Asking about strengths and weaknesses will only reveal so much information. Dig deeper to find job candidates' true capabilities.
A client drops her dog off at your veterinary clinic at 9 a.m. for a bath, a nail trim, and a heartworm test. The client has a plane to catch later in the day and plans to pick up the dog at 3 p.m. Unfortunately, when she shows up that afternoon, the dog is still soaking wet with untrimmed nails, and hasn't had his blood drawn. She's not happy. What do you do? And how could this problem have been prevented?
It's a tough question, even for the most experienced veterinary professional. But using scenarios like this to grill job applicants can reveal a lot about their ability to handle the job. Here are a few more scenarios you might use when interviewing a receptionist, courtesy of Dr. Nan Boss, owner of Best Friends Veterinary Center in Grafton, Wisc.:
> What would you do if you forgot to send a client home with her pet's medication?
> You see another employee stealing shampoo or dog food. How do you respond?
> A client rushes in with an injured pet while your reception area is full of waiting clients. How do you handle the situation?
Remember that to effectively gauge a candidate's response, you need to have an ideal answer in mind. After all, if you don't know what you're looking for, why are you asking the question?