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Defining Healthcare Staffing Challenges: Skills and the Interview

Defining Healthcare Staffing Challenges and How To Fix Them: Unique Skills and the Interview Process

There are numerous ways to evaluate each candidate when filling open positions for physicians. Experience weighs heavily during the process, as does their performance during multiple rounds of interviews. But there’s another area hiring managers can use to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit in the organization: the skills they bring to the table.

When it comes to providing the highest quality of care, healthcare systems should always look for candidates’ unique skills. They should be especially mindful that these skills can’t easily be taught during medical school.

Hiring specialists should always seek to add resilient physicians with highly cultivated skill sets to their organizations, whether it’s for a long-term, full-time role, or as a contingent position. Of course, there are skills associated with certain specialties your organization needs to provide a full range of care. There are also special skills you may not think of initially but can help your organization grow in the future. Seeking out providers with these capabilities will not only make your organization more competitive but also contain costs in ways that could benefit it for years to come.

The special skills listed below will help you identify whether a candidate is a good fit to address your healthcare staffing challenges.


When interviewing candidates, it is vital for hiring executives to consider more than just a physician’s medical degree and license to practice. Board certification, for example, proves that the individual has received recognition from one of the Member Boards from the American Board of Medical specialties, and they possess the core competencies needed to do the job. When identifying locum tenens staffing providers, this is critical to ensure they can do the job for which you are staffing them, even if they are only filling the position temporarily.

Some jurisdictions and positions don’t necessarily require board certification. However, all of VISTA’s contingent staff are board-certified, so they can easily take their expertise to any organization where they are needed.


Every aspect of the medical profession requires education. When staffing your facility, you’ll also want to focus on the type of degrees your candidate has received. Schooling proves that the person has received a proper education. Obtaining a degree also means they’ve undergone testing to highlight their understanding of the concepts needed to perform in the role.

Education should be a minimum requirement. In virtually every position that requires contingent staffing, from a physician assistant to an orthopedic surgeon, executives and hiring managers should ensure the candidate has healthcare experience. The requirements will also be subjective based on the position being filled. Typically, most physicians should have at least one year of residency, if not far more depending on their specialty.

What to Look For in a CV

There are a few elements of a candidate’s CV you may want to look for as well to gauge if they’re a good fit for a healthcare system, such as:

  • Prior healthcare experience. As previously stated, all physicians and clinicians receive residency training after they finish medical school. How did their residency go? What previous clinical experience do they have? What about volunteer work? This shows dedication and a passion that is difficult to impersonate.
  • Awards. Have they received any awards, educational or professional, that showcase their ability to learn, achieve, or innovate?
  • Leadership. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a supervisor at a previous job. What does management in their previous roles say about their work style? Your healthcare system needs proactive thinkers who aren’t afraid to step up with actionable solutions. That’s what leaders do.
  • Soft skills. Think about soft skills like communication ability and critical thinking. They may not list these outright, but look for how they may have applied them throughout their career.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it demonstrates some of the skills to look for within the CV and how they can contribute to your organization.

What to Ask During an Interview

Not every skill is going to be listed on a resume. Hiring interviewers may need to draw out some of the candidate’s relevant experience, opinions, or approach to work in the medical profession during the interview process. Below are a few examples of interview questions to ask:

  • What was a challenge you encountered during your career? It’s trite to ask candidates about their weaknesses. They’re likely going to spin it into a positive anyway. A better question is to ask them about a challenge or setback they faced and what they did to solve the problem. This will give you an idea of how they come up with solutions and how they deal with adversity. 
  • What three things do you need to succeed in this role? This provides you with an opportunity to see how well the candidate’s values align with the organization’s culture.
  • How will this role challenge you? Contingent staffing can have its own set of benefits, so the candidate’s answer here will provide insight into what they expect from this unique arrangement.

Geographic Influences

Where the candidate worked is also an important factor to consider. For example, there are respective challenges associated with serving at urban hospitals or rural clinics. If your candidate has worked at an organization that may seem challenging, it may show their ability to work well in pressure situations.

Professional Influences

When examining your candidate’s prior work experience, also helps to understand the type of organizations for which they worked. Did they have a private practice, or were they an employee? What kinds of academic research have they engaged in, and what research papers have they published? This information will give you a more holistic view of their skill set.

Economic Influences

You’ll also want to factor the financial aspect of your candidate’s career into how well they’ll fit at your organization. What drew them to work in a contingent staffing role? How willing are they to work far away from home, potentially in a very remote setting?
Most contingent staffing providers charge a flat rate for providing clinicians. However, their willingness to work in a remote location far from the typical amenities of the city or suburbs can be an indicator of their economic influences.

Evaluate Your Candidate’s Body of Work and Skills

In summary, explore beyond the superficial when evaluating medical professionals for your organization. By understanding their certifications, education, CV, responses to interview questions, geographic situation, professional and economic influences, you may find skills that you had not anticipated wanting or needing but will nonetheless be happy to discover anyway.

Looking for the best solution to facilitate the challenges of finding the best clinicians for your organization? Whether you need a physician for a few days, a few months, or a permanent replacement, VISTA will revolutionize your approach to clinical staffing. We have a wealth of expertise and experience. Learn more on how we can help, contact us today.

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