How Not to Hire Someone
Don't let desperation over-ride common sense.
MICHAEL SILVERMAN, O.D.
my optometric technician gave notice, I called the local newspaper to place a classified
ad for a new tech. At that same time, a woman who worked at a local supermarket
(call her Sue) stopped in our office. She said she was an ophthalmic assistant and
offered her services. Our classified ad, which cost $400 per week, attracted several
candidates. Unfortunately, each lacked critical qualifications. In addition, my
employees complained about the added workload. I became desperate.
A promising start
So I called Sue for an interview. She seemed bright,
cheery, well-dressed and very eager to work. She made a great first impression.
Sue explained that she left the ophthalmology
practice because they cut her hours and did not keep promises. She told me that
I could call the supermarket for a reference, but that they "hate" her because she's
unhappy. She said they also did not keep promises.
I spoke to the office manager at the
ophthalmology practice who told me that Sue had done a great job for years but had
moved out of town. When she returned, they rehired her but she couldn't keep up
with her work. Other employees had to "take up her slack."
Faced with the cost of the classified
ad and the stress on my staff, I decided to give Sue the benefit of the doubt and
The first day
Sue showed up early for her first day of work
and brought bagels and cream cheese. I had prepared a work contract that specified
her duties and trial work period, etc. She read and signed it. However, within the
first half hour:
seemed unable to concentrate on tasks and kept walking around the office.
►Sue told employees that my wife (our optician) is "crazy." She also told them that
her former employers used to throw staplers at her head.
►She made several trips to the bathroom.
►She told me that my hair looked like s%#% and repeated the profanity in front of
►She called me a liar.
The beginning of the end
Within 35 minutes, I told Sue that she was terminated.
Sue then got a bagel. She said a brain tumor made her act strangely and she began
to cry. Then she passed out.
When I couldn't revive her, I phoned
911. She woke up when the paramedics arrived. I told them Sue said she had a brain
tumor. Sue told them she said no such thing. One of the paramedics noted that her
breath smelled like alcohol. They opened her hand bag and found an empty bottle
of vodka and a "prescription" type bottle. That was the last time I saw Sue.
What did I learn? Do not let a desperate
situation cause you to hire someone who you would not have hired otherwise. The
office manager at the ophthalmology office tried to warn me but I didn't listen.
We could have cut back the patient schedule to prevent employee overload and to
take more time to find the right employee. As for my hair, it probably is too long
but that hasn't hurt my thriving practice any!
DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE
EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH RENé
LUTHE, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC
MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 643-8132 OR LUTHER@LWWVISIONCARE.COM.
OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.
Optometric Management, Issue: May 2006