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Hire Top Talent with Behavioral Interviewing

The Need

A hospital system had to rapidly transform its approach to hiring and interviewing, even while the hospital system was at its most vulnerable during a global pandemic.

The Solution

A refreshed competency model that emphasized behaviors needed during and post-COVID-19 was coupled with DDI's behavioral interviewing system to hire the right people.

The Result

Improved turnover rate and an improved interviewing process, so the hospital is confident in its hiring decisions.

Hiring can be an expensive mistake, especially if it's one that's unfortunate.

David Crawford, Vice President and Head of Talent Acquisition, NewYork-Presbyterian

As a top-ranked hospital in the United States, NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) has always viewed recruiting as a top priority, especially given the highly competitive New York City talent market. But as COVID-19 ravaged New York City last year, demand for staff skyrocketed and competencies—such as resilience, resourcefulness, inclusion, and more—became even more important. The hospital quickly pivoted to a process to hire top talent with behavioral interviewing.

In this webinar, NewYork-Presbyterian shares how it rapidly transformed its approach to hiring and interviewing, even while the hospital system was at its most vulnerable. NYP’s David Crawford, Vice President and Head of Talent Acquisition, shares real world tips and best practices for moving to a behavioral interviewing system.

Learn about DDI's Targeted Selection® behavioral interviewing system. 

Transcript:

Beth Gillen:

Hello everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, Hiring During a Crisis, Interviewing for Amazing. Our presenters today are David Crawford, from NewYork-Presbyterian and Jill Low, from DDI. We do apologize in advance for any background noises or technical difficulties, as we are all bringing this to you from across the United States.

Now before we begin, let's go over a few housekeeping now. If you are not already, please use Chrome as your browser for optimal viewing. The link you used today can be accessed again to view this webinar on demand. The ON24 webinar console is totally customizable, so you can resize or move any of the windows around as you like, and you can engage with us and view supplemental content using the widgets you see on your screen. This does include the slides from today's webinar. Let's go ahead and bring Jill in to introduce our special guest, and get the discussion started.

Jill Low: 

Thanks so much. Welcome everyone. I would like to introduce my co-presenter, David Crawford. David has five plus years at NewYork-Presbyterian, and previously worked with well respected organizations such as BlackRock, MasterCard, and Goldman Sachs. At NewYork-Presbyterian, David is responsible for leading talent acquisition strategies and operations, including workforce planning, recruitment, retention and employment, branding and marketing.

I can say personally, David has built one of the very best talent acquisition teams I've had the pleasure to work with. And it's just really their commitment to NewYork-Presbyterian, its cultures, leaders and ultimately patients, that have created the story that David and I will share. David, can you tell us a little bit about NewYork-Presbyterian?

David Crawford:

Sure. I'm really glad to do this with you today, Jill. You're certainly no stranger to us. We have partnered with you and DDI in putting together an integral component of NYP's interview experience and processes, and we'll talk a little bit about that. First though, from the applicant perspective about NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, who are we? Well, the first section you'll note on this slide is, we are ranked number one in New York, have been for 20 years running, and number four across the nation. That's according to the US News and World Report.

From a candidate's view, and we're pretty proud of our candidate experience, we have been a number one ranked CandE Award winner, the Candidate Experience across North America, among 55 winners here in the continent. The other thing that's very important about NewYork-Presbyterian, it's not just about our 10 hospitals that we have. We are affiliated with two medical schools, with Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Then the last piece I wanted to comment on is, it's what our employees say about NewYork-Presbyterian, and why it's a great place to work. I'm really proud of the fact that, over this past year of 2021, we were ranked among the 100 best places to work, according to Glassdoor.

Jill Low:

Amazing. Thank you, David. Now that we have heard a little bit about NewYork-Presbyterian, we'd also like to get you engaged, and hear a little bit about those of you who are joining us. So in a moment, if you are not already, you'll be seeing a polling slide. So, we'd like to hear a little bit about why you are joining us, and what you're interested in improving in your interview process.

