Often when you use the standard interview questions, taken from hundreds of “how-to” books, you never quite get the answers that you really need to know if someone is a good fit for the Patient Access front-line role.
They have to be compassionate employees that care about their patients, but not so soft-hearted that they shy away from having conversations with their patients regarding payments that may be due at the time of service. They have to be team players but at the same time be able to work alone with little guidance (especially in those de-centralized locations).
First rule of thumb is to never ask “yes or no” questions but rather open-ended questions that get them to talking about their experiences and feelings about work. Here are some questions that might be helpful to identify applicants that could or could not be a good fit for Patient Access.
1. Has there been a time that you participated on a team? In school or in the workplace? If so, tell me about how you felt when the team won? How did you feel when the team lost or the team didn’t make a deadline or project completion?
If you find excitement in their voice about their experience with teams, whether they won or not, then they may enjoy the team experience that comes from working alongside others in a Patient Access Department. But if they complain about their team experience, or complain about the coach, or referees, or about fairness issues, then they may not be a good fit for your team.
2. Has there been a time when you were asked to sell something, such as Girl Scout cookies or magazines for a fundraiser? How did you do? Did you do this as a kid or as a parent? Did you get excited thinking about who you could sell to or did you leave it for your mom or not sell anything at all?
This will give you some indication as to whether or not they are comfortable with asking patients for money. Explore how they feel if they tell you they didn’t like it. Be careful of hiring registrars that don’t like asking for money or hate to hear the word “no” who are required to ask for co-pays.
3. Tell me what a perfect day at a job would be like for you. Pretend that we hire you and describe to me what would you expect to make it perfect.
Even though they may not be familiar with your hospital/clinic, you can get some clues as to what they perceive as a pleasing environment. If you can’t make your position/role come close to being their dream, then it may be hard to keep them happy!