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CW 114: Chris Heinz

Every senior living organization seems to be interviewing to fill positions. Candidates can go online and type in the phrase “how to prepare for an interview.” But there are few sources available to prepare the hiring team for the interview process. In this month’s episode from recruiting expert Chris Heinz, he shares several important steps for you and your team to be best prepared for interviewing and how to get great talent to accept your positions.

During our Mindset Moment, BTG Contributor Chris Heinz, Managing Partner of Westport One, talking about the power of dreaming big! A dream is not a to-do list but something you strive for.  It may seem out of reach, but dreams are always within your reach. Get inspired and start dreaming big!

Welcome to the Contributor Wednesday series on the Bridge the Gap Network. This series is sponsored by Peak Senior Living by Functional Pathways. Each week, you’ll hear from a thought leader, discussing topics that are relevant and impactful to the senior living industry.

Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. I’m Chris Heinz. Now, if you go online right now and type in the phrase, how to prepare for an interview, you will get thousands of articles on the subject. Most of these articles focus on some of the very basic elements of an interview. Primarily from the candidate’s perspective, be on time, ask good questions, dress professionally, research the company. Sound familiar, right? Now, I’m not suggesting that we overlook the basics, because many times candidates need some of these basics, perhaps they haven’t interviewed in a while. But unfortunately, most of these articles stop after covering these elements that are specifically driven for the candidate. 

As a talent advisor or recruiter that specializes in senior living leadership. I find that quite a bit of time is spent preparing the candidates for the interviews, but very limited time is spent preparing the people within the company who are doing the interviews. Our role in this space is to ensure that both sides are fully prepared. 

Now, if you recall, from a previous episode, you must remember that interviewing is a two way street. Just as much as you as the hiring manager are interviewing the candidates. Well, guess what? The candidate is also interviewing the hiring manager and of the same respect, the company. So let me ask, do you have a strategy session with your team involved in hiring in advance of the process, or are they doing it the same way they’ve always done it? Or at worst, I pray that they are not just winging it. 

So I’d like to help you right here right now, and being as prepared as possible for your next round of interviewing. Maybe the discussion will be simply to confirm that you and your team are amazing, and you already have prepared for everything. Maybe your team will learn one or two things that can have an immediate impact on the hiring and interviewing of your next potential candidate. Or maybe you’re gonna learn a whole lot. Let’s jump right in, shall we? 


If you ask those that are involved in the interviewing process, what’s your interviewing style and what type of questions do you ask? You might be amazed by what you learn. Many times, there may be a puzzled look on their face, simply by you asking the question. But these are both very valid questions. Do they actually know their style? Do they follow a structured interview process? Are they purely asking questions from a form? Do they ask more behavioral questions such as, tell me about a time when…? Do they stick with the old faithful questions of, tell me about yourself, or what are your strengths and weaknesses? Ensuring that the people doing the interviewing actually have a game plan for the interview is critical to either the success or failure of that interview.

Also remind your team that the candidate can be nervous. After all, it’s natural. So the quicker that they can break the ice and build a little rapport, the quicker the candidate will become more at ease and the interview will go much smoother. 

Next, let’s talk about a clearly defined process. As we talked about in a previous episode, having this clearly defined process is one of the keys to success in this hyper competitive market. If you don’t recall that info, I suggest you go back and listen to episode 92 that was played in February. 

Ensure that all the people involved know what this process is actually going to be. Far too many times only some of them know. You wanna ensure that there is a clear message on process. Even more important is that, you actually want to have a clearly defined process. 

Hint, hint it’s in the previously mentioned episode. Who’s involved, where, when, what will the steps be? Can any of these steps be combined together to expedite the process? Who will be making the offer, who has to approve the offer? The reality is processes of the past may not work in today’s market. You may need to remind your team that you need to move quickly to have a chance to get the candidate you want for the position. Having the mentality, “if we lose ’em, we lose ‘em,” will hurt you tremendously in these market conditions. There are very few reasons why an interview process should not be able to be completed in seven to 10 days. Anything beyond this timeframe will run the significant risk of losing good candidates.


Next, make sure that the people doing the interviewing are selling the opportunity, the company, and the culture. Remember, again, this is a two way interview. By doing so, you could help them be in a position to attract the talented professionals that they desire. Another minor, yet very important, part of the two way process is the reminder that everyone’s time is valuable. You expect the candidate to be on time for the interview, whether that be in person, by phone, via zoom. So make sure to give a friendly reminder to those doing the interview, that they should have the same respect for the candidate’s time as they do their own. 

