A recent study featured in the Wall Street Journal revealed that exorbitantly stressful interview environments can skew the hiring process — even for the most talented candidates.

How can interviewers and interviewees alike walk away feeling positive about their experience?

By focusing on the big picture, said Joshua Moore, a Managing Partner and Home Health and Hospice expert from Full Spectrum Search Group.

“Candidates should consider: What would success look like one year from now? What would the room for growth be from this role to a regional, VP, or C-suite executive role? What kind of performance would you want to see out of me to be able to justify moving into the next stage of my career here?” Moore shared. “By the end of the interview process, you should have an understanding of what they’re looking for to fill this role, and what the room for growth will be for you with the company.”

From the operator or hiring side, interviewers should come prepared with an equally robust understanding of what they are looking for in a new hire.

“Beyond the job description, consider: What is this office in need of? Is the staff fragmented? Are you expecting turnover in the coming months? You might be looking for someone that has been really successful in the past with team-building and creating a positive culture and staff retention,” Moore said. “You want to be able to articulate these needs and look for someone who can speak to that experience.”

Having coached Home Health and Hospice professionals on both sides of the interview process for nearly a decade, Moore is an advocate for fostering human connections in the interview. No matter what the outcome of the hiring cycle, authentic conversation is a powerful tool for creating lasting professional connections.

“As an interviewer, this may be your fourth or fifth candidate, but it may be the first discussion in years for your interviewee,” Moore said. “Being able to put both parties at ease with a more casual demeanor is a great way to get the best out of the interview process.”

We sat down with Moore to learn more about his tried and true advice for a healthy and successful interview.

As a candidate, what are some best practices for interviewing with an operator?

Prepare. You want to know who your interviewer is, what their background is, and how long they have been at the company. You also want to have a good sense of who the company is. Go on their website to get a feel for them. What is their culture? You want to make sure that you’re aligning yourself with the company in ways that are accurate.

Being able to go into an interview knowing what the role is, having a good idea of the company you’re interviewing with, and understanding what an ideal candidate would look like for them is key.

Quick Tips:

  • Visit LinkedIn. Explore who else works at the company.
  • Research your interviewer. Use LinkedIn and website biographies to learn more about your interviewer’s experience and how long they’ve been with the company.
  • Check out their website. A quick visit to the operator’s website can yield important information about their values and the vibe of the company.

How can candidates prepare for an interview?

A good way to deal with nerves before an interview is to focus on questions you want to have answered. You’re not just being interviewed, you’re interviewing them for your next position.

Go into it thinking, “I want to make sure this is a good fit for me.” Have questions prepared before you go into the interview — I even recommend writing them down. If it’s a Zoom interview, which is really common now, have a notepad next to your computer.

When you’re leaving the interview, you should feel like you really understand what they’re looking for. You want to leave excited about the role.

Questions to Ask Your Interviewer:

  • What would success in this role look like six months from now?
  • What would success in this role look like one year from now?
  • Is there room for growth from this role to a regional,VP, or C-suite role?
  • What is the practicality of moving into that role?
  • What kind of performance would lead to the next career stage here?

Make sure that you are answering questions clearly and following up with your own questions as they’re being asked. Whenever they ask you a question, you should take that chance to be able to follow up with your own. Choose something that’s going to be an easy transition. You’ll learn more about the role and have direction for what to do in the interview setting.

Here’s an example: “I was at this position for this amount of time and was able to have these successes. I’m curious about this role — what would you see as being a success in six months?”

How can operators prepare to conduct an interview?

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in this specific role. There are key checklist items that you’re obviously going to be looking for — someone that’s responsible, timely, and so on. But you should come prepared knowing what the role is going to require.

Come prepared with statistics on staff retention, turnover, year-over-year growth, and more. This will help you ask for specific instances in the candidate’s career that are similar to what they would experience in the office. For example, you might ask, “What have you done in the past to deal with a difficult manager? How have you resolved conflict?”

When you come to the interview knowing exactly what the role requires, you can help the candidate look forward to potential obstacles and challenges and ensure they’re equipped to handle them.

Questions the Interviewer Should Ask Their Team

  • What territory will this role cover?
  • What shape is the facility or office that they will be running in?
  • Have past employees in this role had success?
  • What kind of turnover have you experienced?
  • Are you looking for someone to help build your team or someone to support an existing team?

What are best practices for a Microsoft Teams or Zoom interview?

Look directly at the camera lens — it gives the illusion of eye contact, which creates a feeling of more familiarity.

During a panel interview, you may not be sure who’s asking a question or who to direct your answer to. If your eyes are moving around the screen, it may come off a bit shifty. Instead, choose one focus point — I usually recommend the camera lens.

For operators, we often see interviewers who don’t have their cameras on. So, you’ve got a candidate that is set up, has their camera on, and has put themselves together — but is talking to just a voice. While that’s perfectly fine for company meetings, I recommend having the camera on for interviews. It helps put both parties at ease. Plus, you’ll get the best version of the interview.

Having your camera on is a great way to give the other person a snapshot of your personality. Allow yourself to be warm and shed light on who you are.

How should the interviewer wrap up an interview?

Always open up the floor for other questions from the candidate: “Is there anything that we haven’t discussed that you wanted to touch base on? Do you have any questions for me? Is there anything that you feel like we haven’t covered that you would want to know before moving forward?”

Let them know how many steps remain in the process, when you’ll be touching base with your team, and when they can expect to hear from you about a follow-up interview.

I think it’s a great idea to ask the candidate how they’re feeling about the opportunity or if they have any reservations about it. Do they have a timeline in mind? It’s important to get a sense of where they are in the process.

Perhaps this is their first interview with you, but they might already have a third interview for another operator. Make sure that you’re on the same page. If this is somebody that you want to move forward with, you want to be able to do so quickly.

How should a candidate wrap up the interview?

Once you can tell things are kind of winding down — they might be asking if you have any other questions that you have — ask for a clear next step.

Let them know that you’re really interested in the opportunity. Ask what the timeline looks like for the remainder of the interview process. Here’s an example: “Thank you all for taking the time to meet with me. What would be the next step in the interview process?”

Pro Tip: Write a Thank You Note

  • Send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.
  • Look at the calendar invite from the interview and gather the emails of your interviewers — otherwise use LinkedIn.
  • Send a note thanking them for the opportunity and reiterating that you’re excited about the role.
  • Keep the note to two or three sentences.

When should operators follow up with a candidate after the interview?

If you’re deliberating with your co-workers about things the candidate said, and you’re not sure about what they meant — follow up. Set up an additional phone call that is a bit more casual, and say, “Hey, I have a couple of follow up questions.”

It’s always good to be able to gain clarity, but be cautious of wearing them out with your interview process. If you can wait until the next interview, that’s great.

Additionally, following up with a candidate to get a better sense of where they’re at with the opportunity is always a good idea.

From Home Health and Hospice industry trends to women in Senior Living leadership and beyond, Full Spectrum Search Group is in constant conversation with the industries it serves. To read more insights from Full Spectrum’s recruiting experts, visit our blog.

To connect with Joshua Moore, CEO Maxwell McNamara, and the rest of the Full Spectrum team, visit Full Spectrum Search Group.

If you’re interested in learning more about Full Spectrum Search Group and retaining an executive search firm for your hiring needs, connect with Full Spectrum Search Group.