“Now you’ll be interviewing with one of our patients.”

April 19th, 2016 By: Betty Long

What a fabulous idea! Who better than to 'test' a candidate for a job at a cancer center than a patient?  After all, patients know best!!

At Stanford's Cancer Center South Bay, which opened last June, patients and family members from the Palo Alto campus, as well as a local community cancer practice, are on the 20-person Patient and Family Advisory Council and interview potential new hires.  The center was adamant about having 100% of staff interviewed by a patient, a family member, and someone from the non-hiring leadership team. Over the course of six months, the committee hired 250 people for the center and used this process on each one (except doctors)—from nurses to the cafe staff. The hiring managers used direct quotes from candidates’ interviews to assist in their decision.

Katie Abbott, the senior program manager for business operations, was interviewed and admitted, "If candidates weren’t comfortable being interviewed by patients, they probably weren’t a great fit. Some of them even said things like, ‘I don’t really like being around patients.’ They may have been a lab tech in the back, but to me, every vial of blood, every specimen that comes through is a patient. That candidate may have never admitted that to the hiring manager. When they were able to say that in front of the patients and us [staff, it was clear that] this wasn’t a great fit for this person either. They need to be excited about the culture that we’re trying to build in order for them to be excited about their role as well.”  Amen, Katie!!

But next time, I say let the patients interview potential doctors, too!


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