Identify the key characteristics, skills and knowledge needed for the position.
To begin, nursing plays an integral role in the daily lives of countless individuals. Nursing as defined by the International Council of Nurses is, "The profession of practice of providing care for the sick and inform." Populations around the world, and in particular Japan, are aging quite rapidly. Baby Boomers, individuals born between 1946 and 1964 are reaching retirement age as they too become older. As this demographic age, they will typically become more prone to sickness or other forms of detrimental illnesses. As such, the importance of nursing in the coming years will be even more profound.
Nursing, in one form or another, helps abate these feelings of hopelessness and accountability that occur during periods of confusion. Not only are they knowledgeable about specific sicknesses and the nuances that accompany them, but they are also very good communicators. Communication is imperative in many respects as individuals seek closure within the context of an uncertain world. Nurses help to facilitate a healthy exchange of both concepts and notions to an already emotional individual. This is quite important as the nurse can help guide decisions that will ultimately be precursors to very contentious decisions on the part of the care giver. Furthermore, communication is important within the context of the information age we are currently experiencing. Nurses provide truth and clarity, when on many occasions, the information individuals garner is far from the truth. Individuals are predisposed to quick information at the expense of truth and clarity. The nursing profession helps mitigate this by providing information that can literally help save lives.
In addition to practical knowledge and communication skills, nurses will need to posses problem solving skills. Undoubtedly throughout the course of their tenure, a nurse will encounter numerous problems. Often, these problems occur together, in mass, within an instant. A nurse will need to first have the ability to delegate tasks to subordinates, while also solving many of the more job specific problems. Finally, a nurse must be able to plan and coach others effectively through team involvement. The health profession is predicated on team work. Each individual within the facility has a skill set unique to their job. As such, it is imperative that these skill sets mesh to provide synergy and cohesiveness. Coaching and appropriate planning on the part of the nurse provides a means of assessing team skills while minimizing weakness. Through the coaching process, a culture of constant improvement is manifested throughout the entire organization.
For each key characteristic or skill, formulate question(s) that require candidates to give concrete examples of their unique abilities in this area. Remember, examples or "what have you done in this situation" is a good starting point.
1) Teamwork- Provide an example in which you collaborated in a team environment. What was you role on the team? How did you work together on a solution that benefited the team as a whole?
2) Communication- Provide an example in which you influenced a team to make a decision? What tactics did you use? How did you present the information?
3) Delegation- Provide an example in which you delegated tasks to others for the benefit of the team. How did you decide which individual would receive the task? Did you follow up with the individual? What was the outcome?
4) Knowledge- Tell me about your nurse training and credentials. What attracting you to the profession? How familiar are you with the profession?
5) Coaching- Provide an example in which you helped develop a member of a team? What specifically did you do? What was the outcome?
6) Planning- Tell me about any leadership positions you had in high school, college, or in your profession career. Did you have to meet deadlines? How did you plan to meet those deadlines?
Conduct a sample interview using this tool with a nurse friend, colleague or a fellow student. Determine if the tool was useful and understandable to the sample applicant.
From the standpoint of the interviewer I learned how difficult it is to determine an individual's merits in an independent and objective manner. In my personal experience, certain biases occurred within the interview process (2). For example, if the interviewee had similar interests as me, I instantly saw him in a favourable manner. In retrospect, these interests had very little to do with the interviewees overall performance within the position. In fact, his similar interests could actually be a detriment to potential job performance as he would be focused on his hobbies as oppose to his job responsibilities. Nonetheless, I saw similar interests in a favourable manner, and as such, was more likely to hire an inferior candidate.
I also found it quite difficult to determine fact from puffery within the interview process. A great orator can easily disguise his lack of genuine work experience with his ability to spin puffery in a favourable manner. In such instances, it was very difficult for me to drill down to the actual performance of the candidate without any concrete evidence to base my assessment on. For example, the interviewee held numerous positions of leadership. These positions in themselves are very desirable as they display a skillset that is transferrable and relevant to many job functions. However, upon further assessment, it was difficult to determine what the candidate's role actually was within those various leadership positions. In some instances, the candidate simply lied about the functions of his position, which in hindsight, would be very difficult to determine upon further research anyway. The only form of information I had as an interviewer was the candidates word, which as I have determined, is often exaggerated. Because of this, I think more interviewers should place a more profound emphasis on the use letters of recommendation, personal contacts, and work related contacts. These forms of verification all provide an unbiased assessment of the candidate's true merits in regards to a position. Likewise, these sources of information also provide a mean of uncovering material or facts that were omitted throughout the interviewing process
In retrospect, there are many aspects within the process that I would change to better determine the correct candidate. First, I would ask more questions related to the actual job position and his potential contributions. For one, I would ask more thorough questions as to his specific contributions in previous positions. I would ask questions until I was personally satisfied as to the truthfulness of his contributions. Additionally, if this was a real job interview, I would ask for an extensive list of contacts to better assess the candidates ability. I would contact these former employers and ask questions regarding the candidates negative attributes. I would also ask more questions regarding the candidate's emotional intelligence. An often overlooked component on the part of interviewers is that of emotional intelligence (3). How well does the candidate take criticism? How well can he sense an individual's emotional state? These types of questions I overlooked and could potentially result in my choosing an inadequate candidate. Finally, I would ask more questions designed to make the candidate feel comfortable interviewing with me. I had the opportunity to interview a personal acquaintance of mine. Even though we were familiar with each other in many respects, in the context of the interview, that familiarity seemed to abate. His answers seemed rushed and incomplete. This is detriment not only to the candidate but to the interviewer as well. For one, I could not determine the good qualities he possessed until much later in the interview. By that point, I had already formulated my opinion of the candidate, whether right or wrong. Also, the candidate being nervous is more apt to exaggerate his work contributions in an effort to make he seem more favourable…