At City Health Works in Harlem, New York (New York City), we have developed an intensive screening process for hiring CHWs. We call our workers “health coaches”, but for clarity here, I’ll reference them as community health workers/CHWs. I’ll begin by sharing the hiring process we use and what attributes we look for in candidates. The documents attached offer more insight into our model. I look forward to learning what methods you’re using and discussing ways of addressing challenges that arise in CHW hiring.
We built our recruitment and selection process to identify candidates with what we consider to be the core competencies for health coaching, including: familiarity with the neighborhood the CHW will serve, capacity for motivational interviewing, empathic listening skills, adaptability/flexibility and organizational and time management skills. We require a minimum of a high school diploma/GED.
During the hiring process, we involve many people on staff, including our current CHWs. Our current CHWs have an essential perspective and expertise on the types of skill and personality that are necessary to be successful in the job. Including our CHWs in the process helps build pride, confidence and ownership.
We see value in the rigor of the hiring process as a way to demonstrate to candidates our organizational rigor, expectations of professionalism, and commitment to a positive team culture. At each stage, interviewers rate candidates in defined categories, which helps save time, maintain objectivity, and incorporate feedback from multiple sources.
Our process has four key steps:
1. Recruitment: We reach out to cultivated contacts at local workforce development and job training organizations, community colleges and universities, and community service organizations. Our contacts at these sites have a thorough understanding of the position and our organization, and they circulate the listing and can make personal referrals. We also post to local job boards and ask our current CHWs to share the listing with their networks and peers.
2. Interview 1: The Hiring Manager conducts the first interview to assess key requirements for role and fit with desired culture.
3. Interview 2: The Director of Health Coaching and Health Coach Supervisor conduct a second interview to assess basic math skills and scenarios to assess empathic listening skills and adaptability.
4. Interview 3: Current CHWs, the Director of Health Coaching and Health Coach Supervisor conduct a group interview to assess organizational fit and presentation, learning and communication skills. The group interview includes a brief role-play, and the candidate then has time to speak with current CHWs about the position and organization.
Link leads to: http://www.healthenvoy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Closing-the-Gap-Applying-Global-Lessons-Toward-Sustainable-Community-Health-Models-in-the-U.S..pdf
Link leads to: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/can-ordinary-citizens-help-fill-gaps-u-s-health-care/
Link leads to: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/11/24/365234329/an-african-village-inspires-a-health-care-experiment-in-new-york