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At Indiana hospital, co-workers do the hiring interviews, too

Before a foodservice employee is hired for Community Hospital Anderson in Indiana, the candidate is interviewed not only by management but also by a team of would-be peers. community hospital anderson

The program was adopted two years ago. Since then, Food Service Director Doris Biddle says she has seen an increase in retention as well as job higher satisfaction among the employees who were already on board.

“The rate is higher because [staff] are allowed to give input in that process,” Biddle said. “It helps us with on-boarding, too, because new hires are already familiar with some of the employees they’ve met through the process. So it increases their comfort when starting the job.”

Involving current employees in the interviewing works the other way, too. Participants say they enjoy meeting the candidates with whom they may be working, and having a say in the matter.

Biddle oversees 50 employees, both part and full-time. Those selected to participate in the four-team interview process, an offer they can decline, have to meet her “star employee” requirement: be a good role model to their peers with an attitude and work attendance to match. 

“Last year we had three people participate; this year we had four,” she said. “After they’re chosen they watch a 30 minute training video on how the process is done. When it’s time to start conducting interviews, I usually sit in with them on the first one to coach them. They conduct the second interview on their own, and by then they’re pretty comfortable with the process.”

Another advantage of the process is that staff may pick up on something in an interview that Biddle might have missed, she says. “It makes it a more rounded experience. They do the job themselves, so they know what it takes. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The only disadvantage, she says, is that the process is delayed by the need to schedule interviews around three or four people’s schedules. “It’s hard to get them all together on the same day because you have to work around their personal schedule as well.”

Despite that one issue, Biddle says the process is worth it because of the end results. “It’s very important that we choose the right people for the right jobs, and make sure they are a good fit for the department. So it’s made the team feel more important, like they had a stake in their success, which they did.”

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