5 ways to avoid hiring the wrong employee for your veterinary clinic


Don't get a 'bad hire.'

Hiring a new employee is a daunting process. The thought of running an ad, scheduling interviews, and making that final decision on a candidate can leave even the most laid-back employer feeling stressed out. Your employees are the face of your practice and, as such, you want the best candidate representing you.

Bob Levoy

Unfortunately, it's easy to make mistakes—ones that are not only costly but ultimately disruptive to your practice team. In fact, according to a recent survey from online payroll provider SurePayroll, three out of four business owners surveyed admitted to hiring at least one employee they later regretted. Here are five ways to avoid this problem and navigate the hiring process with ease.

1. TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't hire in haste. After you've interviewed numerous job applicants, a good question to ask before finally hiring someone is: "Would I have hired this person when I first started this process, or am I hiring this person just to fill the position and end the search?"

2. MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT. Allow your team to interview job applicants and narrow the list down to a few from whom you'll make the final selection—they may even refer your top picks. Or let your team have the final approval of someone you've tentatively decided to hire. Among the benefits: This will help your team realize their ideas and opinions are important and may even alert you to traits you've overlooked or underestimated. Once they've given their approval, your team will function better as a whole in the long run.

3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Ask thoughtful questions that shed light on important information about a candidate's work history. "If I had just one area to probe in an interview," says Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, "it would be why a candidate left his or her previous job—and the one before that. Was it the environment? Was it the boss? Was it the team? What exactly made him or her leave? There's so much information in those answers. Keep digging and dig deep. Why a person has left a job tells you more about the person than almost any other piece of data."

Don't underestimate the value of reference checks with past employers either. Résumé falsifications are rampant nowadays, and past employers can be a critical tool in verifying work history and performance. Use an employment application that contains an authorization for reference checks. A person who refuses to sign it should immediately raise a red flag—this might not be the best person to hire. Also, conduct background checks on driving, criminal, and credit records when appropriate. If you don't feel qualified to do this, you can always hire an outside agency to do it for you.

4. TAP INTO RESOURCES AT HAND. If you need someone right away, consider working with employees you already know can do the job well. Pay overtime to current team members or contact a former valued employee who may be available to fill in until a permanent replacement can be found. Temporary agencies may also be a source for qualified candidates when you're in a time crunch.

5. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. Inevitably, you'll make a mistake—it's all part of the process. However, you don't need to repeat history. Examine your hiring process and make corrections where necessary to avoid repeating the same mistake again. By investing the time and effort from the get-go, you can avoid most hiring pitfalls and successfully build the best team for your practice.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is the author of seven 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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