CXR Member Spotlight: Innovations in Interviewing

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How DaVita’s Interviewer Certification Program Changed Hiring Manager Habits While Improving Retention and Candidate Experience

Ineffective interviewing costs companies time, money and often good hires. When talent is plentiful, it is often a problem some companies are willing to overlook. However, when you’re looking at a talent shortage, the problem can become a huge deficit. In today’s labor market, it’s becoming more and more expensive to make a bad hire. Thus, it is no surprise that many companies are reviewing their interview procedures and looking to standardize the process.

CareerXroads Enterprise member DaVita saw that challenge and decided to tackle it head on. “We know from years of research that behavioral interviewing is a strong predictor of performance,” notes DaVita’s Senior Manager of Employment Strategy, Erica Drew (see graph below). “But in reality interviewing is very personal and changing habitual behavior is difficult – especially when you are talking about the behavior of 5000+ hiring managers.”

Graph highlighting importance of behavioral interviewing


Developing a behavioral interview program that would standardize the interview process and improve hiring decisions nationwide was a sizable challenge. At the start of this process, DaVita had existing behavioral interview tools that were cumbersome and underutilized. DaVita had also provided behavioral interview training for years, but it wasn’t enough to create change. Drew stated, “We realized pretty quickly that we needed to do more than best-demonstrated practice (BDP) sharing and quick training sessions. So we went back to the drawing board.”

In developing the process and training program, DaVita identified six main drivers that needed to be addressed:

  • Retention/Quality of Hire: An emphasis on evidence-based decision making was needed to improve retention and quality of hire. Bad hires are often a result of decisions that are based on feeling and judgments, instead of fact.
  • Consistency: To improve the quality of data collected in interviews, a clear, consistent process needed to be implemented. Standardization provides the opportunity for apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Tool Simplification: To make interviewing more accessible, DaVita took their original 21-page behavioral interview document and narrowed it to one page with four questions per interviewer.
  • Process Improvement: The interview process was boiled down to three steps: Prepare, Interview and Decide. “We realized the simpler we made the process, the easier it was to follow,” says Drew
  • Skills Training and Practice: Once the tools were launched, several managers provided feedback. They explained that they didn’t feel comfortable with behavioral interviewing. Specifically, they didn’t understand how to ask follow-up questions and use the data they collected to make decisions. Erica decided to go beyond previous trainings that focused on best-demonstrated practices (BDPs) and take a more tactical approach while providing an interactive learning experience. DaVita learned very quickly that simply creating a tool and delivering a training was not enough to make it stick.
  • Accountability: DaVita created a certification program that allows only interviewers who meet clearly defined expectations to get in front of candidates and make hiring decisions.


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