Jill Low:

Looks like we have a nice distribution, but definitely a surge in the, we are expecting a hiring surge. So that's terrific. It makes sense.

David Crawford:

That's amazing. We are definitely experiencing a hiring surge now, especially coming out of what's been the COVID crisis for us. But also, we did see that as things were shifting, and I'll talk a little bit about that from the COVID experience, our skills, interviewer skills weren't even about what we were looking for. But the answer I have to give here is all of the above. That is one major reason, why we came up with a new course. So anyway, very interesting statistics here that are showing up. I'm not surprised to see that 30% have, we need to address bias in interviewing, and we'll talk a little bit about that as well.

Jill Low:

Yeah. What I like about the distribution, to your point, David, yes, it's good news, we're going to talk about pretty much all of these things.

David Crawford:

Exactly.

Jill Low:

Can you tell us a little bit more about what drove you to pursue this process, David?

David Crawford:

Sure. Well with this, we're a hospital, so we have to focus on the patient experience and then the focus on talent. To step back, whether or not it's a hospital, a recruiter is looking for feedback from the interviewer, and nothing is worse than getting yeah, or maybe, or not really. That doesn't tell us anything. So we wanted to ensure that we had a consistent process to evaluate candidates both internally and externally. There was a business reason why we put this program together, Interviewing for Amazing. That was a few years ago. We were building a state-of-the-art outpatient facility, which is this David H. Koch Center that I have highlighted here on this first picture. And then, it finally advanced to some inpatient for our Cohen Hospital For Women and Newborn.

What we were looking to do was to link the patient experience to the talent who are expected to deliver that experience, focus on the behaviors of the how versus the what. And we wanted to make sure that our interviewers were interviewing appropriately for that, not just for, do you have the technical skills, but how do you do the work that you do? With that, we sent a number of interviewers through. It went very well, but last year was a very challenging year. And I think something that I read recently from the Society for Healthcare... Sorry, I'm tripping over my words. Epidemiology of America had a quote that was there. What they said is that, "There was a profound social shock, infractured, and rearranged every aspect of society."

With that, there were some things I just wanted to highlight on this particular slide. Just to get a perspective of what COVID was like back in March and April of last year, we started seeing, once we hit the middle of March, 100 patients a day, then it was 100 patients the following day. It kept going till we finally reached a high point of 2,500 inpatient COVID positive folks.

Jill Low:

Wow.

David Crawford:

Additionally with that, we had about 750 that were in our ICU, most of them on ventilators. Just so you know, across our entire enterprise, we have about 450 ICU beds. So we had to take rooms that were inpatient beds, weren't ICUs, and we had to change things around. People had to be resourceful, they had to know how to deal with ambiguity. They had to deal with constant change, shake up the status quo, break down silos and work together as a team.

What we saw is that, there was this new set of competencies that evolved in order for us to address the needs of our patients. So with that, we partnered with talent development to identify what those competencies were, and those very competencies are now embedded in our performance review process. But with that, we wanted to make sure that we were looking at these competencies and incorporating them into our Interviewing for Amazing course.

Understanding bias. We've heard of unconscious and conscious bias. Conscious is shaped by experiences, prejudices that people may have. Unconscious is a lack of understanding, a lack of awareness. It just doesn't register that you have these biases. So we wanted to make sure that bias didn't influence or impact the decision that was going to be made on the candidate. I'll give you an example, a simple one just to illustrate a point. So I know Jill, I see her name, J-I-L-L. I know how to pronounce the name Jill, when I see it. But what would happen, Jill, if you spelled your name G-Y-L? Okay, it's unfamiliar to me. Interesting. But it might make me think, "Where'd that name come from? What's its origin? Is that an ethnic name?"

