The 3 Things You Must Ask BEFORE You Hire Someone in Healthcare

Have you ever hired a nurse whom you thought was a great hire? She had experience, was certified, and seemed to possess excellent clinical skills.  Yes! You hit the jackpot! But then over time, you realized while all of this was true, she quickly got a reputation for not helping anyone, only focusing on her patients; being arrogant, uncivil, and just plain rude.

What went wrong?

You were probably distracted by the shining object syndrome and only focused on her excellent resume showcasing skills, education, and accomplishments.

But you forgot to make sure she understood that the way she treated others was just as important as her cadre of skills.

Adopt Tim Grover’s Approach

I recently read a story about Tim Grover. He is world renowned for his work with legendary athletes like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. How does he manage to take an athlete from good to legendary? It’s because of what he does BEFORE working with a new client.

When working with a new player, he asks 3 things:

“I don’t care how much you can lift, how fast you can run, how many pull-ups you can do, or whether you can hit a three while blindfolded.

There are only three things I ask of every client… Show up, work hard, and listen. That’s it. It requires no talent, no special genetics, or any skill whatsoever to show up, work hard, and listen.”

By not getting distracted by how “good” someone is, he is able to get to what it takes for his athletes to achieve their highest potential and therefore, dominate their sport as part of a cohesive team.

How might healthcare leaders adapt this when hiring new employees, especially the ones who already possess great skills?

Choose your top 3

I know you’re busy, but carving out some time to figure this out is one of the most important uses of your time. Doing so can SAVE you a ton of time and aggravation later, especially if you easily fall victim to the shiny object syndrome.

YOU must determine, beyond clinical skills, what 3 things you need to see from every employee. You might look at these as your bottom-line, no matter what, deal-breaking musts.

Mine would be…

I don’t care how much experience or skill you have. I expect these 3 things:

1) Make decisions based on what’s best for our patients first, then your coworkers.

2) Make continuous learning and improving a daily routine.

3) Treat others with kindness and respect (it’s not optional).

These 3 things are just as important to me as someone’s skills, intelligence, experience, or credentials. I don’t want someone on my team who is excellent clinically but mean and nasty, set in their ways, unwilling to learn, and who goes rogue on me (Martyrs stay away!).

By setting these expectations up front BEFORE you hire someone it makes it so much easier to hold them accountable later IF you have to.

I’ve asked other leaders in my community, what would be on their list. Here are a few examples:

  • Show up to work on time.
  • Be prepared to work.
  • Be receptive to change.
  • Show up fit to work hard. Being a nurse isn’t easy.
  • Take care of yourself so that you have the energy to care for patients.
  • Provide the same level of care to our patients that you would want for your family.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Ask for help. Nobody knows everything. Nobody can do everything by him/herself.
  • Always find an opportunity to teach someone.
  • Go out of your way to help someone even if they don’t ask for help.
  • Understand that our patients are OUR patients – not just the ones assigned to you.

What would be on your list? I’d love to know!


About Renee Thompson

Dr. Renee Thompson is a keynote speaker, author and professional development/anti-bullying thought leader. Renee spends the majority of her time helping healthcare and academic organizations address and eliminate bullying behavior. To find out how you can bring Renee to YOUR organization or nursing event, visit www.healthyworkforceinstitute.com

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