Top skill you should look for? Service

Just because someone has ample experience with your specific admission/discharge/transfer system, that experience doesn't necessarily make them a good fit for a patient access position in your department, warns Brian Sauders, manager of patient access services at Indiana University Health North Hospital in Carmel and Indiana University Health Saxony Hospital in Fishers.

"The no. 1 priority should be whether the applicant demonstrates, has demonstrated in previous roles, or shows the ability to demonstrate high-quality customer service," he says.

To determine this ability, Sauders asks applicants behavioral-based questions, such as, "Please describe your most memorable experience trying to work with an individual or group you didn't mesh with." "The key is that we are looking for an actual, specific encounter from their past," he says. "If the applicant's answer is more hypothetical, we redirect them to a real situation they have had in the past."

Sauders listens for red flags in the applicant's answers that indicate he or she doesn't possess good customer service skills. "These include signs that the applicant is reluctant to change, avoids teamwork, has difficulty prioritizing tasks, or is unwilling to help others," he says.