Well, that is not proper. And you know what, if I see Jill, J-I-L-L, those questions don't come up, and it's trying to influence how I'm trying to bond and connect with Jill. But also at the same time, let's say that I do know Jill, J-I-L-L. It might be my dear grandmother's name. "Oh, it's the halo effect. She must be a wonderful person because of the name Jill. Or it might be that nemesis-

Jill Low:

Of course she is.

David Crawford:

Exactly. It might be that nemesis neighbor of mine who gets on my nerves because of what her dog does on my lawn every day. The idea is, you can't get caught up in those things and really focus on what those competencies are. Bias aside, social distancing. We can't have a workshop. We could not have a workshop with a large group of people sitting in a room. Not possible when we're looking at social distancing. And on top of that, we needed greater efficiency in managing the program. We couldn't sunset it. No one these days has an hour block of time sitting in a room and have a workshop. We also wanted to cut down on travel time. That was always necessary before when we were gathering people. And also through technology, we wanted to make sure that we could train multiple locations quickly and easily, so it was effortless. Any other thoughts about that, Jill?

Jill Low:

Thank you, David. No, it's a good overall description of what drove that change from a half day in-person, to really re-envisioning what the process or Interviewing for Amazing would look like moving forward. So thank you for that. So similarly, let's go back to the audience. This time, for our actual final polling question, you shared with us why you joined, but David and I are curious how you would rate, since really the crux of what we're talking about is interviewing and building that confidence and competence in interviewing skills. How would you rate your current managers overall interviewing skills?

David Crawford:

I wonder how the results would be if we asked managers to rate their own experience, as far as, how do you think you are as an interviewer? I'm sure we would get very different results.

Jill Low:

Hold that thought. I might be sharing that in a moment.

All right. Look at that. So it looks like mostly in that pretty good, could use some room for improvement, or a little rough around the edges. Few were great, and a few are, I love what skills managers are making it up as they go.

David Crawford:

I'm not surprised to see that because, many companies, let's be realistic, they already have an interviewing course that's available that focuses on behavioral interviews, but there's always room for improvement. Which is why, especially since we're looking at new competencies, you need to refresh, you need to do things in a different way. You can't exactly interview the same way that you did before. So I'm not surprised to see these results.

Jill Low:

Me either. And especially since you've chosen to give up a day of your time to join us or an hour of your time, all day. David mentioned earlier, what would the managers say? So I actually wanted to share a little research. DDI has a bi-annual Global Leadership Forecast that we do, the largest leadership study of its kind. We had more than 15,000 leaders participate in this latest study. What was really fascinating and shocking to me is that, only 14% of those leaders said they were confident in their hiring decisions. 14%. That was next to the lowest rated skill of all of the ones that we asked them about. So things like communication, coaching, even preventing burnout or leading virtual teams, which we know have been hot topics and things that leaders have struggled with over the past year. Confidence in hiring decisions was at the bottom.

David Crawford:

That's concerning. That's concerning because, hiring can be an expensive mistake, especially if it's one that's unfortunate. By that I mean, it doesn't work out. That the person leaves within the first year. And that's unfortunate because, that means either that we made a mistake, or you made a mistake, and that's not optimal. I get it that things happen for personal reasons, but if it's because of fit, or not really understanding the culture, or the responsibilities, that's sad, and that hopefully that could be avoided.

Jill Low:

Absolutely.

David Crawford:

With that, we put together this course, and here's some feedback. "I can teach people how to be a nurse, but I can't teach someone how to be caring, compassionate, to want to have teamwork or to be engaged." Why is it so important to be a good interviewer? It's because you only have a limited amount of time to make this very important decision. Even in reality TV shows, you want to find a bride or a groom, you get more than 30 minutes in order to make that decision. So what we want to do, since you just have that limited amount of time, teach people the right way to use that effectively. So with that, how do we go about something-

Jill Low:

David, that reminds me, I know one of my colleagues told me once that, if she had had Targeted Selection before her first husband, she would've made a different decision.

