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5 Key Skills to Look for in Healthcare Candidates: A Guide for Recruiters

5 Key Skills to Look for in Healthcare Candidates: A Guide for Recruiters

Healthcare professional

Recruiting skilled and competent healthcare professionals is crucial for ensuring the delivery of high-quality patient care and maintaining the success of healthcare organizations. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, with new challenges and advancements requiring healthcare professionals to possess a diverse set of skills. As a recruiter in the healthcare field, identifying candidates with the right skill set is essential to building a capable and effective healthcare workforce.

While technical qualifications and experience are significant, certain key skills go beyond academic credentials and can significantly impact a candidate’s ability to excel in a healthcare role. In this guide, we will explore five key skills that recruiters should look for when evaluating healthcare candidates. These skills encompass both technical and soft skills, each of which plays a vital role in ensuring the success of healthcare professionals and the organizations they serve.

1. Clinical Competence

Clinical competence is a foundational skill that is essential for healthcare candidates across various disciplines, such as doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and medical technicians. It refers to the candidate’s proficiency in performing clinical tasks, making accurate diagnoses, and providing effective treatments.

Key Indicators of Clinical Competence:

  • Medical Knowledge: A candidate’s depth of medical knowledge and understanding of the latest research, treatment protocols, and medical guidelines.
  • Technical Proficiency: Demonstrated ability to use medical equipment and technology effectively and safely.
  • Critical Thinking: The capacity to analyze complex medical situations, consider multiple variables, and arrive at well-informed decisions.
  • Patient-Centered Care: A commitment to delivering patient-centered care, focusing on the individual needs and preferences of patients.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: The ability to handle medical emergencies and respond to unexpected challenges effectively.

2. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Effective communication is at the heart of patient care and successful collaboration among healthcare teams. Healthcare candidates with strong communication and interpersonal skills can build trust with patients, convey medical information clearly, and collaborate seamlessly with colleagues.

Key Indicators of Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Empathy: Demonstrated ability to understand and connect with patients on an emotional level, showing compassion and empathy.
  • Active Listening: The capacity to actively listen to patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals to understand their concerns and perspectives fully.
  • Clear and Concise Communication: Ability to explain medical information in a clear and jargon-free manner that patients and non-medical staff can understand.
  • Conflict Resolution: The skill to handle conflicts and disagreements with professionalism and tact, ensuring effective resolution.
  • Cultural Competency: An understanding and appreciation of cultural differences, enabling effective communication with patients from diverse backgrounds.

3. Adaptability and Resilience

The healthcare industry is dynamic and can present unexpected challenges, from rapidly evolving medical treatments to high-pressure situations. Candidates who demonstrate adaptability and resilience can thrive in such environments and continue to provide quality care under changing circumstances.

Key Indicators of Adaptability and Resilience:

  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt quickly to new protocols, technologies, and work environments.
  • Stress Management: Demonstrated capability to handle stress and maintain composure during high-pressure situations.
  • Continuous Learning: A willingness to engage in ongoing learning and professional development to stay updated with advancements in the medical field.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Aptitude for finding creative solutions to challenges and effectively navigating unexpected situations.
  • Team Collaboration: The capacity to work collaboratively with different healthcare professionals to achieve common goals.

4. Leadership and Decision-Making

Leadership skills are essential not only for formal leadership roles but also for healthcare professionals who take charge of patient care and guide interdisciplinary teams. Effective decision-making is critical for ensuring patient safety and delivering efficient care.

Key Indicators of Leadership and Decision-Making Skills:

  • Initiative: A proactive approach to identifying and addressing issues, taking the lead in patient care when necessary.
  • Clinical Judgment: The ability to make sound clinical judgments based on available information and patient assessments.
  • Delegation: Skill in delegating responsibilities appropriately within the healthcare team.
  • Patient Advocacy: Demonstrated commitment to advocating for patients’ rights and needs.
  • Ethical Decision-Making: A strong sense of ethical responsibility in making medical decisions.

5. Teamwork and Collaboration

Healthcare is a highly collaborative field that requires seamless teamwork among different healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care. Candidates who excel in teamwork and collaboration contribute positively to a harmonious work environment and improved patient outcomes.

