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Tips for Hiring the Right Candidate for Your Histology Team

By: Pam Barker, RELIA Solutions


Hiring a histology professional presents a unique set of challenges like the ongoing shortage of qualified professionals, getting the right combination of experience and licensure and finding the right candidate who fits into your lab staff.

The current economy presents a unique opportunity for you to hire the right individuals for your labs and there are several reasons for this. First of all, you have a larger candidate pool. In the past few months I have seen a shift from a histotechs having several jobs to choose from to multiple histotechs competing for a single opening. Secondly, it also seems that the urgency to fill positions has also lessened.

I would like to help you capitalize on this situation by offering a few tips on hiring the right candidate for your lab.

Consider Your Sources:

  • Most labs and hospitals have employee referral programs. Encourage your current employees to refer friends. It is great to have a new employee that is endorsed by a current employee who is going to help that new employee get acclimated to the lab.

  • If your lab isn’t too hectic, consider hiring a new graduate from a histology school. They are enthusiastic, eager to learn and have some hands on experience.

  • Travelers- Do you have any travelers you might want to offer a permanent position to?

Get involved with Human Resources:

  • Don’t wait for them to pass you resumes. Help them out by posting the jobs on histonet, NSH's Career Center, and if you are on Facebook or Linkedin you can post your jobs in some of the groups you belong to on those sites (where allowed).

  • Get Involved! Ask your HR rep what boards they are using to advertise the positions and check the boards yourself. Does the job posting look accurate?

  • Help out! If your HR rep is doing a prescreening interview, suggest some interview questions and provide the answers you are looking for.

Using a Recruiting Firm to assist you in filling your position.

Work with your Human Resources Department to find the recruiting firm that is right for assisting you. Here are some guidelines for finding the right recruiting firm for you.

  • How do they find candidates? A good recruiting firm will give you passive candidates. Passive candidates are candidates that are not necessarily actively looking for a new position. If you check the job postings on job boards and find that the recruiting firm is posting your positions on the same sites that your HR department is using then are they really helping you or competing with you?

  • Do they have experience with recruiting in histology? Do they understand what a histotech does, what licensure is required and what qualities both technically and personally make a great histotech? A lot of Information Technology, Engineering and Radiology Recruiters are taking on histology jobs because they don’t have any jobs within their specialties to fill. Do they really understand your needs or are they really working for you or is your company potentially paying a fee to someone who is sending resumes that have a few keywords on them?

  • Do they understand the characteristics of this position that makes it unique to your lab and do they tell their candidates the name of your facility, the shift and the requirements of the job before they send the resume.

  • Are they taking the time, not only to screen the candidates, but also to discuss in detail the position at your lab and what it would be like to work there? Or are they just sending you a resume because the candidate is interested in working in your geographic area and is ASCP certified?

The key takeaway here is work with your HR department to make sure that the recruiting firm is providing the service that your company is paying for.

In conclusion, you have the opportunity to enrich and supplement your Human Resources department’s search for a histotech for your lab. The more involved you are the better opportunity you have to make a great hire!

Pam Barker is a recruiting professional with over 25 years of experience and the President of RELIA Solutions a national permanent placement firm specializing in the Histology profession.

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The National Society for Histotechnology is a professional member organization for individuals actively involved in the histology profession. NSH has over 3,000 members worldwide, and is the leading provider of histology focused continuing education.  

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