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How to get the right fit when hiring


Expert tips and techniques on the best ways to select, hire and retain the right people for your team.

You can be the best dermatologist possible, but it still takes a great team behind you in order to create the best practice possible. Along with your patients, your team is the lifeblood of your office. They first interact with patients, support them through their visits and take care of them on the way out. Your team has a huge impact on your patient satisfaction, office morale, productivity and profitability; so, choosing, developing and retaining the right people for your team is vital.

Even one mis-hire can be costly. According to Topgrading, Inc., the average cost of a mis-hire can range from five to 27 times the salary of the person hired, depending on the company and position! This cost can result from:

Disruption of staff and office productivity, for example when others spend time listening to complaints, and have to “work around” the wrong person

  • Decreased team morale
  • Time spent fixing mistakes
  • Extra staff time and energy on performance discussions (and termination process)
  • Spending more on rehiring, training and onboarding a replacement

On average, employers self-report that they only have a 50% success rate with hiring and promoting the right people, citing they can’t fully learn a person’s true personality during the interview process, can’t fully understand the necessary skills/behaviors needed for the job and can’t assess whether there’s at least a 70% fit between those skills and the candidate.

Additionally, as most employers have discovered, the interview process is full of obstacles, including:

  • Getting through that surface level that often feels awkward and fake
  • Asking the right questions and using the right judgment to truly assess the candidate effectively
  • Finding time to conduct effective interviews with everything else going on
  • Undervaluing the importance of the full hiring process

Looking at these stats and information, hiring and retaining the right people is clearly important, yet many struggle to successfully and confidently. But that’s understandable, since it’s not an easy process and there’s a lot of unknowns. But we want to help you successfully build your ideal team. Here are a few tips to help make your hiring process more successful, more enjoyable, and less stressful.

Perform a job analysis.
In addition to reading and knowing the basic job description used in your postings and recruiting, take the time to fully understand what’s needed for the role and why. What specific knowledge, skills and abilities will be required? What’s the big-picture plan for this role? Where do you imagine the role in 18 months and so on? If this role will report to another manager or supervisor, ask them to make a list of top skills needed and top projects the role will be responsible for. Asking yourself these questions and having that knowledge ahead of time will help you pinpoint the right skills and personalities in your candidates.

In the interview, use an in-depth, chronological approach.

Following your introductions, etc., start by asking the candidate about their first job experience and then each subsequent job chronologically, while asking the questions below for each position (visit www.topgrading.com for more details):

  • What were your responsibilities and accountabilities?
  • What major challenges did you face?
  • Describe your successes and accomplishments. What were your failures and mistakes?
  • What did you enjoy most and least?
  • Why did you leave?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of your boss?

At first, this may feel stilted or repetitive while going through the questions for each job, but the candidate should catch on quickly with the setup and feel more at ease sharing with authenticity. Starting with their first job and going forward will help them gain confidence in their responses and help you learn more about how they’ve developed personally and professionally over the years. This will also open up opportunities for conversation throughout with less formality. The goal is to help the candidate share genuine feelings and experiences, so you can get an accurate, realistic sense of their fit within your team.

Prior to the interview, have the candidate self-appraise.
Before the interview, ask the candidate to come prepared with a self-appraisal, beginning with their 15 strengths and assets, as well as their 15 weaknesses or areas of improvement. When they begin sharing their list, ask questions and encourage them to elaborate on their responses, so you can create conversation and learn more.

Following each interview, create a scorecard.

After each interview, create a scorecard that assesses their abilities in each of the areas below, based on what they shared and what you were able to learn/conclude.

Intelligence – analytical skills, decision making, strategic skills, risk assessment.

Personality – initiative, organization, independence, stress management, self-awareness, adaptability, drive, enthusiasm, balance in life, creativity, work ethic.

Interpersonal skills – listening, likeability, team orientation, assertiveness, honesty, positivity.

Ask for their best- and worst-case scenarios.

In the final stage of the interview process, ask the candidate to think deeply about what their ideal work scenario would be—and on the flipside, what their worst work situation would be. If they have a spouse or children, ask the candidate to get their thoughts on both scenarios to share too.

Use half-historical and half-future-oriented questions.

During the final stage, circle back to any questions or red flags you have from previous discussions. This will help confirm you have a full, accurate understanding of their intelligence, personality, and interpersonal skills. Use a mix of historical questions (examples from their past) and future-oriented questions (hypothetical scenarios). It’s advisable not to use too many future-oriented questions though, because candidates may start responding with what they think you want to hear rather than truthful answers.

Before making any decisions, review the list of behaviors and skills from your job analysis and compare them with the candidate’s information from your scorecard. This will help you determine if there’s at least a 70% fit between your job requirements and their skills—the minimum goal you should be shooting for. You should also assess the gap between where they are now and where they’ll need to be in 12-18 months to be successful. It’s unlikely you’ll find a candidate that’s 100% fit, so build a growth plan for the position, including monthly check-ins, to continually close that gap.

As previously mentioned, the hiring process can be tough. From just a few interviews, it’s difficult to fully know if a candidate will be an ideal team member for the next five, 10 or 20 years. But by using the techniques discussed, you can learn more about the role you’re hiring for, gain a better understanding of candidates and combine those to make the most informed decision you can.

Beyond all of this, it helps to go into the hiring process with a positive attitude. It should be an exciting time—you’re potentially improving your team and your practice, while helping someone else improve their life. Use it as an opportunity to better understand your people, and help candidates better understand themselves. With that approach, you’ll create a more authentic, enjoyable, and meaningful experience for everyone involved.

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