Cassandra Allbritton, CVPM, has hired her fair share of team members for veterinary practices in the Tampa Bay Veterinary Medical Group in Tampa, Fla. And in the latest newsletter from the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (their website), she shares her tips for hiring great employees. Here are five important ones:
1. Make good first impressions—and take note of theirs. If an applicant shows up in person to drop off an application or resume, a team member or manager should take the initial application and offer a tour of the facility—if appropriate. Ask that team member to take notes: Was the person dressed professionally? Did they shake hands? Did they make good eye contact? Did they pet patients? Did they ask questions? Attach these notes to the application and resume.
2. Follow the 80/20 rule in the first interview. If you ask the applicant back for an interview, schedule at least an hour. You should talk no more than 20 percent of the time; you're there to hear the applicant, not the other way around.
Topics will include the job and its requirements and the applicant's work history and skills as well as answers to various behavior, situation, and appropriate character questions: "How do you handle last-minute emergencies? If you see someone taking an item from inventory and suspect it's for personal use, what would you do?"
3. Schedule a working interview. Give the best applicants a chance to shine and show you what they can really do. You'll watch for skills and knowledge, team members will watch for compatibility, and the applicant will have the chance to ask questions and see if the practice is a good fit.
4. Don't skip drug testing, credit checks, and criminal background checks. Some insurance companies give discounts for mandatory new-employee testing, and you'll want to know your employees are drug-free and felony-free.
5. Test your new processes. How do you know new hiring policies work? Compare your hiring and employment costs and turnover rates over time. Review, revise, and track your management practices, and you'll know you're on the right path.