ drug test, then they will get the reimbursement after passing the probation period. I know it can be too expensive for them but this method will filter to those applicants who are serious.

    Now I will do the second interview and I ask a question if there is any reason for them not to be able to clear the finger printing due to past experience, unpaid traffic ticket, etc. They all will say “not at all”, but if they are not truthful they will find any excuses not to join our employment.
    I wish for the best and get them well trained.

  4. Kay

    In initial interviews, I’ve started asking, “If I googled your name, is there anything that would keep me from hiring you?”…because a client did on a working caregiver and it was a nightmare! Even if interviewee has no idea what google would produce, they know to go home and check! We have also had to implement a different background check company, due to no ‘red flags’ from our state version with in-state arrests and mugshots! Google your interviewees! P.S. Think about employees clicking “like” on your business page on Facebook if it allows access to their personal page– they might not have a page you’d be proud of others seeing…just sayin’. Good luck to us all!


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