David Crawford:

Okay. We're not going there right now. But we'll really go on this one, Jill.

Jill Low:

But how do we, David mentioned something like caring and compassion, how do we hire for that? The first step really is to identify what does success look like. Not success in general, but success for your organization and the rules for what you are hiring. We call that the Success Profile, and it has four quadrants. What we want to know to get really that holistic view and be able to make that good decision, are what do people know? Maybe that's from their education, schooling, their degree. What have they done? What are those experiences? What are the behavioral competencies that they're bringing to the table? And then finally their personal attributes or motivations.

What the organizations that I work with often tell me, and you'll see it there is that, we have a tendency to hire for the things on the left. Those are the things that are easy to assess, right from the CV or resume, what people have done in their experiences or education or other backgrounds. But when it doesn't work out, to David's point, and people are fired or leave the organization, it has more to do with the right. So we too often hire for the left and fire for the right. What that really comes down to, which David alluded to, is behavior. How do we really assess and pull into the interview and pull into our decision, not just as knowledge and experiences, but also those behaviors that are so important in the workplace?

We use behavioral interviewing as our process. So once we have the success profile identified, we use behavioral interviewing. Obviously a core tenent of which, is that past behavior predicts future behavior. If we want to predict how someone will perform... Go ahead, David.

David Crawford:

I was going to say, Jill, what's so important about that is, it's not the how would you do something, it's how did you do something, so that you can have a real discussion about that specific situation.

Jill Low:

That's right. You'll remember we tell your leaders in the session, to stay out of the woods.

David Crawford:

Stay out of the woods.

Jill Low:

Because that doesn't really tell us, yeah. To make sure we're really getting those examples of past behavior. And if we think about what makes up a robust interviewing system, what we know is that managers really are not innately good interviewers. It's not like we wake up the day that we were promoted and all of a sudden we have this skillset to be able to interview. And so we really need to provide that framework or process to guide them in a way that focuses both on gathering behavioral data, and then giving the candidate a great experience. So we believe it's both the art, things like positive impression, collecting information, getting a motivational fit. The art of the interview, and then also the science. And I'm going to next talk a little bit about both of these, but those are the pieces we want to bring together to really make sure we have a solid process in place.

So we've alluded to targeted selection, and we'll talk about NewYork-Presbyterian's process specifically in a minute, but it really is composed then of two forces that get at that art and science. So the art, we look at things like building rapport, and managing the interview. Especially now, it's a two way street, right? We are interviewing the candidate and trying to get information, but the candidate is also making a decision. That candidate experience is just critical because, it also reflects on the organization's brand in the market, behavioral questions, a star response, and motivational fit.

And then, we also have science which really gets to the scientific aspect of why targeted selection works. Really making data-driven hiring decisions, diving deep on why we use competencies and those key actions, and linking specific behavioral questions to the competencies from the success profile, making sure that we're using that interview guide and taking notes. Then, how do we once we have the information, really evaluate it and integrate that decision with others who have also interviewed the candidate? David, typically these are sort of a half day or a four-hour experience each, but we did something a little bit unique given the situation that David described. David, do you want to tell us a little bit about what this process looks like now-

David Crawford:

Sure.

Jill Low:

In this new world for NewYork-Presbyterian?

David Crawford:

What used to happen before is a four-hour workshop. You sign up for it, you go to the workshop where you go through all of the basic understanding of the terminology, understanding of the competencies, a little bit of practice, and then it just sinks in later. We flipped it. We flipped it so that there's the knowledge acquisition at the beginning, and then it shifts over to the application. It's reinforced, and it's done in these smaller chunks of time, when I was talking about efficiency at the very beginning.

So with this, we have two sections. There's the self-paced learning within the one and a half hours, and those are two different modules that are embedded in there. At the very beginning, there's the introduction to the video. So with that, there's a welcome for me, and then we have the testimonials from people who have taken our particular course. There's a mini-course in there-

Jill Low:

I love that.

