WPG Spring Seminar 2019: Selection and Recruitment Issues within Healthcare

Work Psychology Group’s (WPG) Spring seminar celebrated the publication of Selection and Recruitment in the Healthcare Professions, which is co-edited by WPG Director, Professor Fiona Patterson. Hosted at WPG’s London office, a full audience and a packed agenda made for a highly engaging evening of insightful presentations and thought-provoking discussions.

Senior professionals from the healthcare sector came together to explore some of the latest advancements and challenges to selection and recruitment in the field. Professor Fiona Patterson opened the evening and we also heard from co-editor Lara Zibarras, and contributors Angela Kubacki, Sandra Nicholson, Maire Kerrin, Eamonn Ferguson, as well as WPG Senior Consultant, Victoria Roe.

Topics included the use of new technology in selection – such as asynchronous (one-way) pre-recorded video interviews; coaching issues associated with standardised tests; diversity and widening access to healthcare education and professions; and the use of selection data to inform early educational interventions.

Diversity remains a hot topic in relation to selection within healthcare, with much of the discussion focusing on the impact of alternative approaches to addressing diversity, and the ongoing challenges associated with their implementation.  At a strategic level, many were keen to explore how far the broader culture and structure of the healthcare sector influences the extent to which well-intended diversity measures achieve their aims. This made some of us in the WPG team reflect on how the culture in other sectors and industries might also influence their success in implementing diversity measures.

Other thoughts emerging from the discussions included:

  • Confidence in the fairness of selection decisions is paramount – differential attainment and the nature of performance differences in selection remains an area in need of ongoing investigation.
  • The context-dependent nature of selection methods means consideration must be given more broadly to organisational culture, in order to determine the effectiveness of such methods within the system in which they are used and in achieving the aims intended.
  • Beyond the selection process, there is a need for further research to understand the availability and value of in-training support mechanisms – what resources are available and what impact do they have on performance, particularly within a diverse workforce?
  • Within healthcare, selection processes differ between specialities presenting opportunities for learning – decisions about how candidates are ranked as part of selection can have significant implications in some contexts, e.g. GP recruitment – ensuring the effectiveness of selection methods requires an understanding of the decision making processes associated with their implementation.
  • Do the practical benefits (e.g. convenience, accessibility) associated with the increasing use of technology in selection, including in a healthcare context, outweigh any potential adverse impact (e.g. for candidates who may be less technically-savvy)?

Whilst this seminar – and the book – related specifically to the healthcare sector, WPG specialises in assessment for selection and development across a range of sectors, including Banking and Manufacturing.  Many of the insights and case studies featured in the book (available for purchase here) have relevance in a wider context; we would welcome discussions or seminars with other industries, so please do get in touch if these issues strike a chord in your workplace.