Welcoming our Newest Cohort of Living Well Specialists

“What does belonging at work look like to you?”

Ask a great question, get great answers. In recruiting our newest cohort of Living Well Specialists, we heard a wide range of answers from those selected for a first interview out of 360+ candidates, ranging from cultural inclusion to client appreciation.

From the perspective of our Vital community — diversity of thinking, diversity of experiences, and diversity of representation improves every aspect of our work.

We’ve made diversity, equity and inclusion the core tenet of our recruitment. It shapes everything from the language of the job descriptions to our screening processes to eliminate bias. And last month we welcomed our most diverse cohort of new Living Well Specialists yet:

  • 54% identify as BIPOC
  • 30% speak with such advanced fluency to do our work in Spanish
  • Average 10+ years of previous clinical career experience and for some this is their second career, bringing diverse life experiences
  • Representation across 6 states and 2 time zones

Because of the intensity and rigor of the hiring and onboarding process, we grow our incredible clinical team in groups that go through training together.

And because of the nature of our work and the situations our clients are facing, hiring is about finding the best talents able to carry out our mission. From within the most diverse pool of candidates we’ve ever had, we set out to hire for three things:

  1. Capacity for empathy and curiosity for every client
  2. Skill in employing Motivational Interviewing techniques
  3. Personal conviction in our mission

So how did we choose 13 hires from over 360 well qualified candidates (less than 4%)?

It starts with intention. We scrutinized every aspect of our hiring process, starting with how we find candidates for two distinct tracks — those joining our bilingual team and those who focus on engaging with new clients.

Our Intentions Shape Diverse Hiring:

  • Expand our bilingual team to carry the nuances of our unique clinical approach to Advance Care Planning with our Spanish-speaking clients
  • Hire our first all-remote team to better serve clients with various time zone needs and regional specificity. This also allowed us to not limit our talent to specific regions.
  • Post job openings in areas with higher density of Spanish speakers and job boards specific to Social Workers and Counselors of Color, like NABSW and NABC.
  • Schedule interviews to mirror individuals’ schedules as we do with our clients/surrogates, supporting diverse time zones (which carries over to our training schedule too).
  • Abandon standardized 3rd party assessments, as research has found such questionnaires to be biased.
  • Avoid looking for candidates who are a ‘good fit’ knowing that we want unique voices, experiences and ideas to carry us forward.
  • Seek candidates with expansive and diverse professional experiences.

One thing that didn’t change was our employee referral program — which accounted for 23% of our hires, along with one Specialist returning to Vital Decisions. 

Our employees are our best and most strategic asset. We put so much thought and scrutiny into the process of finding the right people because it takes the right person to be fully present with our clients during some of the most difficult conversations we can have as humans.

Simply put: Having highly skilled, educated, and experienced clinicians guide advance care planning conversations is the right thing to do. We’re thrilled to have our most diverse class yet, and to continue to evolve and elevate our hiring practices.

You can learn more about our clinical workforce here.