Two of the best hiring decisions he ever made in patient access “had absolutely zero healthcare experience,” says Bob Stearnes, CHFP, CHAM, a patient access leader who is based in Dallas.
One applicant worked at a customer service call center for a rental car company. Stearnes asked this question: “Can you tell me about a time when something was going bad and you made it right?” The applicant told a story about an irate customer whose promised vehicle was unavailable. She went to her manager with an “out-of-the-box” idea: to rent the vehicle two doors down from a competitor, so that the customer would get what he was entitled to.
Another applicant’s previous job was at a fast food restaurant. She recounted a time when a regular customer ordered a side item that wasn’t on the menu. She knew the restaurant next door had it, so she bought it to go and put it on his plate. “That’s the kind of people we need in patient access,” says Stearns.
He weighs real-life customer service encounters far more heavily than sugar-coated claims applicants make about themselves. “When applicants say, ‘I’m a people person,’ it sounds like a canned response,” says Stearnes. “It really does not tell hiring managers a lot.”