South Florida Hospital News
Friday May 14, 2021

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November 2015 - Volume 12 - Issue 5


When It Comes to Patient Care, Hire for the Things You Can’t Train

I love building teams! It is always neat when you have the opportunity to hire, train and develop a team. When a team you helped build is successful, the sense of pride everyone experiences is awesome. People seem to always inquire about my hiring approach. Typically when building a team, I hire from very diverse professional backgrounds. In many cases, these individuals, literally have zero experience in the specific job for which we are hiring. Despite questions like, “we’re hiring who to do what?!?”, generally speaking the teams we put together perform and achieve success. Although certain basic criteria need to be met (education level, experience etc…), I typically hire on three basic criteria: Leadership, Character and Potential. When asked why, I simply reply, “Those things are very tough to teach.” People are generally leaders, or they are not. People either have character or they don’t. People can generally grow with an organization or they can’t. We can teach them almost everything about the job, but the other stuff is difficult.
When it comes to patient care, your organization should also be hiring for the things you can’t teach. If you want a happy, empathetic, enthusiastic team, than hire people with those kinds of characteristics. Seems simple, but there are so many organizations who simply don’t do it. Again, it is really hard to teach someone to be happy or enthusiastic. Recently, I learned of a two on one hiring process where one person asks the candidates the typical technical / resume questions while the other looks for those things they can’t teach. For example, Is the person smiling? How many times do they make eye contact? Was the person positive throughout the meeting? At the end of the day we are leaders, not alchemists. Figure out the things that, no matter how good your training and orientation is, you simply cannot train. You will be well on your way to building the type of organization which can deliver an exceptional patient experience.

Jay Juffre is Vice President, South East Region / National Service Director, ImageFIRST. For more information on ImageFIRST, call 1-800-932-7472 or visit

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