Article Date: 11/1/2009

What Traits Are Important in Staff?
staffing solutions

What Traits Are Important in Staff?

To find an employee with the right attitude, first ask the right questions.

BY BOB LEVOY, O.D.

During my seminars on hiring, managing and retaining great employees, I often ask audience members why they've fired an employe. Typical responses include, "bad attitude," "unreliability" and "lacked people skills." Seldom, does anyone say lack of clinical or clerical skills.

Ironically, clinical or clerical skills are almost always the first thing listed in job advertisements and descriptions. This contradiction frequently leads to problems because while technical skills can be taught, a good attitude and people skills almost never can.

What's your first priority? "In our selection process, kindness, caring, compassion and unselfishness carry more weight than years on the job, an impressive salary history and stacks of degrees," says Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters, CEO and director, respectively, of New Ventures for Rosenbluth Travel, and co-authors of The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch 'em Kick Butt (HarperBusiness, 2002). The formula for their company's success, they say, is that they have more nice people than their competition does, and niceness is among their highest priorities because nice people do better work.


ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN PATRICK

The following is a list of some common questions an employer should ask himself prior to hiring an employee. The significance of these questions: They're all overlooked traits that, ironically, seminar attendees have deemed important when hiring employees. Some may provide clues as to why employees with good skills and experience haven't done well. Others may prove helpful when hiring new employees.

► Does the applicant come across as a really nice person?
► How verbal and articulate is the person?
► What is the applicant's energy level?
► How effective is the person's overall presentation and impact upon others?
► Does he project a degree of personal warmth in interactions with others?
► Is the person willing to cooperate and collaborate with others to achieve mutual goals?
► How tactful and diplomatic does the applicant appear?
► Is the person rather rigid, inflexible and highly opinionated in his viewpoints?
► How competitive is the applicant?
► Does the applicant display initiative, drive and resourcefulness, or is he the type of person who must be closely supervised?
► Is the person a self-starter or one who needs to be prodded into action?
► Did the applicant leave former jobs for reasonable, sound and logical reasons?
► Has the person's compensation progressed at his previous jobs?
► How ambitious and career-oriented is the individual?
► Is the applicant involved in an ongoing program to improve his knowledge and skills?
► How well does the candidate respond to stress and pressure?
► Does the person have a sense of humor and the ability to laugh easily?
► Does the applicant seem persistent and persevering, or does he give up easily when encountering obstacles and difficulties?
► How effective is the applicant in dealing and working with others?
► Does the applicant speak favorably of past employers and teachers, or does he display a high degree of negativity in discussing relationships with these people?
► Does the person show patience with others?

Action step: Use behavior-based questions to determine the presence of such traits. Behavior-based interviewing can predict a job applicant's future performance based on how he's handled past work situations. An example:

1. "Tell me about a time when you felt you went beyond the call of duty to help a patient (customer/client/co-worker)."

Although behavioral questions have no right or wrong answers, they do have responses that may or may not be relevant to the job for which you're hiring. OM


BOB LEVOY�S NEWEST BOOK "222 SECRETS OF HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES" WAS PUBLISHED BY JONES & BARTLETT PUBLISHERS. YOU CAN REACH HIM BY E-MAIL AT B.LEVOY@ATT.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2009