Whether you’re looking for a new employee because someone has given notice that they’re leaving or because practice volume has increased enough to warrant a new staff member, it’s important to approach hiring strategically so that you end up with the best person for the job.
The first step in hiring an employee who will stay on for the long term and be a good fit for your practice is to give yourself plenty of time to advertise, screen, interview, negotiate and train. If someone quits abruptly, you may not have the luxury of a lot of time, but even in this case try not to rush into hiring just to fill an empty desk. In addition to the usual telephone and in-person interviews that are standard in the process, consider taking these additional steps to ensure that you make an offer to the best possible candidate.
- Write a thorough advertisement to use online and/or in local newspapers that clearly outlines job duties and qualifications. If you’ll only consider someone with at least three years of healthcare experience, say that so you don’t spend valuable time weeding through resumes of unqualified candidates. If the job requires working hours that are outside what is considered standard, mention that in the ad so that individuals who can’t meet that requirement won’t apply.
- Spend enough time with each candidate when interviewing and give them a leisurely tour of the office and introduce them to staff and providers. Observe how the candidate interacts and how your staff responds to the potential new employee. Is the person polite and confident? Does there appear to be a “connection” with others? Are they curious about the office and what goes on there? After this portion of the interview, get feedback from staff members and providers who met the candidate. If the majority offer either a thumbs up or thumbs down review, factor that information into your hiring decision.
- If you’re at all uncertain about hiring someone, bring them back for a second interview and consider conducting it over lunch at a nearby restaurant. In this more casual setting candidates might reveal information or behaviors (positive or negative) that will help you make your decision. Be very careful, however, because you will be in a more relaxed atmosphere, not to ask questions or lead the candidate in the direction of topics that are not allowed (e.g., their age, whether they have children, political or religious views, etc.).
- Always check references before making an offer to a potential new employee. Some organizations will only reveal whether or not an individual left on good terms or is eligible for re-hire, but it’s worth making the phone calls to find out what you can.
If, no matter how thorough you are in your hiring process, someone clearly isn’t working out after a few weeks (or a couple of months at the outside), cut your losses and go back to the drawing board. As painful as it is to have to dismiss an employee and go through the hiring process again, it’s in the best interest of the practice to do so.