9 questions to ask to assess cultural fit in the healthcare industry

17 Apr 2024 by Chris Hunter

The healthcare industry is one of the most dynamic and challenging sectors, where the need for skilled professionals goes hand in hand with the necessity for team members who resonate with the organisation's culture and values. Here, we talk to Referoo Director Chris Hunter about balancing the two and the critical role of reference checking.

9 questions to ask to assess cultural fit in the healthcare industry

"Talent acquisition in this field isn't just about filling positions. It's about finding the right balance between expertise and cultural fit – a critical combination that can significantly impact the quality of patient care and the overall workplace environment," Hunter says.

He adds that while all healthcare talent acquisition teams are well aware of this, in theory, talent shortages pose an additional challenge.

"Healthcare teams must move fast but also tread carefully, so it can be a tricky balance. The stakes can be, and often are, incredibly high. Even in roles that don't include direct patient interface, there may be access to patient information or influence over processes that impact vulnerable people. It's a space where values alignment and cultural fit are critical," he says.

Hunter points to online reference checking as a critical tool in balancing speed and assessing cultural fit. 

"Referoo revolutionises this aspect by making reference checks not only thorough but also efficient. The automation of reaching out to references and collecting responses means that recruiters can quickly gather deep insights into a candidate's potential cultural fit without the cumbersome, time-consuming processes traditionally associated with manual reference checking."

Look for patterns

Hunter says one key advantage of online reference checking over phone options is the ability to analyse data and look for patterns.

"With an online reference checking tool, you can read the references verbatim rather than relying on your notes from a phone call. This enables you to look for patterns and consistencies in how they describe the candidate's interactions, problem-solving approaches and adherence to professional ethics, offering a clearer view of the candidate's potential alignment with your culture."

Ask targeted questions

Online reference checking gives you time to plan your questions and ensures you ask every referee the same questions, phrased in the same way.

Hunter points to some specific cultural alignment questions that can work well, including:

  • Can you give an example of how the candidate demonstrated integrity in their work?
  • What core value do you think drives the candidate in their work? How does this manifest in their day-to-day activities?
  • How does the candidate handle situations that may challenge their ethics or go against their principles?

He adds that asking about two other areas can be telling in the cultural fit space, too. First up is teamwork and social skills. 

"Even if the person won't be working in a team in your role, understanding how they relate to others can be telling," Hunter says.

According to Hunter, some specific questions that can work well include:

  • Could you describe the candidate's approach to teamwork and collaboration?
  • Can you provide an example of how the candidate dealt with a conflict within a team setting?
  • How would you describe the candidate's communication style?

And secondly, adaptability and change management. Consider asking questions like:

  • How does the candidate respond to new challenges or changes in the workplace?
  • Can you describe a situation where the candidate had to learn something outside their comfort zone?
  • How does the candidate deal with feedback or criticism?

Assessing cultural fit is a nuanced process beyond verifying qualifications and work experience. Referoo is committed to helping healthcare organisations navigate talent acquisition with fast, secure, high-quality online reference checks.

But don't just take our word for it – see it in action for yourself with a full, unlimited 14-day trial at https://www.referoo.com/try-referoo/.