Best Practices for Employers to Conduct a Successful Virtual Interview in Integrative and Functional Medicine

Integrative and Functional Medicine practices have proven their resiliency by rapidly pivoting to telehealth in order to provide patients with the personalized approach to patient care we desperately need in these unprecedented times.  As we begin to understand and adapt to our new way of existence, medical clinics will also have to pivot to different hiring practices.  

Patient demand will increase for holistic medicine that takes a patient-centered approach, and with that, hiring for Integrative and Functional Medicine will increase. It’s important for employers to get this new hiring process right.  

A medical practice in this field has to be prepared to screen candidates for patient-centered skills through virtual interviews effectively.  They must also virtually show case their job opportunity and their practice.  An organization’s culture and brand have a significant impact on a candidate’s decision to accept a position.

A virtual interview should still possess the same formality and attention as an in-person interview.  You’re giving the candidate a lasting impression of your practice, screening for critical skills for this field, and setting the tone for how you would want them to conduct a virtual visit with a patient.  

Here are 4 best practices to help you conduct an engaging and effective virtual interview in Integrative, Functional and Lifestyle Medicine.

1. Clear and Timely Communication with the Candidate

Prior to the interview the candidate should receive a comprehensive email that includes the video platform information, interview schedule, and a list of the attendees with titles. It’s important to set a professional tone with clarity and organization, and not set a scene that is more casual because it’s virtual.  As we shift to virtual business operations, it’s imperative to demonstrate that you continue to operate with efficiency and professionalism. 

If you’re requesting that candidates present a case study, they should be given adequate time to prepare with specific instructions for the presentation and the allotted time included in the agenda. Setting clear expectations with a detailed schedule will represent your business well. 

Everything you do in the interview process is a reflection of your practice, expectations, and management style.  Put your best forward and ensure a positive candidate experience. Show through example that your organization is a great place to work.

2. Develop an Organized Interview Process with Strong Interview Questions

It’s your responsibility to make sure the interview is organized, engaging, and effective. With proper planning prior, you’ll set a stage for a professional and natural conversation that uncovers the evidence you’re seeking.

When structuring the interview, determine who will open the meeting, make the introductions, and explain the interview process. They should be experienced in conducting virtual meetings and have a professional yet personable approach so that the candidate feels at ease from the beginning. A natural conversation with authenticity and professionalism is key to a successful interview, and you have to be able to do this through video.

Develop interview questions that uncover a skill or competency essential to perform the position.  Questions that will require the candidate to prove effective communication, empathy and clinical expertise in the field will be instrumental in your vetting process.  Design questions that will require them to demonstrate how they will communicate with patients through Telehealth.

In this field, it’s important to evaluate the candidate’s ability to make a personal connection through the camera and communicate effectively with proper eye contact and voice tone.  All skills that are critical to a successful virtual patient interaction in personalized medicine.  This should be included in your evaluation form if the position requires virtual meetings or Telehealth. 

3. Train the Hiring Team

All staff involved in the interview process must be informed and educated.  In this article I discuss common interview mistakes employers make in this field, and the first one listed is failure to prepare.  I can’t emphasize enough how important preparation before the meeting is. 

Following are key points to cover with the interview team to ensure they are prepared. 

Distraction Free Environment.  Interviewers must attend the meeting from a space that reflects professionalism and is free from distractions.  One of the worst images that can come across is that your team is unfocused or distracted.  This field requires sharp focus and attention.  In addition, being distracted is disrespectful to the candidate who has taken the time to prepare for the meeting and talk with you.  

I’ve received candidate complaints regarding employers who looked at their phone and texted repeatedly during an interview, and about an employer who didn’t bother to close the office door when the kids were crying and the dog was barking. Those are all preventable distractions.  When opening the meeting you could mention that you’ll be taking notes so they don’t misread your actions when looking away from the camera to capture their responses.  

They’ll see how you manage this meeting as an example of your expectation for them in conducting virtual meetings and Telemedicine.  How a company manages a meeting is reflective of their organization, productivity, and professionalism. 

Dress professionally.  Interviewers should be in the same clothing they would wear if the interview were onsite – from head to toe.  Remember, you’re trying to treat this as a normal in-person interview.  You don’t want to risk having to standup in the interview and revealing your pajama bottoms.

Test the Technology. You want to present as a practice that operates Telehealth successfully and that you’re competent with technology. Interviewers must be familiar with the video platform and have tested it out prior as well as their internet connection.  Don’t waste valuable time in the interview with technical issues.  

A few minutes of practice can make a big difference in establishing a good connection in more ways than one.  

Informed of Process. A virtual training meeting with the hiring team is good practice for the interviews.  In the meeting, review the interview questions and candidate feedback form.  The interviewers must understand what they’re screening for and how candidates will be ranked to ensure consistency and in gathering useful, factual information.  Also, using the same set of questions and candidate feedback form will help to keep your process compliant.  

Instruct the interviewers to review the candidate’s CV and phone screen notes prior to the call. This is imperative to an effective interview that makes the best use of the interview time and uncover the critical information you need to make a hiring decision. 

And remind the team that when there are several people attending a virtual meeting, you should wait a couple of seconds for a break in the conversation before speaking.  This prevents interruptions that lead to a disrupted flow. 

4. Create Innovative Ways to Showcase the Company 

Employers must put effort into creating innovative ways to portray their work environment and culture.  As I mentioned in this article, your brand is one of the best assets you have to market your medical practice in this field.  And when the process is completely virtual, candidates can have a difficult time determining if the workplace conditions and the energy of the practice are a good fit. A little creativity will go a long way in recruitment efforts.  

Consider developing virtual tour videos of the practice, recording interviews of employees and asking about their role, their background, or what they like about working at your practice.  These videos can give candidates a better sense of your work environment and culture, and will set you apart from the competition.   

These practices will help you to pivot your hiring efforts and adapt to a virtual recruitment process that is effective in selecting top talent and presenting your practice as an employer of choice.   

At Integrated Connections, we help you source the perfect candidate for your practice. You can inquire about our recruitment services and job board at www.integratedconnects.com.  

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