As part of this two way interview process, communication with the candidate will help keep the candidate excited and engaged. This communication can be the difference in the entire process. No matter how clearly defined when a candidate understands what the process is and where they fit in, it is far more likely that they will want to continue. If they are in other processes, which they probably are, as long as they know the remaining steps with yours, they’ll be more likely to hold off on making a decision on the others so that they can make the best decision for themselves. Which hopefully means they’re accepting yours. 


Now let’s talk about the interview itself. As the leader of the process, and the one ensuring everyone is prepared and ready, consider coaching the interviewers to put the candidate into the best position, to show their best and ideal capabilities. Don’t go on the interview and try to trip them up. If there are particular things or discussion points that the prospective candidate should be prepared to discuss. Let them know this in advance, send them a quick email, shoot a quick text. This is a much more realistic situation. If they’re working within your company, rather than trying to spring something on them, that they wouldn’t be prepared for.


Wouldn’t you rather them to actually be prepared to have an intelligent and informed conversation rather than having them wing it. After the interview is completed, ensure that everyone involved knows who to share their feedback with. The reality is, the quicker, the feedback is shared, the quicker a decision could be made if the interviewed candidate should to the next step.  Iif two or three people were involved in the interview and only one or two of those three respond with feedback. Usually you’re going to wait for the final person. And all that does is delay and drag the process on. Does your company use a debrief form or a interviewing grading form? If so, does everybody know that? Is a summary paragraph to be sent or simply a thumbs up or thumbs down needed to be relayed? Make sure they know how to communicate this with you.


A final point to remember is that the interview process reflects the values of your company and the values that that company places on each candidate, and by extension each employee. Every form of an interview is a form of PR for your company. Is it good PR or bad PR? Make sure those interviewing are great ambassadors for your company by conducting a professional interview. By communicating honestly. By basing the hiring decision on an honest and objective evaluation of each candidate’s capabilities. Not only will you make great hires this way, but you’ll build good will in the community and with professionals and you will enhance your future recruiting efforts. 

Now I bet you thought preparing for an interview just meant, what time am I meeting the candidate? I truly hope that these tips will help you strengthen your preparation and will make for greater hires. 


It’s now time for our Mindset Moment. Unless you’ve been living under a rock that does not allow for listening to podcasts, you know that Bridge the Gap is hosting its second annual VIP experience this August. The theme of this year’s experience is DREAM Again. Well, of course, you know this, your listening to the Bridge the Gap Podcast Network. Dreaming big, just so happens to be the theme of this month’s Mindset Moment. 

Those that know me know that I am on the extreme edge of being a glass half full kinda guy. Almost to the point that the liquid, a choice in that glass, it’s about to pour over that edge. I am a big believer in having dreams. I’m not just talking about goals or new year’s resolutions or a to-do list. I’m talking about dreaming big, because dreaming big gives your mind and heart the ability to have possibility thinking. Dreaming big gives you a chance for greatness. Having a BHAG a big hairy audacious goal, like we spoke about several months ago, allows for you to dream bigger and better. Dreaming big can help you find meaning and purpose in your life.


It is so easy to feel like the things that we dream of just don’t matter because they are too far off or too difficult for us at this stage in our lives. But your dream is worth pursuing! If not for dreaming, then how do we know what’s important? How will we ever get there, if we never start? There are a lot of different ways that dreaming big gives your life purpose and meaning. When people dream, they set their sights on something even bigger than themselves, even when it seems impossible. All kinds of great things can happen, as a result. Career changes, relationships deepen, new skills flourish. Dreams have all sorts of positive impacts, both personally and professionally. The old national radio host, Casey Kasem, did the weekly countdown. He used to say at the, at the end of every weekly countdown, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Many have been quoted with the saying shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. Don’t settle for less, strive for more. It cost you absolutely nothing to dream. The reality is you have the ability to change your life. And if you dream big, you have the ability to change the lives of so many, with just one dream. So let me ask, what’s your dream? What are some of the incredible things that you want to accomplish? Decide on those dreams and go for it. 

Alrighty, folks, that is it for this month’s Contributor Wednesday episode. If you have any comments, questions, complaints, or even conundrums on the subject of prepping for the interview, or my thought on dreaming big from today, please message me on LinkedIn. Stay tuned for next month for the next chapter in our recruiting and mindset of ventures. Again, I’m Chris Heinz. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s BTG Contributor Wednesday, please make sure to connect with me on


Thanks for listening to the Contributor Wednesday series on the Bridge the Gap Network sponsored by Peak Senior Living by Functional Pathways. For a full library of episodes, visit


CW 114: Chris Heinz