Shorten the Hiring Process

The MA Department of Correction (DOC) has a contract with Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. under which Spectrum delivers various programs to offenders throughout the state prison system. This situation provides an illustrative example of using shortening the hiring process.

There were 93 full-time positions in the DOC contract with Spectrum. When positions became vacant, Spectrum had 30 days to fill them. After 60 days, the DOC could assess a penalty for each day the position was vacant, retroactive to the 31st day of vacancy.

  • Certain positions are more difficult to fill (for example, positions at the maximum security facility, or positions whose hours are 1pm-9pm)
  • Given the challenges of working in a correctional environment, finding the right person can be difficult.
  • Often, candidates wait several weeks and upwards of one month before being officially hired, for multiple reasons:
    • All new employees under the contract must attend a DOC run New Employee Orientation (NEO) prior to working in any of the facilities (there are 6 positions that can start with limited activities). This training happens once per month in only two locations in the state.
    • A DOC background check must be completed.
    • Second interviews are difficult to schedule due to limited availability of DOC staff.
  • Some candidates were withdrawing before the hiring process completed.

After a discussion using Nominal Group Technique, the two Associate Directors and Quality Improvement Manager decided to look at three areas related to these challenges:

  • Inefficiency of the process on Spectrum’s end
  • Candidate lack of knowledge about the positions
  • Training of supervisors in charge of interviewing and hiring.

Through work of the QI Manager and a walk-through conducted with Human Resources identified specific inefficiencies:

  • Resumes received are sometimes not of high enough quality (the sources of resumes should be checked)
  • Unscreened resumes are sometimes forwarded, so staff lose time on unqualified candidates
  • Resumes are sometimes reviewed by both the Associate Directors and other areas of Spectrum, causing duplicated effort
  • There is no way to catch when people apply for more than one open position, which is frequent, so the duplication of resumes will happen.
  • Open positions are only removed from the job postings when HR is notified. (Staff had thought HR would remove job postings when new hire paperwork was generated.)
  • HR requires notification to post open positions. (Staff had thought that HR posts openings when a change of status comes through and an exit interview is done on an employee who is leaving).
  • The management team for the DOC contract was informed of HR’s process for posting positions and screening resumes.
  • A process was initiated to develop basic job postings for each position, with enough detail in them that candidates will better understand what it is they are applying for. More detailed descriptions were used for newly created positions immediately; descriptions for existing positions had to be reviewed before being changed.
  • Posting of salary ranges on external job descriptions
  • Creation and utilization of a Hiring Committee that completes the interview process instead of leaving it to inexperienced program supervisors
  • Implementation of a 2-day training for recent hires, on providing treatment in the DOC