It Starts With
Move from good to great with these hard-learned lessons about hiring.
Bob Levoy, O.D.
The Number One characteristic of companies that move from good to great, says consultant Jim Collins in his acclaimed book, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don't, is finding and keeping the right people. But finding the right people for an optometric practice is no easy task. And mistakes are costly.
Keep these in mind
Here are some hard-learned lessons about hiring.
- Don't rely on first impressions. It can be a huge mistake.
- "Staff your company with people who don't see their jobs as burdens," writes Ron Zemke in Secrets of "Knock Your Socks" Off Service. "Look for employees who find customer contact rewarding -- who don't find any aspect of serving others demeaning. They're the ones who will deliver service that will set your business apart."
- Don't make assumptions. Look for repeating patterns of behavior before drawing conclusions about the person.
- Be consistent. Be sure to ask the same questions of each job applicant. Their responses to similar questions will put you in a better position to compare them.
- "Pay attention to the final five minutes," says Dr. Steven L.
Rasner, Cherry Hill, N.J. "Announce casually that 'We're just about out of time.' Many candidates save their most important comments or questions until the end. You may hear a question such as, 'Do we ever have to work weekends or overtime?' The closing minutes can offer the clearest insights to your candidate's concerns."
ILLUSTRATION BY ART GLAZER
Watch out for these pitfalls
Even though you may take a structured, methodical approach to interviewing job applicants, the evaluation is still, in the end, a subjective process. You can neutralize some of that subjectivity by avoiding the following:
- Being overly impressed with maturity or experience or (conversely) overly unimpressed by youth and immaturity.
- Mistaking a reserved or calm demeanor for a lack of motivation.
- Mistaking a person's ability to play the "interview game" for intelligence or competence.
- Succumbing to the "halo effect" -- being so dazzled by one quality of a job applicant (such as appearance, friendliness, or computer skills) that you lose sight of other important job requirements.
- Wishful thinking. Because of a desperate need to hire someone, you overlook traits that, under different circumstances, would disqualify the job applicant. Remember the costs and aggravation involved in a bad hire.
- Failing to factor a person's motivation and eagerness to learn into your overall evaluation.
- Ignoring intuition. As objective as hiring needs to be, one should not ignore that "tug" inside that says "something just doesn't feel right here." Often this comes from your past experience. Listen to it, and when in doubt, don't be too quick to hire.
Start out right
The chief executives at the companies Jim Collins researched for his book all made a point of getting "the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus." The process starts with the initial interview.
DR. LEVOY'S NEWEST BOOK, "201 SECRETS OF A HIGH
PERFORMANCE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE" WAS PUBLISHED BY BUTTERWORTH-HEINEMANN. YOU CAN REACH HIM BY E-MAIL AT
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2004