How well a physician meshes with the current culture of an organization influences the length of the physician’s stay. According to the Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association (AMGA) 2006 Physician Retention Survey, which was completed by 92 members of the AMGA who collectively employ more than 16,833 physicians, “poor cultural fit with practice” is the single most frequently mentioned reason for voluntary separation.
Because recruitment and retention are directly related, focus on attracting candidates who will quickly acclimate to your group’s culture. To do so, recruiters must first clearly understand the culture of the organization. By identifying your organization’s values, you can more accurately recognize traits in candidates that will blend with the current staff. One of the most effective strategies for assessing whether a candidate will be a long-term cultural fit is through behavioral interviewing techniques.
Ask candidates the following during the interview process:
▪ Describe an experience that required talking with a patient or staff member under particularly difficult circumstances.
▪ Tell me how you have created an environment where the staff members or patients are comfortable approaching you – even with bad news.
▪ Describe a time when you provided recognition of a staff member.
▪ Describe a time when someone wasn’t performing up to your standards.
▪ Tell me about your relationships at work. Describe a favorite relationship and a difficult relationship.
▪ Give me an example of where you had to mediate conflict in your office, department or organization.
▪ Describe a patient case or encounter that generated a particular sense of compassion in you.
Such questions will assist in determining whether a candidate is a long-term cultural fit for your organization. Additional strategies include peer interviews, spouse participation in interviews, job shadowing prior to the offer and offering a locum assignment for a probationary period.