Recruitment & Retention Toolkit

Recruitment & Retention Toolkit

The purpose of the NAACCR Recruitment and Retention Toolkit is to provide central cancer registries (CCRs) with proven strategies for attracting and retaining qualified staff. The Toolkit was developed by the NAACCR Professional Development Steering Committee from best practices submitted by CCRs throughout North America. Every CCR is unique, with its own recruitment and retention challenges. Consequently, no one strategy will suit the needs of every CCR, so the NAACCR R&R Toolkit contains a variety of resources to choose from and customize to meet the specific needs of the registry. For questions, or to contribute your own registry’s tools, please contact NAACCR.


    • Guidance for job postings
      • If you have the ability to draft your own job postings, use these tips to attract qualified candidates.
    • Central registry recruitment flyer
      • A customizable flyer highlighting the many benefits of working in a central cancer registry. Use the flyer as is or add your own logo and unique attributes of your registry.
    • Job posting resources
      • Web sites where registries can advertise job openings, including costs.

Note: These tools are for use after/in addition to any formal qualification screening required by your human resources department.

    • Pre-Interview Applicant Evaluation
      • Use this tool to prioritize which candidates to interview based on minimum and preferred qualifications.
    • Applicant FAQ
      • Meant to be provided to the candidates when you have too many applicants to interview and need to screen out those who may not be right for the position. Customize the questions to meet your registry’s needs
    • A&P and Medical Terminology Test
      • A tool to assess an applicant’s knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology and medical terminology; intended to be used with non-CTRs.
    • Interview strategies
      • Tips for conducting successful interviews.
    • Sample Interview Questions
      • These questions can be used as is, or customized to the registry and the position.
    • Candidate score sheet
      • A tool to provide an objective method of evaluating candidates. The score is meant to be used in conjunction with subjective and other evaluation methods for each candidate.

Retention TOOLS

Defined as the degree to which employees are motivated by, passionate about and invested in their work.

  • An engaged employee believes in the organization and wants to work to make it succeed.
  • Engaged employees will boost your registry’s productivity and retention.
  • Engaged employees will go above and beyond when performing their job, while being efficient and more productive than an employee who isn’t engaged.
  • Not the same as job satisfaction.


Ideas on how to improve employee engagement:

  1. Prioritize feedback and communication. Communicate a vision and expectations for your registry and establish two-way communication. Use employee feedback to make course corrections.
  2. Engage management. Engaging middle management will influence everyone. Offer training to ensure they know how to encourage and engage their team.
  3. Effective onboarding. Set up new employees for success. Explain the goals and values of the organization, so they can see their value to the mission.
  4. Offer professional development opportunities.
  5. Recognize top performers and achievements. Encourage frequent positive feedback.
  6. Coordinate volunteer opportunities. Offer a Volunteer Day as a benefit (a day outside of your PTO policy where employees can take off to donate time to a cause they care about).
  7. Allow employees to innovate within the workplace. Allow employees to work together on something outside of their day-to-day projects. This can lead to new ideas and processes.
  8. Provide flexibility, such as flexible schedules and remote work.
  9. Goal setting. Asking employees to set goals will focus their work. Keep goals SMART- specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Communicate the goals and provide feedback on progress. Adjust goals as needed.
  10. Give employees autonomy and challenge. Don’t micromanage employees. Give them the capacity and flexibility to make decisions and support their creative ideas.

Develop an action plan to implement these areas.


Links for further information:

What is the point of an exit interview?

  • The purpose of an exit interview is to get honest feedback from an employee leaving your company. The exit interview is an important opportunity to learn about the reasons why employees leave, so that you can improve those areas to prevent future employee churn.

What makes a good exit interview?

  • Make the exit interview part of the standard off-boarding process. This is typically managed and conducted by a human resources (HR) staff member.
  • Conduct the exit interview after employees decide to leave, but just before physically leaving the organization. Employees are less likely to respond to the survey once they have walked out of the door
  • Keep employee exit interview questions short and simple by focusing on evaluating different job components and identifying where change is necessary
  • Think carefully about interview questions involving feelings and emotions as this is particularly difficult, especially if you have let an employee go
  • Assure the respondent that their feedback is confidential. Not to be directly shared with their manager, and most importantly, you must emphasize that it will not affect any reference they may seek in the future

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Good tools for conducting exit interview Surveys:

  • Typeform: Typeform is an interactive survey tool that you can use to streamline your exit interviews. You can use conditional questions, and even customize surveys to match your brand. We like typeform because of its modern feel and functionality.
  • SurveyMonkey: SurveyMonkey is a popular, free survey tool that can be used to conduct exit interview surveys. We recommend it as a step-up from using word docs.
  • Checkster: Checkster is an enterprise HR survey tool. Checkster can be used by HR teams to streamline, standardize, and better leverage your exit surveys. Checkster offers detailed analytics into usage, and time spent by your former employee while completing their exit survey, as well as options for referrals.

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Examples of Exit Interview questions:

These should be used for ideas for customizing your own Exit Interviews.

