Hiring an Outstanding Administrator: 4 Steps to Finding the Right Personality for Your ASC
1. Identify the surgery center's values, and make sure the administrator's strengths align with them. Before determining a new administrator's ideal traits, a surgery center must have a clear understanding of its mission and culture. "We build our relationships off of trust, and we want our administrator to exemplify that by creating a culture of trust amongst the employees, physicians and partners," says Ms. Johnson. With this ideal in mind, Ms. Johnson targets potential administrators with the qualities that are conducive to building trust: effective communication skills and a commitment to upholding the surgery center's reputation by following through on all tasks.
"An administrator has to be able to communicate ideas so that they're credible — both in a group and on a one-on-one basis," says Ms. Johnson. "We also believe very strongly in the idea that we do what we say we're going to do, in the promised time frame."
2. Ask situational questions. To identify these ideal traits early on in the application process, potential candidates are asked to take a 45-minute personality test online prior to their initial in person interview, Ms. Johnson says. The test, which consists entirely of situational questions that target the administrator's behavior, is then compared to the top traits that the surgery center has identified for the position — in this case, clear communication and a commitment to follow-through.
The personality test results come into play during the face-to-face interview. Ms. Johnson will begin the interview with a thorough review of the candidate's resume, taking note of how he or she explains career decisions, transitions and goals. "It's not so much what they did after they went to college, but why they made certain choices along the way," she says.
3. Give the candidate an opportunity to explain perceived weaknesses. An interview panel consisting of several Blue Chip Partners executives will examine the results of a candidate's personality profile before the interview begins, creating a list of specific questions based on the candidate's measured strengths and areas of concern.
"Say that someone's score is lower than what we would consider 'average' on their conflict management skills," Ms. Johnson says. "A question we might ask is, 'Can you describe a time when you had to step away from a conflict? What did you do or not do, and why? When in your previous jobs have you taken a stand and advanced your convictions at the risk of causing conflict?'"
In addition to comparing a candidate's behavioral responses to the surgery center's ideal traits, Ms. Johnson takes this opportunity to explore any perceived weaknesses or disadvantages, such as a lack of experience in a certain specialty. "For example, Blue Chip’s specialty niche is outpatient spine surgery. If a candidate doesn't have spine experience noted on the resume, we'll discuss that with them at this time," says Ms. Johnson.
Blue Chip Partners also uses the behavior-based model retrospectively when comparing a candidate's long-term compatibility with the surgery center. "If we have an administrator or business office manager who wasn't a good fit for the facility, we go back and look at what their personality profile said," says Ms. Johnson. "It makes us better at what we do moving forward, when we're interviewing and looking for that ideal candidate." Similarly, Ms. Johnson can review successful candidates' personality assessments several months later to make note of patterns in recurring behavioral traits and strengths.
4. Look out for red flags on the resume and during the interview. In addition to the traditional pause points in an interview— gaps between positions on a resume or incomplete education programs, for example — Ms. Johnson says that a conveyed lack of enthusiasm for the position and its responsibilities is a significant red flag in an applicant.
"We're very passionate about we do. And if somebody is not passionate about outpatient surgery, developing trust, or delivering quality care in an efficient manner, that's a problem," she says. Nonverbal communication can also be very telling, she adds.
"We want to see the fire in their eyes," Ms. Johnson says. "If they can't display that during the interview, they certainly won't be able to sit in a board meeting and get excited with the doctors or get the staff fired up about a new initiative.”
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