Two things happen when you have a sloppy, ill-prepared interview process: you either miss out on all-star talent, or you end up hiring the wrong candidates (which you later regret). It’s vital that you put some time and effort into prepping for interviews because, let’s be honest, your staff can make or break your optical practice.
There are a lot of things to consider in every role you interview for, but we’ve compiled the 8 most important steps you can take to ensure that you are fully prepared when a potential employee walks through that door.
8 Steps to Take Before Interviewing Someone for Your Optical Practice Team
- Know That First Impressions Aren’t Everything
We live in the age of Google – that means that any candidate that walks into your practice has probably read several articles on putting their best foot forward during an interview. They know how important a first impression is, so when they greet you with a big smile, firm handshake, and an impeccably tailored wardrobe, don’t fall in love just yet. First impressions can be an important instrument in judging potential employees, but make sure that you aren’t relying solely on that gut feeling when it comes time to hire. You’ll need to dig a little deeper than that.
- Use Your Network
Your professional and personal networks can be valuable tools when looking for new hires. Not only is it more cost effective than posting jobs around the web and on industry boards, but you can gain valuable insight into a candidate that you don't get from a resume. A word of warning, though – even a friend or colleague may be biased one way or another, so you should still conduct a solid interview for any referred candidates.
- Do Your Homework
Don’t wait until 10 minutes before the interview starts to scan through a candidate's resume for the first time. Spend some time checking out their professional and personal profiles online. It’s better to know if your upcoming interviewee has dozens of articles written about their tendency to start street brawls or their raging kleptomania early on.
- Set Clear Criteria for the Open Position
When hiring for an open position, you should have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in an applicant to fill that slot. If the job description is too vague, it may be hard to nail down someone with the right qualifications and you’ll end up with the wrong people applying for the role. Note that whoever is giving the interview should have a standard set of questions that helps qualify people for the role (these can be both experience and personality based questions).
- Provide a Positive Interview Experience
It’s no secret that interviewing for a job is a nerve-wracking experience, so it serves you well to make your candidates feel welcome and confident during the process. Clearly explain when, how, and where the interview will take place. Feel free to give specific directions regarding dress code, paperwork they should bring along, and even where to park when they get to your practice. Offer candidates water or coffee when they come in, set the meeting in a private room away from distractions and interruptions, and go over the agenda for the interview. Remember that you aren’t only interviewing them - they are also considering you as a potential employer, so you should want to make a good impression on them as well.
Listen carefully – this may sound like a no-brainer, but people have a tendency to engage in a conversation and you may find yourself spending more time talking than your candidate. Once you’ve asked a question, let them answer it, then if needed, you can ask the follow-up questions. And most importantly, don’t zone out! This is where a candidate can really shine, so make sure you are paying attention to what they are saying.
- Don’t Avoid the Money Talk
Money is often an uncomfortable topic in an interview, but it’s one that must be addressed. Rather than beating around the bush, be frank and ask what a candidate’s expected compensation is. You should already have a range in mind for the position you are hiring for, and while there are always considerations to be made regarding experience and qualifications, you should know sooner rather than later if you two are on the same page regarding salary.
- Follow Up Quickly
Another easy one. Respect your candidates and communicate with them about what is going on. Let them know what the next steps are or where you are in your hiring process. No one likes being left on the hook for weeks on end, so whether you want to move forward with them or not, you need to let them know sooner rather than later.
When you take the time to prep for interviews in your practice, you ensure that you have a solid process in place to avoid a bad hire and put together a great team. And when you have the best team possible, your productivity increases, patients are happier, and your business as a whole thrives.
A great staff will help keep your entire practice workflow running smoothly. Download our ebook on Staff Management in Eyecare.