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How to Hire an Audiology Rock Star

Alvarez, Indira, AuD

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000553578.77348.3b
Practice Management

Dr. Alvarez is an experienced audiologist who was in private practice for over ten years in Tampa, FL. She now exclusively works with clients all over the country as a business coach and strategist. Connect with her at indy@indyalvarez.com.

What could your audiology practice achieve if every member of your team was a rock star? Many practice owners and managers have reported that recruitment and retention are some of the most difficult aspects of their job. Determining whether a potential candidate is a proper fit for your organization doesn't have to be daunting. Consider the following process to approach hiring with a strategy—and not just wing it.

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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND ROCK STARS?

Rock stars are scarce. On paper, may they look like everyone else, but it's nearly impossible to determine if someone is a genuine rock star by his or her resume. Sometimes, you may not even know exactly what you're looking for. You may have an idea of certain characteristics or qualifications, but it can be a bit of a treasure hunt to find your ideal candidate. Though we often feel the pressure of hiring someone immediately, acknowledge that finding the best person can take time.

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INSTINCT VS. AN EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACH

Far too many business owners and hiring managers rely on their gut feeling or perceptions as their primary guide when hiring. Only a few take an evidence-based approach to hiring. But this gut-based methodology can be flawed as some applicants may only tell you what you want to hear to simply get hired. Reading people can be unreliable, as some may try to mislead you by presenting themselves as qualified applicants. Some applicants may know all the right answers, but that does not necessarily reflect how they will perform on the job.

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10 STEPS TO HIRING A ROCK STAR

To guide you in finding your next rock star to join your team, follow this 10-step blueprint.

Step 1. Commit to the process. One of the most important concepts in team building is that it takes time to hire a team of quality people. The average time it takes to hire someone is 23 days.1 This number can vary depending on the type of position you're hiring for. Commit to the hiring process by ensuring that you conduct multiple interviews and keep a high standard. If a candidate is not an appropriate fit, you will do your practice and the candidate a disservice by making a hasty hire.

Step 2. Set the bar high. Be selective about who you bring into your team. A survey by CareerBuilder found that companies lost an average of $14,900 on every bad hire in 2016, and three in four employers reported hiring candidates who turned out to be a bad fit.2 Yes, you may have to bear the adverse effects of having the position empty, but the monetary cost and time wasted due to an improper hire will far outweigh the loss.

Step 3. Clearly define who you are looking for beyond the job description. Look beyond the job description and key points in an applicant's resume. You must consider whether he or she is a proper fit for the culture of your organization. Geoff Smart and Randy Street from ghSmart have designed a scorecard of aspects to consider when making hiring decisions.3

Mission = What is their primary objective?

Outcome = What do you expect them to achieve?

Competencies = What skills/talents do they possess that relate to what you need?

Step 4. Dive deep. When hiring rock stars, you must dive deep and avoid generalists. Rock stars are products of discipline and dedication to honing a specific talent or skill. Be wary of generalists who are often quick on their feet and adaptable as they tend to present themselves well.

However, if you're looking for a generalist, be sure to keep that in mind during the hiring process. If you are looking for a strong dispensing audiologist, then chances are they will not be adept at starting a vestibular clinic, and vice versa. You may not want a generalist unless you're looking for someone to support and fill in for audiologists with different specialties. Either way, set the right bait to attract the right people. Be clear about your desired qualifications for the role and design your hiring campaign to target the right prospects.

Step 5. Consider your organization's culture. Take the time to define your organization's culture and create a mold to help determine how an applicant fits into it. Just because someone has the qualifications on paper does not mean that he or she is the ideal candidate for your organization. When we bring people into our teams, they become a part of our lives and have a drastic impact on the quality of life of every member of the team.

Step 6. Explore your own network. Tap your personal and professional networks to see if they know anyone who would be an appropriate candidate. Peruse Facebook and other social media platforms to see if you have anyone who might be a great fit. One advantage to tapping into your own network is that it consists of people who know you and thus may have a good idea of who you would or would not connect with on professional and personal levels.

Explore other tools too such as standard employment websites or those specific to the industry, a career page on your clinic's website, printed flyers, or other forms of advertisement.

Step 7. Screen, Interview, Interview, Interview, and Check References. That's not a typo. You actually need to interview each candidate three times. Screening potential candidates for your organization can differ significantly depending on the type of position that you are looking to fill.

The purpose of a 15- to 20-minute screening phone call is to weed out any candidates who are clearly not a good fit. Stay consistent with the questions that you use to screen each applicant. Educating the candidate on the hiring process will also help the candidate know what to expect.

Having multiple interviews will allow you to really get to know the person you are considering for your team. It is shocking how many organizations meet with applicants once for one hour and then trust them to handle highly sensitive tasks.

The first interview is geared toward getting to know the candidates—their level of interest in the open position, their previous and/or current jobs, and their career goals. The second interview focuses on questions to evaluate a candidate's skills and proficiency. In the third interview, a candidate usually meets with key members of the organization. If you are going to add a member to your team, then it is absolutely vital that he or she connects with your staff members. And do not forget to check references!

Step 8. Refer to data when making hiring decisions. After building your blueprint, screening candidates, and collecting the necessary data, your next step is to thoroughly review all collected information. You may find one or two candidates who stand out clearly from the rest, but make sure to adhere to the hiring process.

Step 9. Make a strong offer. After all the time and effort invested in cultivating a potential alliance with your ideal rock star, it would be terrible to let him or her slip through your grasp by failing to make a strong offer.

Consider the level of quality and effort you will expect from them, as well as the level of dedication they may commit to your practice. If you followed this hiring blueprint, you should have a good idea of what your potential candidate values and how best to communicate your offer.

Don't be cheap! Keep in mind that you are likely not the only employer that would find an applicant appealing. Be prepared to negotiate as they might have other offers on the table.

Step 10. Hire Slow, Fire Fast. So your new rock star is now part of your team. After six months, you may find that he or she is not the rock star you had anticipated. The only solution is to quickly rip off the band-aid and sever ties. But before doing so, be sure to consider if the issue could be your leadership, management style, or other factors in the clinic.

If you have to part ways with your candidate, don't fret as you already have an existing blueprint to help you find another potential star. However, this blueprint is not a magic pill that will instantly deliver you the perfect hire. It is a data-driven process that you can use to build your ideal team and catapult your business to success.

Thoughts on something you read here? Write to us at HJ@wolterskluwer.com

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REFERENCES

1. Dishman, Lydia. Why the Hiring Process Takes Longer Than Ever. July 13, 2005. https://www.fastcompany.com/3048421/why-the-hiring-process-takes-longer-than-ever
    3. Smart, G, and Street, R. Who: The Method for Hiring. Ballantine Books, NY. 2008.
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