Do you know what the cost of turnover is to your practice? If you calculate this, you probably wouldn’t be so quick to hire people just to fill a role without truly vetting their background, skills, strengths and weaknesses … or having a real conversation with them to learn more about their personality and attitude. That is where the problems start: with improperly conducted interviews.
Since I posed the question above, I would like to lay out for you some of the tangible and intangible costs associated with hiring a new employee. There is recruitment, writing and placing ads, screening resumes, interviewing, rejection letters/calls, loss of time training, correcting mistakes, potential personality clashes with existing staff, lower morale, compromised patient care, reduced flow and productivity until new staff is familiar with tasks (at least 30 days) and stress.
According to JDA Professional Services, Inc., “Studies show that the actual cost of replacing an employee can amount to more than three times the employee's annual salary depending largely on the time it takes to fill that position.”1 Also take into consideration that depending on how experienced an employee you wish to hire, you may even have to increase wages associated with that vacant position as much as 30 percent.
I want to share with you here five (out of 14) key pointers to making better choices when hiring new staff. (The entire article is available on my website, www.soshms.com  .)
1) Candidates might expect you to ask them for three words that define their character. However, in my opinion, the best question to start off an interview is: “You have three minutes. Tell me about yourself.” Besides learning more about the people (they end up sharing more than you are legally allowed to ask, like whether they are married, have children, their age, etc.), you also get to see their presentation and time management skills in action.
2) While one tends to focus mainly on the skills and experiences listed in the applicant’s resume, place more concentration on attitude and personality. If job candidates fall short of job skill, you can always train them. However, a leopard’s spots do not change and it is better to know what those spots are earlier than later.
3) Early in the interview process, let your staff meet the candidate. Since they are the ones who must also work side by side with your prospective employee, it would be nice to know there are no personality clashes. Believe me, without their “blessing,” the combination could be a recipe for disaster.
4) Don’t get so hung up on impressive letters of recommendation. They could be the writing of the applicant’s best friend or come from a current employer who can’t wait until this person is out of his or her employ and will go so far as to write them a flattering letter just to get rid of them.
5) If you’ve narrowed the applicant pool down and still have not decided if he or she is the perfect fit, take him or her to lunch. The way the prospective employee treats service people will likely be similar to the way he or she treats your patients. It is particularly interesting because these job applicants do not see this as part of the interview and with their protective guard down, you may just see a different side of them.
Do yourself a favor and kick those bad hiring habits. Next time, instead of rushing through the process, make a genuine effort to find the right person who fits in your practice. In doing so, you will control your costs, retain good staff and stop that employee door from spinning out of control.
1. Available at http://www.jdapsi.com/Client/articles/coh  .