An interview is the best way of finding the right person to work in your practice. It is a two-way process for both you and the candidate as they will also need to decide if your practice is the right place for them.
Here are a few tips to increase your chances of choosing the right person for the job.
- Research – What kind of person are you looking for? Personality? Skills? Experience? What is essential and what is desirable? Have you prepared a job specification for the role outlining the duties and responsibilities? Does the role have a career progression? Think about what the applicant might want to know. Be organised.
- Prepare – Make sure that everyone who needs to meet the candidate will be there. Let the candidate know who they are meeting, directions to the practice and a copy of the job specification so that they can prepare too. Decide on the format of the interview and let the candidate know how long it will take and what you need them to bring. (i.e. work wear or instruments) Have a copy of the applicant’s CV, your questions, a notepad and pen and a spare copy of the job spec to hand. This will help you stay focused.
- First Impressions Count – Make sure you staff know who is coming for interview and that they make the person feel welcome. They might offer their impressions of the candidate. Try and be on time for the interview and look presentable. Smile, introduce yourself and put the candidate at ease, you will get more out of them by making them feel comfortable. You might want to sit around a coffee table and offer them a drink. Make sure you are not going to be disturbed. Let the candidate know the structure to the interview and let them know you are going to be making notes. You might want to talk about the company background and job role.
- The Interview – Ask questions that are going to give you the information you need to make the right decision. Try and find out what the applicants strengths and weaknesses are. Ask about gaps in the CV and anything else that might concern you. Find out more about the types of practices the applicant has worked for and the responsibilities and skills they had in those jobs. You might want to ask how they felt about certain situations. Listen and encourage the applicant to expand on their answers by asking open-ended questions like who, what, where, when, how and why. Give them time to think and speak. The interview is an opportunity for you to see what kind of person the applicant is and might give you and indication on how they might react to your clients. Make sure you give the applicant an opportunity to ask you any questions. Make sure you take lots of notes so that you can refer to them later, but keep them objective to avoid being accused of discrimination. You will need these to help you make a final decision.
- Feedback – Let the candidate know what happens next: are you going to be doing second interviews? Do they need to come in for a half day and work? When will you be making a decision? You might want to give them an indication of salary as this will also influence the candidate’s decision. Make notes on what you have agreed. Be prepared to give them constructive feedback if the are unsuccessful. Write back to all your applicants as soon as possible.
Once the right applicant starts working for you here are a few things you might want to give them to help them settle in quicker
- Tour of the practice, info on alarms, etc
- Organisational chart – who is who
- Copy of the rota
- Crib sheet outlining things like when do you finish puppy vaccinations, the brand of flea and wormers you use and how you organise your pharmacy shelves….until they get used to it all.
- A handbook or manual with procedures such as health and safety, fire & evacuation, security, uniform policies, disciplinary and complaints procedures etc
- Contact numbers and addresses, especially for emergencies
- Local map and info on local shops and things to do
You can find a lot more help on the internet on preparing and conducting an interview and we hope our tips are useful to you. Good luck!