David Crawford:

Well you'll hear from them soon, but it's the unconscious bias piece. So there are various vignettes that show up, and getting you more familiarized with all different types of diversity, inclusion, belonging, and really exploring how you have conversations with people and the types of questions you really need to ask, and also to check yourself. Then, there's also the art of behavioral interviewing, focusing on the competencies, and some tests that are in there along with some multiple choice.

Shift over now to the virtual classroom that takes place, and size is kind of small. I'm going to say a dozen, 15 people at the most. It's typically a lot less than that. With that, it's do you have the smarts quiz, which is a level-setting. It's a refresher wink, wink, if you didn't do all of your homework or pay attention. But the idea is to, A is ask the questions, require a star response, then also the T is for take notes. As you know, star, situation, task, action, result, how behavioral interviews are usually set up. So that's the way that we understand the language.

Then it turns into the fun part, which is the skills practice. Put people into breakout rooms within Zoom, and then call people back and evaluate the candidates, and close with the legal disarray considerations, which is always the most fun part. And sometimes it's a surprise as laws have changed. So for example, people used to ask about, "Well, I see that there's a gap in your resume. Can you explain it?" You can't do that any longer. "How much do you make at your current job?" You can't do that. So as things have changed and evolved, it's not just for the new manager, it's for the person who has interviewed for 10, 15 years to refresh skills, and also to have these aha moments of, "I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to ask that question." And it gets down to, "What are you really looking for? And how do you ask that particular question?"

Jill Low:

Yeah. I love that, David. It's seeing the light bulbs go on, right? Where people, and I know they'll even disclose what they have been asked or what they have been asking, with the group, once they realize what they should be doing versus what they have done. And really, the way that the team we are working with DDI has made that virtual classroom very specific to NewYork-Presbyterian, pulling in your competencies, the organization's credo, you mentioned a couple of really New York specific laws around things like salary, for new learners.

David Crawford:

Yeah. The thing is, it does have to feel like NewYork-Presbyterian. And the way that it does is that, our recruiters lead the sessions, the people who attend are our internal clients. The other piece that I want to stress here is that, this has been a collaborative effort between talent acquisition and talent development. Talent development provided the content for us as far as the competencies, to make sure that it was a seamless transition from how we evaluate people and then put them into our performance reviews.

But as far as teaching the courses, those are our recruiters and our specialists. The reason why that's so important is, we have the stories. We can pull out examples from our history of what's specific to situations that just resonate and make sense, not just anything that's generic. I also think, because of the way that we have interviewed, we have fewer mistakes that have taken place. Our retention rate is really very good. It's not just for new hires. We've had high retention. As a matter of fact, that's not the case at all. Being a better interviewer makes a world of difference. So we've had a nice blend. It depends on the organization, what fits for that culture. But for us, this is the process that has worked for us.

Jill Low:

Hey David, I often get this question. Who should do the interview, do the training? Will the recruiters have a time? What is the left? So I think you haven't mentioned, but you have done for several years now a team teaching where they partner on it, so that each is responsible for half of the content.

David Crawford:

Yeah. But as I mentioned, it's a collaborative effort and we learn along the way. What I also like, and let me go back to this particular point, this gave the recruiters the opportunity to hone their presentation skills. They're all very nervous at the very beginning to do this, but it helps in building presence and coming across as a subject matter expert, which our recruiters really are. I also wanted to-

Jill Low:

And, I know that you... Oh, go ahead. Sorry. One last thing and then I'll I'll turn it back over to you. I absolutely couldn't agree more with why it works so well. What I have also seen them do is, on the backend, kind of where you started us, but they really can challenge and have I think such a great conversation with the manager, especially when the, "I didn't like that one," kind of response comes up. They are in a position to reinforce the concepts in the Interviewing for Amazing process because, they're the ones advising and working with their hiring managers on the process.

