4 red flags to look out for in potential veterinary team members

4 red flags to look out for in potential veterinary team members

By noticing what candidates are (or aren't) doing in the interview, you're more likely to choose just the right person for the job.
Feb 04, 2014

An important difference between your practice and others in your community is the people you hire. You can have exceptional expertise, an award-winning hospital, a good location and competitive fees, but if your team members aren’t right for the culture of your practice, it can lead to a loss of clients and a damaged reputation.

In many cases, during the initial interview, you can identify job applicants who won’t be a good fit for your practice by looking for the following red flags:

Doesn’t smile: “We don’t train people to smile. We hire people who smile,” said Vincent Stabile, former vice president at JetBlue Airways. “I look at people and try to ascertain their default position. If their natural default is friendly and smiling, that’s likely to be a person who will provide the customer service we want. If someone is unhappy or frowning, or has to put on a front to engage with people, that’s not going to be the right kind of person.”

Shows a lack of courtesy: How does a job applicant interact with your receptionist, for example, when first calling or arriving at your hospital? Is he or she polite? Respectful? Appreciative of any assistance offered? Ask your receptionist about his or her reaction to the job applicant; those insights can be valuable. (You may be surprised how rude some job applicants can be when they’re not being interviewed.)

Reveals confidential information: Beware of job applicants who reveal confidential information about former employers or practices. You’ll be next.

Discusses compensation prematurely: Every job applicant wants the most he or she can get in terms of salary and benefits. This is understandable. Nevertheless, there’s a right time to discuss such matters—and it’s after you or your hospital manager have shown serious interest in hiring the person. Many interviewers with whom I’ve spoken consider a premature interest in compensation or benefits, especially at the beginning of the interview, a major red flag.

Veterinarians often find themselves with a desperate and immediate need to fill a vacancy. This can lead to one of the most common hiring mistakes: settling—which can adversely affect client satisfaction and practice growth. Don’t compromise your standards for the sake of expediency.