Step 1 Ask yourself – Do I really need another employee?
If you are getting busier, is it possible to improve your workflow and systems FIRST to function better so that you don’t have to hire another resource?
Many veterinary practices think they are ‘too busy’ for the number of staff they have. But on closer examination, they are actually overstaffed due to a lack of systems or a lack of efficient refined systems.
Have a look at your workflow and see if you are utilizing all staff to their full capacity.
And let’s be honest here. When you look at the practice from WITHIN the practice you often will NOT see whether efficiencies exist or where they are.
Often you need and external person to help you with this. So go and find a non-vet friend, business owner to help you out here.
Step 2 Get crystal clear.
If you definitely need another staff member, get crystal clear on what role you want them to fulfill in your business. Ask your existing staff for their feedback as well.
For example – If you want a receptionist, don’t employ a nurse and hope she will do a good job at reception. If the applicant wanted to be a receptionist, they would have followed that career path. Receptionists and nurses have very different skill-sets and more importantly, they have very different mind-sets.
Aside: did you know that having dedicated receptionists correlates with increased profits!
If you are employing a vet, what is the primary attribute you need in them?
· Is it the ability to bond with clients? (strategy if you are trying to transition into being more of a Veterinary Business Owner and reduce the number of hours that you are doing consults)
· Is it medical or surgical expertise that you require in them? (strategy where you do consults and they just complete all the technical work)
· Is it the ability to lead a team?
Step 3 Writing the advertisement.
You need to ‘sell’ working at your clinic as an experience. If you want great people on your team, be sure that they will want to work in a great business with great people. Take a stand and tell people what is great about your business and why they would want to work there.
Remember – the newer generations do not work for the money;
- They want to work for a great practice that’s making a difference in the lives of the people and pets they serve (purpose)
- They want to work for a great leader (mentoring)
- They want to be part of an ‘A’ team (no ‘dickheads’ allowed)
- They want to grow and learn
- They want to get (regular) feedback so that they can get better and
- Then after that comes the money.
You need to be in the ballpark with what you pay, but it’s those other differences which will make you attractive to the BEST candidates
Write the ad to make the position appealing to the applicant. Be specific. If an applicant is just after the job with the biggest bucks, then they probably aren’t who you are looking for so don’t even bother advertising what salary you are offering.
Step 4 Doing the interview.
Make your interview process thorough and ‘demanding’.
Remember – it’s a privilege to work in your practice, not a right. Ensure your hiring process reflects this.
Also be aware that the number of steps in your interview process relates to the ‘longevity’ that a person will have in your practice.
Let me rephrase that – when you employ a 5-7 step hiring process, those employees will stay longer with you on average than employees that you’ve employed using a 3-5 step hiring process.
The steps you might use could include; filing out a questionnaire’ dropping this into the practice and ‘meeting’ one of the receptionists or nurses, meeting with the practice manager, meeting with practice manager and owner, work-day with the team, final interview including behavioural assessment interview.
Before exploring the skills base of the applicant, explore the type of person they are. Be aware that it is easy to project onto someone what we ‘think’ they are like based on their looks, who or what kind of person they remind us of etc.
Hire for attitude, train for skills…
Firstly, do a mental check that you aren’t projecting onto them. If you are, stop, draw breath and throw out any pre-conceived ideas and start afresh (in your own mind).
Secondly, start of by doing your ‘Behavioural Profiling’; begin a general conversation. A conversation using direct questions reveals an incredible amount of valuable information about a person. Enquire about:
– What was it that made them choose their career path?
– Their family – both immediate and extended.
– What studies they have done, both professional and for any of their hobbies.
– How do they like to spend their free time – e.g. do they play any sports, what are their hobbies.
– If they have experienced much aversion and if so, in what areas.
- Also ensure that some of those questions relate back to the Core Values of your practice and you practice Purpose.
The reason for this conversation outside of you learning more about the applicant is that it will reveal to you their general mood level in life, their philosophy of life and many of their attitudes – this is gold!
From the conversation, score them in your own mind on a Scale of 0 – 10 to what their mood level (outside of the social niceties) is, how positive their attitude is, how action orientated they are, what some of their values are. This is where you then see if you have a ‘fit’…will they fit in with you, the style of your business and the valuable members of your team.
