A mis-hire in any industry or business can be annoying at best and expensive at worst. In a small eye care practice with limited employees, a mis-hire can be detrimental. The investment of both time and money that goes into hiring a new staff member, associate, or partner is significant. When that investment doesn’t pay the dividends you expected, you have every reason to be disappointed.
So, what is the best way to handle a mis-hire? Avoiding it in the first place. Below are some tips to help you avoid the interview pitfalls and missteps that can lead to a costly mis-hire.
Learn from past mistakes
We’ve all heard the adage, “you’ve got to learn from your mistakes.” When it comes to mis-hires, the lessons learned are invaluable to avoiding a repeat of the hiring disappointment. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. If you have had the misfortune of experiencing a mis-hire, devote the time necessary to fully evaluate the situation and identify the factors that led to the eventual termination. Where was the disconnect with that employee? Were there training or continuing education opportunities that the practice could/should have provided along the way? Did the mis-hire come out of left field, or were there red flags throughout the process? How can we identify those symptoms earlier in the process next time?
There are lessons to be learned in every mis-hire. Find yours. Reflect on them. And write them down. Keep a record of your hiring blunders so that you can reference and avoid them in the future.
There will be red flags in the hiring process.
There is a lot that can be learned about someone during the hiring process, given the right method. The more thorough the hiring procedure, the more thorough the vetting. Oftentimes, it can be the “little things” that are missed or dismissed. Does a candidate talk more than listen? Is the person pushing for partnership but isn’t keen on building a referral network? Below are several red flags that may cause you to wave your white flag in retreat.
Can’t give clear answers to basic questions: Why did you leave your last job? What are you looking for in your next opportunity? These are questions that anyone should be able to answer. It’s fine if an applicant struggles to tell you their greatest weakness, but a candidate should be able to tell you what their monthly production was and why they are in the market for a new job.
Primary focus is on salary: If a candidate cannot see beyond the compensation package and sell themselves on what they can bring to the practice, you may have bigger challenges and disappointments down the road. This could be especially true if they can’t earn the income they expected to earn after they begin working for you.
“Job hoppers”: Take notice of a candidate with many different jobs in a short period of time or holes in their work experience timeline. Be sure to have the candidate address the resume in whole and don’t be shy about getting clarification wherever you have questions regarding work experience and/or education.
Your staff are not impressed: So many practices could avoid a bad hire by allowing staff and candidates to interact during the interview process. As a practice owner or hiring manager, you should always listen to the opinions and feedback of your staff. There are associate candidates who may act like a different person around staff versus you.
No references: Every candidate should have references, professional or personal. At times, past practice owners may find references challenging, but doctors don’t have to use other doctors as references. They can use their past staff or even patients.
Set clear expectations: Establishing clear expectations and communicating those thoroughly, from the beginning, can help avoid confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. During the initial hiring process, this often comes down to asking the right questions. Other than seeing patients, what will you do to help build the practice? How quickly do you want to be busy? What are your personal and professional expectations of this position? What are your long-term goals, five years, ten years and beyond? Direct questions demand direct answers, and it’s only with an open and honest dialogue that both parties in the hiring process will clearly understand each other’s expectations and goals.
Ultimately, a mis-hire indicates a disconnect. At some point during the interviews, the on-boarding, or that first year of employment, there was a misunderstanding between yourself and the soon-to-be mis-hire. Pay special attention to the red flags. Write them down. Analyze them. Most issues with a new hire will surface within the first few months. These could include conflicts with staff or patients, opposing methods of practice, or other disconnects. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, reflect on that initial phone interview and often you’ll find there was something that just didn’t feel right. Something that was off. Next time, you’ll know that it’s best not to dismiss those feelings, as there’s a good chance the potential relationship will not be a long-term solution.