Tips for Preparing for an Interview when You're the Boss - DVM
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Tips for Preparing for an Interview when You're the Boss


DVM Training Room

Almost all tips for interviewing are written to help the person being interviewed do well. What if you're the boss and the one conducting the interview? These tips are for you:

1. Start with the job description. Use it in two ways:

a. Give it to the prospective employee to read and ask them what questions they have about it.

Listen carefully to the types of questions the respondent asks for clues about their interest in the position. If all they ask about is benefits, hours, and pay, what might you conclude about their interest in the job itself?

b. Use the job description to create questions about previous, job-related performance. For instance you might ask a prospective veterinary associate, " What was the most difficult case that you handled and how did you handle it?"

Their answer will give you insight about how they problem-solve on the job: Did they, for instance, consult with a more senior veterinarian? Look up information in textbooks or on the Internet? Keep the client informed?

2. To ensure fairness and consistency, make up a standard list of questions that you ask each person you interview. The purpose of the questions is to gain insight into the candidate's values, character, initiative and working style.

Some sample questions are:

a. What made you decide to apply for this job?
b. What past positions have you enjoyed the most? Why?
c. What past job(s) have you found the most difficult? Why?
d. What have you done that you're the most proud of? Why?
e. Tell me about the most difficult boss you've had. Why was he/she a challenge to work with?
f. Tell me about a crisis that you handled and what you did.
g. Why did you leave your last two jobs?
h. What will your references say about you?

3. Listen 80% and talk 20% of the time during the interview. It is uncomfortable to be silent, but that opens the door for the applicant to talk and that it is how you will learn the most about the person.

4. Ask the applicant about skills that may not normally be part of the job, but that you need and would be willing to give them a chance to use, such as website development, dog training, special project management, or anything else that you need for the practice. Think of this as a "bonus question" that could be used later as a tie-breaker if you end up with two or more good candidates to hire.

5. Give each candidate a numerical score from 1 - 5 for different categories
that are important to the job. This will help you objectively record your impressions while they are fresh and you will not have to rely on memory later. Moreover, after you have interviewed all of the candidates, you will be able to quickly compare their scores and identify the top ones. Possible categories of importance and scoring might look like this:

a. Previous comparable work experience 3.5
b. Professional attitude and appearance 5.0
c. Education/Training/Skills 3.0
d. Interest in this position 5.0
e. Availability to work hours and days required 5.0

Total Score: 21.5

Obviously, this is a candidate with light experience and training for this position, but that fits well in every other way. He/she might be the ideal candidate for a practice that is willing to train someone how to do the job, but not for a practice that requires a seasoned professional.

Interviewing job candidates is as difficult for the person conducting the interview as it is for the person being interviewed. I hope these tips will help make the process a little easier and help you identify the best candidates for your practice.

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Source: DVM Training Room,
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