  • What were the most important factors in choosing another job? Salary? Benefits? Time-off? Company culture? Something else?
  • What does your new company provide that we don’t?
  • What advice would you give to new hires at our company?
  • What changes to your job would have made you stay at our company?
  • What were the three biggest challenges you experienced when working at our company?
  • How would you describe our company culture to one of your closest friends?
  • Would you recommend our company to prospective employees?
  • Would you ever consider working for our company again in the future?
  • How did you feel about the feedback you received from your manager?
  • Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?
  • Was your workload usually too light, varied, just right, or too much? Please explain.
  • Are there any employee benefits that weren’t offered that you think should be?
  • How frequently did you receive performance feedback?
  • What were your feelings about the performance review process?
  • How would you rate collaboration and communication across your team? Your department? Your company?
  • Why did you come to work here?

After that it’s, “Did we do that?” “What was the experience we delivered for you?” “Where was the difference in that?” This frames the conversation as a matter of fit and missed opportunities, rather than blame and disappointment, which encourages the departing employee to be more forthright about their experience at the company.

  • What were your greatest accomplishments and greatest challenges?

This helps the interview to be more of a dialogue about the highs and lows of the job, rather than focusing on the end point. More questions to encourage this: “What are you most proud of? What are the accomplishments that you were writing on your resume about this job? And what were some of the challenges you had to overcome that you’ve learned from?”

This more positive spin isn’t just to spare people’s feelings. It’s a way around our natural reluctance to deliver negative feedback and can spur quality feedback to the manager.

  • What skills and qualifications do you think we need to look for in your replacement?

Here are two truths: one, no one understands what it takes to do a job well better than the person who is currently doing it well. And two, research shows companies are pretty terrible at writing accurate, useful job descriptions.

Combine these two realities and what do you get? A strong case for asking your departing employee for some advice on how to hire their replacement. Which is why the Muse suggests the question above for exit interviews.

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Rethink the interview

Retentions starts from the beginning.  If the person you hire is in line with the values, the position and the growth opportunities are in line they are more likely to remain in the establishment.


  • Ask questions where you can understand clearly the expectations they have from the posted
  • Think of a different way to phrase, “were do you see yourself in five years”
  • An example could be, “What are your career goals.”
  • Listen to your employees, ask questions.


Words of Affirmation:

Feedback and Mentorship


  • Workplace appreciation in a public setting, verbal or written acknowledgment of work well done, create time or space for everyone on the team to share a high (maybe a low too)


Quality Time:

Workplace Bonding


  • Take team to lunch at end of a big project (if remote, delivering drinks/treats to houses of team), encouraging team members to take mental health days (lead by example), create space to give undivided attention to a specific coworker/team member (1:1 or team break off rooms)


Receiving Gifts:

New Opportunities and challenges


  • An actual gift on a work anniversary, a celebratory day off, giving higher-level opportunity to someone who has excelled, offering mentorship or advice to a newer employee


Acts of Service:



  • A “just checking in” email to a struggling employee, creating a platform for helpful resources or tips that may help everyone, recognize when an employee is overworked and provide relief


Human beings are social beings; we need to communicate to build relationships


  • Employee’s outcomes have a greater influence from their supervisor’s communication competency than their leadership style
  • Supervisors who keep informal channels of communication open can win trust of employees which ultimately increase job satisfaction
  • Good communication entails good listening and honest feedback



Job Growth Opportunists

Research shows that if career opportunities are in place, an employee will stay for a longer time and also tend to be more loyal for that company


  • If possible, allow a hierarchy that can be climbed upward. ie: CTR I, CTR II, Senior CTR, etc.
  • Create workgroups or committees to oversee certain tasks or problem areas
  • Provide time for training. There are many resources to allow educational growth.
  • Performance Evaluations can be an opportunity to talk about an employee’s long term career goals and then find a way to help them achieve them



Defined as the ability of workers to make choices influencing when, where and how long they engage in the work-related task.


  • If employees are given the option of workplace flexibility, they will find options to balance their work and life.
  • Invest in Employees Careers
  • Focus on Manager
  • Reassess compensation
  • Consider your benefits package
  • Prioritize Work-Life Balance.
  • Feedback Culture
  • Conducting Exit Interviews
  • Providing Leadership Opportunities

One on one meetings are essential for supervisors to stay connected with each of their direct reports and are opportunities to build trust and foster engagement.  These meetings are great opportunities to build relationships and identify issues early.

Topics to cover

  • Agenda topics brought by both employee and supervisor
  • Prioritize the agenda together
  • Take time to problem solve
  • Discuss the employee’s goals and satisfaction with work
  • Show gratitude
  • Meet at least monthly and more often with some employees

Topics to avoid

  • Disciplinary matters
    • These should be discussed but separately from this regular meeting
  • Discussing other employees

Links for further information:

Click here to download the complete Recruitment and Retention Toolkit.



NAACCR would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to developing this toolkit:

Recruitment & Retention Workgroup

Stacy Barr – Missouri Cancer Registry and Research Center

Carrie Bateman – Utah Cancer Registry

Tresheena Boyd, RHIT, CTR – Mississippi Cancer Registry

Renee Corvalan – Alaska Native Tumor Registry

Taylor Hessler, CTR – New Jersey State Cancer Registry

Jeremy Laws – Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System

Keri Miller – Alaska Native Tumor Registry

Breana Norton – Flatiron Health

Cheryl Radin – Norman – Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System

Contributing Registries

Florida Cancer Data System

Mississippi Cancer Registry

New Jersey State Cancer Registry

Texas Cancer Registry


For questions, or to contribute your own registry’s tools, please contact NAACCR.

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