Hire the right person the first time

August 1, 2008

The key to hiring good people is setting high standards for whom you hire and sticking to them. Place to find potential hires, job descriptions, and some key warning sign to a bad hire are included.

"Human resources issues are huge," Robinson said. "It's because we're dealing with people, and we all have different influences that we bring to the workplace and affect how we do our jobs.

"People are bringing their emotional baggage to the workplace more than ever before," he added. "We're seeing more people with shorter fuses causing problems for us on the job."

"You do not want to compromise your standards, because the minute you do, I can assure you you're going to go downhill with your people," Robinson said.

Job description

Writing a description for the position is the first step in the hiring process.

"Without a job description, how do you decide what people are responsible for doing?" Robinson suggested. "How do they know what they're responsible for?"

A job description is helpful for another reason: Deciding whether the practice even needs to hire someone.

"You need to evaluate the need for this position and then look at any alternatives," Robinson said. "Start looking at the dollar value and the impact of hiring or not hiring."

Suppose a physician has a need for an additional technician.

"How much is that going to cost? Then, how many more patients per year are we going to need to pay for that?" Robinson said. "In my experience, more often than not, you don't get the patients you need. Then you're in trouble because your costs have gone up and your productivity is down per dollar spent."

If the practice decides to proceed with hiring someone, the position should be posted internally before it is advertised outside. If an employee who is performing well at his or her current job wants to move, odds are that person will do well in a new position.

"If they are happy making that choice and you can live with it, then do it," he advised. "There's nothing worse than people who do a good job in your practice thinking they've been overlooked-that they've not had an opportunity. Too often, that's what happens."

Looking outside the practice

Temporary employment agencies are good resources to find employees outside of the practice. While agencies charge a premium, they send only people with appropriate skill sets to do the job, and the practice is freed of financial obligations such as taxes and insurance. The practice also can interview any candidates the agency refers before deciding to give them a chance.

"You can make a lot of determinations about whether [candidates'] qualifications meet your standards before you do anything with them," he said. "If you don't like [their performance], you have no responsibility."

If the position is advertised outside, Robinson suggested routing telephone inquiries to a voice mailbox.

"Just listening to the messages they leave is enough to tell you [what you need to know]," he said.

Call back the candidates who sound promising, but only to ask them to return your phone call at a specific time and date to talk about the job.

Related Content:

Practice Management