• Award-Winning Strategies for Interviewing Candidates: An Interview with SSM Health

    Posted by Lori Vrcan on September 7th, 2017



    When your organization ranks Number 6 as one of 100 winners in Glassdoor’s annual Candidates’ Choice Awards honoring the Best Places to Interview in 2017, you are clearly doing something right. That organization – SSM Health – received an impressive overall interview experience of 83%. SSM Health serves the needs of communities across the Midwest through one of the largest integrated delivery systems in the nation.

    “We received an overwhelmingly positive response from our candidates on their interview experiences, which is the result of hundreds of quality daily interactions between our candidates, recruiters, hiring managers and staff,” said Thomas Ahr, System Vice President of Talent for SSM Health. “Our commitment to providing an exceptional candidate experience parallels our commitment to providing an exceptional patient experience and employee experience at SSM Health.”

    Start with candidate prep

    According to Becki Feldmann, System Leader – Talent Management Systems & Technology at SSM Health, candidate preparation is a good first step. “We send an email to the candidate stating date, time and location of the interview, as well as the name of the person they will be interviewing with. We also send a link to directions to the interview location for easy access,” she said. “We are working to provide even more assistance to the candidate as they prepare for the interview, including format of interview, sample questions, overview of department/location, and who we are as an organization.”

    Keep candidates engaged

    “The candidate experience is so important to us at SSM Health,” said Feldmann. “We have publically shared our promise to candidates, which includes transparency, timely communication and feedback. We have also outlined the steps of our hiring process so that a candidate can walk through what to expect after they apply with us.”

    “We utilize our application tracking system workflow to move the candidate through the process and candidates can log in anytime to view their status in our hiring process.” Feldmann added, “After any interview, we always share the next steps of the process and timeline for when the candidate can expect to hear back from us. If a candidate is not advancing to the next step of the process, they will receive communication from the recruiter and sometimes an invitation to check out another opening in our organization that may be a better fit.”

    Help your hiring team bring on the best talent

    “We recently implemented a new interview program, ‘Hire for Fit,’ which includes a guide for both managers and peers who participate in interviews to help create an exceptional candidate experience,” said Feldmann. “The guide includes steps to prepare for the interview, how to handle the interview and also what to do after the interview. The tool is designed to help identify and select top talent for SSM Health – highlighting those candidates that demonstrate a cultural fit to our Mission and Values.”


    Reflect your culture during the interview

    “We have a strong culture here at SSM Health and our Values are evident in our hiring practices,” said Feldmann. “We strive to show respect, excellence, compassion, stewardship and community to all those we interact with, including our candidates!”

    Ensure candidates align with your values

    “We ask behavior-based interview questions that specifically support each of our 5 Values of Respect, Compassion, Excellence, Stewardship and Community,” said Feldmann. “We also ask the candidate in hearing our Mission and Values, how do they see themselves contributing at SSM Health?”

    Actions taken by SSM Health to enhance its interviewing and hiring practices include:

    • Actively collaborating with and listening to the needs of our internal and external customers
    • Publically sharing and living up to “Our Promise to Candidates”
    • Incorporating an interview self-scheduling tool for candidate convenience
    • Expanding use of texting program, enabling the talent team to better communicate with candidates during the hiring process and with new hires for onboarding follow-up
    • Offering online chat opportunities for applicants nationwide to interact with recruiters and hiring leaders in real time
    • Providing job seekers in the communities we serve with tips for interviewing, resume advice and more to aid them in their job search at SSM Health or other employers

    Want to learn more about the candidate experience? Download our Think Like a Candidate e-book now.


    Lori Vrcan

  • Subscribe to NAS Talent Talk