Start with the right team, Part 2

July 1, 2006
Last month, we identified preparatory steps for hiring the “right person” for your practice.

Last month, we identified preparatory steps for hiring the “right person” for your practice. We also recommended several places for you to search for appropriate candidates. Now, the interested candidates are calling. How do you maximize the very important next step of interviewing and selecting these potential team members?

Steps for making the best/right decision

What do we mean by best/right decision? No matter how carefully you go about the hiring process, things do not always work out for the best. However, that does not mean that you should not follow the best protocol possible. You want to do your very best to make the right decision every time.

Too much is at stake. A new person is going to be hired. A new person is going to be interacting with your patients. A new person is going to become a part of your team. So, always go about the hiring process with an intention and determination to follow the appropriate steps. Don’t let yourself get discouraged and don’t stop working the system if the first person doesn’t work out. You are better off with a hiring system than without one.

Here are the steps to take once people begin responding to your employment opportunity announcement.

1. If you have asked candidates to call the office for more information, ask the same person to take the first call each time. Create a few questions that can be covered in a short call. Make sure your team member who is taking the calls is asking each candidate the same questions.

2. Ask the designated team member to make notes about the candidates’ answers. In addition, have him/her make notes about each person’s telephone voice. Was he/she enthusiastic? Could he/she respond quickly and intelligently? Was he/she pleasant? What would a patient or fellow team member feel/think when dealing with someone with this disposition?

3. Have the designated team member make a note of any questions the candidates ask. See if the candidate is interested in the job and what he/she can do for the practice, or if he/she is interested only in the money.

4. Ask the candidate to send a resume and a list of references. Review these carefully. Check for quality control, experience, and expected salary to see if you are “in the ballpark.”

5. Invite your favorite candidates into the practice for an interview. If you decide not to invite a person into the office, send this person a gracious letter thanking him/her for his/her interest. File these away for reference.

6. When the candidates come into the office, have them complete a formal, professionally produced application. Completing the application will demonstrate if the candidates can “think on their feet,” spell correctly, and write legibly. Also, the information on the application will be relevant to your hiring decision.

7. Do not allow the interview to be interrupted.This interview can be with the doctor or an office manager. However, make sure that the doctor at least meets the candidate.

8. The interviewer should do no more than 30 percent of the talking and the interviewee should do the other 70 percent. Ask open-ended questions that allow the person to share his/her thoughts and ideas, his/her way of speaking, and his/her ability to address various subjects. Pay attention to how the person presents him/herself for the interview. The way people take care of themselves says a great deal about how they will take care of patients and your practice.

9. Review the position and its responsibilities. A beginning conversation about compensation can also take place.

10.After all interviews have been completed, have a team meeting to discuss each candidate.Include the entire team in the hiring process.

11.Call all references.

12. Invite your top candidates back for a second interview.Here, be even more specific about what you expect. Ask candidates to be clear, as well. Go into details about the entire compensation package.

13.Some teams invite candidates out to lunch - without the doctor.This time out of the office can be very valuable.

14. Agree on the candidate of choice and make the offer.

Jameson Management Inc. is an international lecture and consulting firm providing instruction and coaching in four vital areas of practice development: communication, business, hygiene and clinical efficiency, and technology. For further information on how to take your practice to the next level, contact JMI at (877) 369-5558 or visit the company’s Web site at

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