In an eyecare practice, or any small business for that matter, it can be hard to hire and hang on to the best employees. With some positions in an eyecare practice offering lower end wages it can be hard to find good talent that won't cost you an arm and a leg. And, once you do find that valuable employee, how do you keep them happy in your practice for the long term?
A big recurring question seems to be whether you should hire for experience/knowledge, or hire a more personable worker who might take a little longer to train. Depending on your current staff and the roles in your office, there isn't always a clear cut right or wrong way to go about it. We pulled together some different thoughts and approaches we've seen others take when it comes to hiring in a practice. Hopefully an idea or two from this list will help you determine how to go about looking for your next rockstar employee!
7 Tips to Help You Hire Your Next Rockstar
Hire Someone Smarter Than You
If you're looking to make improvements and changes to the staff in your office, this is one way to do it. Sometimes it's easy to feel threatened by people who are smarter than you, but this is a great way to improve your practice. Maybe your next employee has a background in marketing, EHR software, customer service, or IT. If you hire someone who has experience or knowledge in something totally different than your expertise it could have big benefits for your business!
Don't be Scared of Inexperience
Inexperience isn't always a bad thing. Most job seekers worry about their experience level when writing their resume for jobs they may not feel they are qualified for. But, the best thing about inexperience, is that the candidate is more likely to be easily trainable without any pre-disposed bad working habits picked up at an old practice. So if a candidate is smart, personable, and a good fit for your practice, don't let their inexperience be the one thing to scare you away.
Leave Room for Growth
No matter the position, just about everyone in search of a new job will be excited about the opportunity for future growth. That could be something as simple as starting an employee on a probation wage that leads to a raise after a proven 3-6 months of work. Or, changes in job titles leading up to manager level roles with more responsibilities. Depending on what you're able to offer, growth opportunities can be very motivating to the right individual. If you give an employee the most you can offer right away, they might lack motivation down the road.
Networking is an important part of finding the right candidates in your employee search. If you're constantly putting your business out there in the forefront you're likely to find better, more interested candidates along the way. Whether or not someone is actively out looking for a job, if they know of your opportunities it's something they can think about the moment they are looking for a switch.
Look at Certifications
Certifications on a resume are proof that the candidate shows initiative in their career and is constantly looking for ways to make themselves more valuable. It also shows that they have their career in mind and that they aren't just looking in the short term. Ambitious people are great to have around. Some certifications that should be standing out on resumes include CPO (Certified Paraoptometric), CPOA (Certified Paraoptometric Assistant), or CPOT (Certified Paraoptometric Technician).
Have a Written or Working Test
It's easy for some people to talk their way through an interview. So it's good to have a balance of techniques at your disposal before making a decision. Some practice's will use a skills or working test to determine if a candidate has the knowledge and skills necessary for the position. Here's a few different skills tests that you can use in your next employee search:
- Tell me How to Make a PB&J Sandwich - This is a great test to get a better idea for the candidates problem solving, writing, communication skills, and attention to detail.
- Patient Role Play - If you're hiring for sales or an optician this is a good chance to see how they interact with patients, communicate, and if they have working knowledge of common optical terms and processes.
- Basic Math, Grammar, English - If you're hiring for an office manager role it's important that the candidate is well-rounded. A simple, math, grammar, and english test is a good way to get a sense of their abilities.
- Optical Terms/Knowledge - If a candidate has optical experience on their resume, make sure that they are familiar with basic terms and processes that should be familiar to those who have held previous optical roles.
Hire for Office Fit
Having a team of employees that get along well will go a long way. They will be happier in the work place, and therefore more pleasant for customers and patients to interact with. So if you come across a candidate that might not fit all of the qualifications that you're looking for, but is a great fit with your current employees, it might be a good enough case to make the hire!
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