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When your staffing needs are immediate, you may be tempted to expedite available candidates and minimize their shortcomings. Protect your practice by implementing effective processes to find and hire solid employees.
Moviegoers love a case of mistaken identity, especially when the mix-up has characters taking on jobs for which they are wholly unsuited. While it may be entertaining to watch a rock star try to teach elementary school or a precocious teen evade the FBI as an airline pilot, the reality of dealing with an employee who has misrepresented their competencies is not nearly as fun.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings. And that’s just the monetary cost — other considerations are the loss of dental practice production and the labor loss of current employees being distracted and slowed by training. There’s also a potential negative impact on employee morale when a new team member isn’t a good fit.
While bad hires come in several forms, candidates who misrepresent their competencies are the most frequent topic of calls to The Dentists Insurance Company’s Risk Management Advice Line.
A sampling of phone calls received by the Advice Line reveals some unfortunate similarities.
There’s a simple adage that applies to these situations: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Both bad hires could have been detected as unqualified candidates before they were hired had a few essential steps been taken to vet their qualifications and capabilities during the screening and interview process. When these filters are in place, you essentially refine your pool of candidates to avoid costly and time-consuming hiring mistakes.
Michelle Coker, employment analyst at the California Dental Association, explains, “The job description will guide you when reviewing resumes and applications and in crafting your interview questions. Narrow down your pool of candidates through the job description.”
Beyond the hiring process, a well-defined job description will assist the employer as a reference when providing performance feedback and, if needed, the development of a performance improvement plan. Your documentation of their job description is essential should any employee not meet the expectations of the role and you find it necessary to end the relationship.
Too often, employers decide that a resume and cover letter will provide all the information they need to know about a candidate. Not requiring the candidate to fill out a job application is a missed opportunity for filtering out potential bad hires.
There are several advantages to having job seekers fill out a job application along with submitting their resume:
When creating an application, it’s important to be mindful of the employment laws that exist to protect potential employees from discrimination. Use a state-specific application that includes, at minimum, a basic waiver that allows the employer to check past employment, personal references and education.
Once you have identified candidates who can fulfill the duties of the job description and who have accurately portrayed their qualifications, an interview is the next step in the filtration process. Maintain consistency in the questions you ask other candidates applying for the same job as a basis for equitable comparison. Make sure to keep copies of the application questions and answers in case they need to be referred to later.
TDIC’s Risk Management analysts provide additional tips for vetting the knowledge, skills and expertise of clinical staff.
When your staffing needs are immediate, you may be tempted to expedite available candidates and minimize their shortcomings. Frequent staff changes can reflect negatively on patients’ perceptions of your business practices, impact morale of existing staff and create an emotional and financial drain for practice owners. Protect your practice by implementing effective processes to find and hire solid employees. Your patients, your employees and your practice will all be the grateful beneficiaries of your careful screening procedures.
TDIC’s Risk Management Advice Line is a benefit of CDA membership. Schedule a consultation with an experienced risk management analyst or call 800.733.0633. Reprinted with permission from the California Dental Association, copyright April 2022.