An organization’s ability to meet goals is directly influenced by its team’s skill level.
In the healthcare sector especially, a lack of skills can have dire consequences. So many healthcare providers use pre-employment testing to spot exceptional candidates and overcome the unique hiring challenges of the healthcare industry.
This article covers:
- Healthcare Recruitment by the Numbers
- How Do Pre-Employment Assessments Work?
- The Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing in Healthcare Recruitment
- Which Tests to Use in Healthcare Staff Assessment
- Strengthening Healthcare Recruitment with Pre-employment Assessments
Healthcare Recruitment by the Numbers
Historical data shows that past recessions had little effect on healthcare employment and recruiting. During the Great Recession, for example, despite significant layoffs in most other industries, healthcare employment actually increased.
But the COVID recession was different. When lockdowns spread across the country, unemployment rose across all sectors. However, the nature of the crisis didn't allow for many layoffs in healthcare. Job losses in this field weren’t as severe as in others – but they were still notable. The early months of the pandemic saw as many as 1.2 million job losses in healthcare.
By May 2020, healthcare employment had begun to climb again but a full recovery is still in process. Because of increased burnout, healthcare workers have been quitting their jobs at alarming rates. The Bureau of Labor’s Job Opportunity & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) shows that the combined number of health and social assistance job openings has been steadily increasing since April 2020. The number of job openings in these fields is now 51.9% higher than before the pandemic!
These numbers indicate a huge need for these roles to be filled, quickly. But, how will you know if your new hires can keep up with workplace demands? The answer lies in a healthcare staff assessment.
How Do Pre-Employment Assessments Work?
Pre-employment tests give objective data about candidate skills and provide valuable insight into the abilities and personality traits of these potential new hires. There are a variety of pre-employment tests to help hiring managers determine whether an applicant is suitable for a job. The assessments can be used to measure candidates' cognitive abilities, relevant skills and expertise, as well as assess behavioral traits.
Here are three common test types:
1) Aptitude tests. Aptitude tests are used to assess the candidate's specific skill (or their ability to learn it), as well as their ability to complete specific tasks.
2) Personality profile test. These tests are typically used to examine applicants’ behavioral traits to see if they are a good fit for the position.
3) Integrity tests. Integrity tests focus on critical behaviors that could potentially harm the company, such as rules compliance and attitudes toward violence.
Most tests can be administered online for candidates to complete at their home at their convenience. Test scores are provided immediately upon test completion back to the test administrator.
The Benefits of Pre-Employment Testing in Healthcare Recruitment
According to a poll from CareerBuilder and MiracleWorkers.com, 52% of companies in healthcare administration have unfilled positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. More than half of employers report that the most common reason for rejecting applicants is a lack of critical skills.
There are many benefits to pre-employment tests. They reveal more information than simply reviewing a resume and an in-person interview, which is why managers across sectors have adopted pre-employment assessments as an important hiring tool. Pre-employment tests can also help reduce unconscious hiring bias, because the test scores can be a guiding factor in the hiring decision.
Finding the candidates with the right set of medical skills can be challenging. Healthcare professionals must have extensive training and appropriate certifications to be qualified. In addition to professional competencies, many employers in healthcare also stress the value of soft skills such as attention to detail and communication abilities.
Streamline Onboarding Processes
Onboarding new staff is an important final part of the hiring process. Onboarding is a new employee's first impression of working in the organization, and it sets the tone for their overall employment experience. It’s the moment when new hires are equipped with the tools they’ll need to succeed in their new roles.
It is, however, a common misconception that onboarding begins on the first day. It’s instead a process that starts the moment a job opening is publicly advertised. Pre-employment tests can also be a valuable part of the onboarding process. By assessing a chosen candidate’s weak points and knowing them even before hiring, their onboarding can be personalized, and therefore, optimized.
For example, testing for a candidate’s Excel skill can influence their onboarding process. If they show solid basic Excel skills, but have issues with more complicated tasks, their onboarding could focus only on the aspects of the program they need help with. If their supervisor knows about problem points prior to Day 1 of employment, you can save time during this sometimes lengthy process. Both the trainer and the new hire can complete onboarding quicker and focus their attention on more important issues.
