Here's what usually happens when a veterinary practice hires new employees: The owner or practice manager screens job applicants
and selects the most qualified person based on skills and experience. What these leaders frequently overlook, however, is
how well the candidate's personality fits with other team members and the practice culture. When there's a poor fit, clashes
are inevitable. Involving your team members in the process is a better way to hire. This method:
- Increases the likelihood of a good fit between new and current employees.
- Reduces turnover and the associated costs.
- Alerts you to issues you've overlooked or underestimated.
- Boosts the team's morale, motivation, and collaboration.
- Helps employees realize that their ideas and opinions are important, which boosts job satisfaction.
Ask your employees what they think are the necessary personality traits, attitude, and skills for the job. Carol Clymer and
Laura Wyckoff, in their report "Here to Stay: Tips and Tools to Hire, Retain and Advance Hourly-Wage Employees" (Public/Private
Ventures, 2007), suggest asking current employees these questions:
1. What type of person is the best fit for this job?
2. What skills does he or she need? Does our job description accurately describe the skills we want?
3. What people skills does he or she need? How can we find out if an applicant has those skills?
4. What skills, attitudes, or personalities could we use that our team doesn't have?
5. What do you wish you had been told during your job interview?
Another approach: Ask your employees to talk with—or take to lunch at your expense—each of the top candidates. Employees might
gain insights that will help you make the final selection.
From the success files: The Baptist Health Care system in northwest Florida includes five hospitals, a nursing home, and a
network of mental health services. For the last eight years, the organization hasn't been hiring anyone unless the peers who'll
be working alongside that person have interviewed him or her.
The president and CEO of Baptist Health Care says peer interviewing frequently puts the brakes on a decision when a manager
is ready to hire, which slows the process considerably. But the results, he continues, are worth it. The organization hires
people who are a better fit. When new employees show up, their peers have already met them. The team has a vested interest
in a new employee's success. "When you show your employees that you care about and respect what they have to say," the CEO
says, "you'll see their morale go through the roof."
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a speaker and writer based in Roslyn, N.Y. His newest book is 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing, and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practice (Jones and Bartlett, 2007).