Rick Kennedy, senior human resources business partner at Nemours Children's Hospital, concedes that he was a little leery when the idea of bringing parents into the interview process was first put forward.
"As an HR guy, yes, at the beginning I had a little anxiety. These are not folks with a lot of experience with interviewing," he says.
Nemours designed a two-hour interview skills program and brought in parents for training so they could be more comfortable asking the questions and better assess the candidates for leadership positions.
"We wanted to make sure they had some understanding of what is an appropriate question, how you structure it, and what are the inappropriate questions we want to stay away from," Kennedy says. "But having sat in on numerous interviews of candidates with the parents never once have I cringed or said 'Let's take a time out.' If I put a trained and experienced mom or dad in front of a leadership candidate I have no anxiety that they will do the right thing and ask the right questions."
The families on the advisory panel came with different backgrounds and experiences. "Some had business experience and had done interviews before, and others had never sat on the side of the table with the interviewers. They had been interviewees," Kennedy says.