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Using a team approach in hiring.

Using a team approach in hiring Openings arise even in a tight laboratory job market. When that happens, it is important that your hiring decisions be as good as you can make them.

I have come across some unorthodox suggestions for hiring--who conducts the interviews, how they are done, who makes the final decision. It is a nontraditional approach that may make some laboratory managers and directors uncomfortable. But if it can help you pick the right person, then I think it's worth a try.

The secret to business success, says Tom Peters, coauthor of "In Search of Excellence" and "A Passion for Excellence," is first hiring people who are somewhat above average, then letting them prove their potential on the job. The hiring process he suggests involves first-line supervisors and the applicant's peers as part of an interviewing team; department managers spend the least amount of time interviewing unless a supervisor is being hired.

The interviewing team focuses on the candidate's ability to be a team player, to respond positively to change, and to accept responsibility for his or her own work. During the selection process, the time spent verifying technical and professional abilities is minimal, particularly for an applicant for a supervisory position.

For example, if the lab is hiring a chemistry technologist, then the chemistry supervisor is the primary interviewer. Senior chemistry technologists and other department supervisors, including clerical and support personnel, are also involved to some degree. During interviews, the following questions should be asked:

1. Why do you want to work here?

2. Why should we hire you?

3. What interests you most about this position?

4. What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?

5. What would you like to be doing five years from now?

6. What did you enjoy most in your last job?

7. What did you enjoy least in your last job?

8. What other departments would you like to work in?

9. How do you feel about the changes occurring in the laboratory and in health care in general?

10. How do think your career will be affected?

11. What have you done to prepare yourself for the changes that have occurred and are yet to come in the lab?

12. What kind of supervisor would you most like to work for?

These questions are not part of the traditional selection process, nor is the involvement of supervisors and peers. But the end result can be very positive because the actual selection is made by the people the applicant will be working with. The decision then only requires review and confirmation by the lab manager and/or director.

The approach has the added benefit of fostering accountability by the members of the lab team: They justify their choice by making certain the new hire succeeds.

Before you begin, be sure you have a competency-based, objective position description that accurately reflects the specifics of the job and clearly describes minimum qualifications for performance. Also, employees must understand the hiring process and be able to conduct interviews. In-service programs with role-playing and assigned readings should sufficiently prepare your team.

Picking the right person the first time will spare you future problems. The following checklist emphasizes key points for selecting the best candidate. Keep it handy so you can refer to it.

1. Define job qualifications.

2. Interview the candidate more than once.

3. Get more than one opinion; have associates interview the candidate, too.

4. Make a list of the applicant's strong points and weaknesses.

5. Try to imagine the applicant functioning in the job. What will he or she be good at? Where might the applicant fall down?

6. Check past records. Has the applicant made steady progress and real contributions or is he or she just job hopping?

7. Is the applicant up to the job physically and mentally?

8. What are the applicant's outside interests and do they offer a key to personality?

9. Check references.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Barros, Annamarie
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:column
Date:Oct 1, 1986
Previous Article:No more runaway health care spending.
Next Article:HCFA setting its agenda for reforms to seek in 1988.

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