Now you begin to explore the entire technical arena – skills and abilities. Use a self-created checklist, including a score for your gut feel at the time of the interview, to keep you on track that the applicant truly does match the criteria you want met.
- Hold the bar high and go for the kind of person you really want. It’s much BETTER to not hire anyone than to hire the wrong person.
Employ someone who you feel ‘will do’ and you will have problems further down the track – problems which cost you the harmony within the business, lack of sleep and money. It’s not worth it!
Step 5 Choosing the most suitable applicant.
1. Refer to the scored checklist that you created in relation to the role and the applicants.
2. Assuming that other staff has been in the office when the applicant comes for an interview, ask them for their opinions of applicants – even if they just said hello to the applicant. Do this for two reasons:
– You may pick up on something that you could have missed
– It will increase your team’s ownership of the final decision and ultimately their contribution to support the application to integrate into the team.
One of my KEYS to hiring the right person is to ensure that two ‘senior’ women are involved in the final step of the interview process – and then listening to what their gut tells them.
I know this might sound ‘silly’ but it’s worked for me EVERY time…
Step 6 Do your ‘Due Diligence’ on the applicant.
Firstly, check the quality of your applicant’s referees – were they a direct report to the referee or work in a more superior position to the applicant?
If you speak to 3 previous employers, you will find that the common issues will become obvious. If there has been previous issues reoccurring, don’t assume you will change them. Any breech of integrity is a way to destroy your team.
I also ask the referees about their style of practice because sometimes the prospective employee is great and the employer was the problem. You will pick this up in your conversation. If they are generally really negative on the phone, then you may wish to review the amount of importance you put on their comments.
Being excessively ‘positive’ about that person should also raise alarm bells in your head.
I also like talking to one or two people who are NOT on the ‘referees’ list, but who worked with the applicant in that particular workplace. This assures that you get an opinion from someone who has not been ‘set-up’ to possibly not being entirely honest…
If you are satisfied that you have good quality referees (minimum of 3 referees), ask the following questions;
to ensure you have a team player, evaluate the applicant’s ability to be a cohesive team member:
· What are they like as a team player?
· Do they have leadership qualities?
– If so, what are they?
· Are they pleasant/easy to work with?
· How flexible were they?
· How well did they accept feedback?
· Do they have many sick days?
· Are they happy to stay back to see emergencies or are they a clock watcher?
· Do they put themselves, the client and patient or the team first?
Evaluating honesty and loyalty:
· Were they punctual?
· If you were in a pickle, could you rely on them and would you want them on your side?
Evaluating ability to generate income.
· How well did clients bond to them?
· How well did they relate to people?
· How efficient were they on a scale of 1 to 10 in their work? I.e. surgery, treating cases.
· How organized were they?
· Are they always well presented?
· How good are they at generating income?
· Ask do they invoice well? (looking to see if they have a fear of charging which is an insecurity complex)
· What is their personal motivation like?
· Do they maintain same work ethic (e.g. billing) when the owner was not there?
Closing summary questions:
· Would you reemploy this person?
· Can you give an overall rating from 1 to 10 from an employer’s perspective?
· What any negatives about this person?
As part of this process, I’d also suggest that you perform a police check – especially if that person is going to be in a senior or leadership role.
Step 7 Getting agreement with the prospective employee
Now that you have chosen the person that you and your team believe is best suited for the job, it’s time to get back to them to notify them that they have been successful and to have them sign off on a written agreement in regard to:
· Your commitment to them and their commitment to you.
· Financial arrangements including holidays, overtime, sick pay, superannuation and any bonuses
Most small and medium businesses (including ‘Vet’) skip this vital step.
The benefits of doing this is that apart from getting clarity on the financial arrangements, it also gives you the opportunity to once again clarify your expectations,
This document is something that we refer back to very early in the game with the then new employee if/when they have messed up along the way.
By referring back to the document (usually just 1 page for each agreement) you take out some of the heat of the situation where you have to coach them back into line. These documents have been the saving grace for many successful practices.