David Crawford:

Yeah, yeah. I know that there's a particular question that has come through about, can you really mitigate bias in hiring? There are a couple of things that I have a point of view on. Number one is, it's the slate. You have to have a diverse slate, however you define what diverse slate is. And it doesn't mean one. One is a token, two is a representation. So the more diverse your slate is, the better that you will be able to hire for diversity. As far as bias, it comes down to making sure that the questions that are being asked are consistent across all candidates. And when you're collecting feedback, to make sure that you understanding and maybe if possible debrief as a group about the candidates that happened to have come through.

The other thing I want to focus on, which is specific to healthcare, we have a five-star rating. What we've labeled are five-star candidates, and let me explain. There's a difference between a five-star and the silver medalist. I know that a number of people talk about silver medalist. Silver medalists come in second. I'm not looking for the runner up. What I'm looking for is, and this is more of a frame of mind, five-stars are really good, but only one person can get that particular job. It's the way that the process works. But with that person, who's really good, is there another role for that individual? Sometimes we have a rolling brick where, we need a lot of people for various jobs, so we use that and we use these five-star candidates to populate those particular bricks. I think that this is so important to have that view of five-star candidates rather than runner-ups.

The other piece I want to focus on is that experience. What drives me crazy, especially when I talk to recruiters or managers, and I think we're experiencing this now, especially in this market, there are really two decisions to be made. One is ours, one is theirs as far as the candidate. So that's why we're very focused on our corporate brand or who we are to our patients, which is, amazing things are happening here. When you look at our commercials that are out there, you see patients who were at a loss. They could not find the help that they were looking for. And something amazing happens when they worked with our healthcare system, very touching and moving stories.

But as we started thinking about our employer brand, and who we are to the applicant pool, and finding people to work here, we came up with were amazing works. Who are those people who make these amazing things happen for our patients? So our goal is to find these amazing people as individuals who can fit into a team. And that's why we take so much time and effort to focus on that candidate experience. What we've always found is that, good people know other good people. So if we don't have to necessarily reach out to people we've hired and say, "Who else do you know?" And that they willingly by themselves tell us other people who should apply for our positions, that truly is amazing.

Jill Low:

It is not a market for talent.

David Crawford:

That's another real benefit of having this workshop, so people have the opportunity to share stories. Here are just some of the quotes that were lifted from that video that we just saw. Why this is so important is because, NewYork-Presbyterian has a culture of respect. It's something that we talk about. It's called our credo. With our credo, which hasn't been around for 20 or 30 years, it's been around for about three or four, it came from a place where we said, "We have to be very specific to our employees about behaviors that are acceptable, and those that are not. It is to be clearly stated and hold it up there literally, so that people could see it and that people sign it." It's very specific to the point of, it says what you believe and what you will do and what you will not do.

For example, I believe that everyone deserves my respect, and colleagues, and patients should feel that they belong here. What I will do is be open to someone else's ideas, to actively listen. What I will not do is to speak negatively about somebody. And we call people on it, if it looks like they're doing something against the credo. Those are things that we have to think about when we are interviewing our candidates.

The other piece that I think is really important and why NewYork-Presbyterian is very special, at least to me, is because, I've had a terrific career at places where you made money. Wall Street, finance, global companies. And I have to tell you, I wouldn't trade that for anything because, they were wonderful organizations, and I learned so much, especially with very smart people where there's this adrenaline rush that you get where everything has a sense of urgency to the point of it's like life and death.

But when I got here, literally it is. It can be. So what we do could impact someone who is facing life or death, impacting someone who's maybe delivering a child, impacting someone who's going to do so much better because we have the skills in order to address that. Or it might be someone who needs to be comforted. So I have to tell you, interviewing isn't as a task that gets performed. There's a real impact and a real value in bringing together the right people who can run towards an emergency or a situation, as opposed to shying away from it. But at the end of the day, it's about having the right style of a conversation with the candidate. You can glean so much information by doing it the right way.

Jill Low:

Thank you, David.