Employee turnover is extremely costly in the healthcare industry. According to Health Care Management Review, the cost of turnover at one major medical facility was more than 5% of the total yearly operating budget. For many hospitals, that can be the difference between profit and loss for the year.
One survey said that 86% of healthcare facilities identified retention as a top priority for their businesses. Healthcare is frequently ranked second or third among industries with the highest overall turnover, including both voluntary and involuntary turnover.
What strategies can healthcare orgs take to effectively reduce turnover? While turnover can be caused by different reasons, one place to start is with the hiring process. Because of the healthcare skills shortage, firms must make every hire count. Recognizing which job applicants are most likely to thrive there long-term can reduce turnover.
Pre-employment tests have shown to be very reliable providers of such information. Employers can make more informed hiring decisions by reviewing assessment results, which indicate the candidates who have the best long-term job success potential.
Which Tests to Use for Healthcare Staff Assessments
To keep a healthcare orgs running efficiently, healthcare personnel must have a wide range of skills and abilities. Whether the professional is a nurse, a receptionist, or a medical assistant, the HR department needs to know that they have chosen the person with the right skill set.
Our tests for healthcare applicants include five assessments which measure both soft and hard skills needed for success.
- Customer Service Test - Although customer experience is important for any organization, it’s especially important in the healthcare industry. Because their everyday tasks focus on treating patients, it is crucial to think of healthcare personnel as customer service representatives. Knowledgeable and customer-focused employees serve the best interests of both the consumer and the service provider. The customer service test focuses on abilities such as troubleshooting, decision-making, and communication clarity, among others.
- Attention to Detail Test - Attention to detail is one of the most important skills for candidates to have, as it lowers their risk of making mistakes. Mistakes can lead to higher costs, miscommunication, and fatal results. Pharmacists and nurses, for instance, must be exceedingly cautious with drug specifics and dosages, as the wrong medicine delivered at the wrong time might do great harm. On the test, a competent candidate will be able to show that they can recognize data inconsistencies, spot flaws in their own and others' work, and accurately follow specific directions.
- Computer Skills Test - For medical office staff, computer skills are a must. These roles, which include receptionists, medical secretaries, and medical assistants, cover a wide range of responsibilities. Their day-to-day tasks include scheduling appointments, collecting patient information, and processing paperwork such as billing and insurance. For these administrative tasks to be completed with speed and precision, it’s crucial for your hires to have a knowledge of computer programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word. Managing files, entering data, creating spreadsheets, performing calculations, and basic email etiquette, should all be within your candidates’ skill set.
- Medical Office Skills Test – To really understand your applicants’ technical ability and healthcare qualifications, you can administer a medical office skills test. This test includes subjects such as medical billing and coding, knowledge of most-used abbreviations, and of HIPAA compliance. For nursing candidates, a dosage calculation test will measure their ability to determine proper dosage.
- Healthcare Aptitude Test - The healthcare aptitude test assesses applicants’ ability to provide outstanding patient care. There are two versions: the clinical version, which is designed for roles like nurses and clinical technicians, and the support version, which is designed for roles like non-clinical administrative support. Respect, interpersonal communication, quality orientation, service orientation, and patient-centricity are topics covered by the healthcare aptitude test.
Strengthening Healthcare Recruitment with Pre-Employment Assessments
In the current healthcare staffing crisis, it's not enough to quickly increase employee count. It is also necessary to hire the most qualified applicants for the jobs. This will help to improve morale, decrease turnover and, most importantly, enhance both the patients’ and the employees’ interactions.
Pre-employment tests have made it easier for HR managers to assess which individuals have the necessary abilities for a position, regardless of industry or sector. By avoiding hiring errors, hiring expenditures can be decreased by 5 to 20 times. This ensures better cost management within the organization, as well as saving money on any mistakes made by new hires who aren't paying attention or don’t possess the necessary skillset.
EmployTest, a leading provider of pre-employment tests, specializes in developing pre-employment tests that help businesses find top talent and screen candidates that exactly meet their needs. With the option to use pre-made tests or construct custom-tailored tests for a certain role, it is guaranteed to help your team make smarter hiring decisions.