Key Indicators of Teamwork and Collaboration Skills:

  • Communication Skills: The ability to communicate effectively with team members, share information, and provide updates.
  • Respect for Diversity: A willingness to value and respect the diverse perspectives and expertise of team members.
  • Conflict Resolution: The ability to handle conflicts and disagreements constructively within the team.
  • Shared Decision-Making: Willingness to participate in shared decision-making processes with colleagues.
  • Supportive Behavior: Displaying supportive behavior and providing assistance to colleagues when needed.

In the healthcare industry, identifying candidates with the right skill set is crucial for building a competent and effective healthcare workforce. While technical qualifications and experience are important, recruiters should also prioritize key skills that go beyond academic credentials.

Clinical competence, communication and interpersonal skills, adaptability and resilience, leadership and decision-making, and teamwork and collaboration are five key skills that can significantly impact a candidate’s success in a healthcare role. Candidates who possess these skills are better equipped to deliver high-quality patient care, work effectively in a team, and navigate the dynamic and challenging healthcare environment.

Recruiters should use a combination of interviews, behavioral assessments, and reference checks to evaluate these key skills in potential healthcare candidates. By focusing on these critical skills, recruiters can help healthcare organizations build a talented and cohesive healthcare team that delivers exceptional patient care and contributes to the success and reputation of the organization.

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Frank A. Severino, Jr.

Director of Recruiting & Managing Partner

Born in Chicago, Frank moved to the Orlando area in 2012. As SMG Healthcare Recruiters Director of Recruiting, Frank works directly with the talented people we recruit as well as interacting with clients to ensure their needs are met and their expectations are surpassed. Frank feels blessed to have the opportunity to help build the family business and to be engaged in important work that plays to his professional and personal strengths. Frank says, “Helping people find gainful employment in an industry so full of passion for helping others is truly rewarding.” Like his father, Frank Jr. has experience working in behavioral healthcare in business development. In his leisure time, Frank Jr. coaches a nationally recognized high school baseball team in Winter Park, Florida. He also enjoys fishing, relaxing on the beach, cookouts and watching Chicago sports.

Michael Severino

COO & Managing Partner

Born in Woodridge, IL, Michael moved to Florida in 2014 and has been working with SMG Healthcare Recruiters since 2016. As COO, Michael helps see to SMG & Associates’ daily operations and ensures that clients get everything they need and more. One of his favorite parts of the job is working with people, especially helping candidates reach their highest potential. Michael considers himself extremely fortunate in having the chance to build the family business with his dad and brother, Frank Jr. Michael says, “I really enjoy working with my family. My father is my hero and being able to learn from him everyday is an opportunity that most people don’t have.” Michael currently lives in St. Cloud, FL with his wife and two bulldogs, Buca and Ozzie. In his down time, Michael enjoys boating and jet skiing. He is a technology enthusiast and is currently learning how to code in HTML, Javascript and LUA.

Frank B. Severino, Sr.

CEO & Senior Managing Partner

Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, Frank moved to Orlando, Florida in 2017. A founding member of SMG & Associates, he has been with the company since its very first day in 2019. Frank brings extensive experience in the Mental Health, Eating Disorder and Substance Abuse treatment field to SMG’s long list of strengths, working as the Executive VP of Business Development for RiverMend Health and as Regional Director for Lakeview Health. 

The move into healthcare recruiting seemed like fate to Frank as he has spent the bulk of his career working in either recruiting and staffing or mental health treatment. The decision to merge the two into the venture that became SMG Healthcare Recruiters came naturally. It allowed him to leverage his greatest strengths and provide truly exceptional service to the healthcare industry. 

Frank understands just how important filling positions with the right people is in the healthcare area because he’s seen the process from every angle. He lives in Sarasota, Florida with Karen, his wife of 38 years and is blessed to work with his sons, Frank and Michael in building SMG Healthcare Recruiters. His son Joseph has recently joined the firm and is learning the recruiting field as a candidate screener. Additionally, Frank leads our staffing company, “Pinnacle Staffing Resources”. He serves as an Advisory Board Member for the N.O.W. Matters More Foundation. He divides his free time between various passions including boating, fishing and golf and work with his church.