In the May 2007 issue of Dental Economics, there’s an excellent article titled: “Hiring a great team.” In that article, the authors say the following.

“No management function is more critical than the ability to hire qualified and competent people. Dental schools tend not to provide any help in this area. As a result, this all-important task can be – at its best – overwhelming, mysterious, and challenging, and – at its worst – a pure gamble.”

That’s not just true for dental offices. It’s true for most small businesses.

If you run a smaller business, you probably didn’t start your business to master the art of hiring good people. You started it because you wanted to run a retail store that appealed to your passion. Or you liked working in construction and thought that you could do better on your own.

Whatever the case, you’re going to have to hire. If you want to get great people on your team and avoid lawsuits for things like negligent hiring, you need to do it right.

The authors of the Dental Economics article outline good hiring for a dental office. Here’s my version for everyone else.

Have a process. Your process should attract lots of candidates so that you can narrow your search down to the good ones.

Know what you’re looking for. Before you start, make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal employee will be.

Include different evaluations in your process. The authors of the Dental economics article state that: “Statistically, using a job interview as the principal recruiting strategy has a success rate of only about 14 percent.”

Early in the process, let prospects know that you will be checking references and doing a background check. That will usually help people with suspect pasts decide they really don’t want to work for you.

Obey the law. Make sure you understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and how it applies to you. For the basics, see Understanding the FCRA for Employment Screening.

Follow your process. Take the time for interviews. Do your background and reference checks. Don’t rush.

Don’t settle. Unsuitable employees will cost you time, money and aggravation. Great employees will make you money and make your life easier. They’re worth screening for.

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