4 red flags in veterinary job candidates


Notice what candidates are (or aren't) doing in the interview, and you're more likely to choose the right person for the job.

An important difference between your practice and others in your community is the people you hire. You can have medical 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 veterinary clients and a damaged reputation.

During the initial interview, you can usually 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 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 could 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 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.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is the author of seven best-selling books, including 101 Secrets of a High Performance Veterinary Practice and 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practices.

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