Lessons from Google: 4 ways to improve radiology hiring practices

Hiring quality employees is central to any field and especially in radiology where lives can be on the line. Authors of a new article published in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology took hiring practices used at Google and applied them to help improve the process in radiology.

“Hiring in radiology is often a collaborative process accomplished by the director, faculty, trainees and coordinators,” wrote Hardik U. Shah, MD, department of radiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues. “While the traditional process of hiring may serve the intended purpose to a great extent, tried and tested techniques from innovative organizations such as Google may be of value to consider.”

Below are four practices found to be effective at Google that can also be used in radiology:

1. Interviews should be structured

Structured interviews are those in which a candidate is asked a specific set of questions that have been agreed upon by the interviewing committee. The goal being a candidates assessment is a result of their performance, not the questions.

For example, ask about such things as what they anticipate doing in the first year of the job or what motivated them to interview. This structure results in increased predictive validity (how likely test scores predict future performance) compared to unstructured interviews.

The number of interviews per candidate is also important. Google found each interview beyond the 4th produces a marginal increase (less than one percent) in “decision accuracy” and isn’t worth conducting. Interviews should last about 30 minutes each.

“Experienced interviewers can make an informed decision in the first few minutes, and thus interviews lasting more than 30 minutes often yield little further helpful information,” the authors wrote.

2. Interviewer feedback should happen quick

Interviewers should submit feedback within 48-72 hours after the interview, while impressions are still fresh.

Using generic phrases such as ‘seems smart’ or ‘ambitious’ may not add much when choosing a candidate. Specific examples should be provided from the interview to demonstrate why a candidate may be a good fit.

Additionally, a standardized scoring system, with well-defined criteria may be helpful in avoiding misunderstanding. For example, a 4 may indicate the candidate should be selected, but must be understood by the hiring group before interviews begin.

3. Incentivize interviewers

Interviewers are perhaps the most important part to the interview process, and should be incentivized to do so.

“Interviewing should be a privilege, not a chore so that interested people want to interview more and quality improves across the board,” the authors wrote.

Faculty who wish to interview should receive coverage in the reading room during the entire process. Providing extra funds to purchase educational material on interviewing should also be encouraged.

4. Predictive analytics

Radiology is no stranger to predictive analytics. And retrospectively applying such methods is a good way to sort out good interviewers.

For example, when using a scoring system, scores given by interviewers can be charted against the selected candidates over a period of years. Those with the most consistent relationship between scores and candidate performance could reveal your best interviewers.

“A workforce of great people not only does great work, but attracts more high performers,” Shah et al. concluded. “Improvements in hiring practices lead the way to better hires who are happier and more successful in their new roles and who are less likely to leave after a short duration.”