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September 2, 2002
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McKenzie's Weekly Management e-Motivator---Issue #27
Interview Before the Interview
When Dr. Ray gave Mary
the figure, her face turned ashen. She looked like she had just
been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He tried to cover his tracks,
stammering, floundering, red-faced, and completely unprepared for
the reaction. “It’s not that bad, really. We can work
with it. I’ll see what I can do,” he pleaded. Dr. Ray’s
applicant, Mary, was a practically perfect candidate. She had a
clear command of dental terminology, five years’ experience,
an ambitious problem solver, and sterling references. She appeared
to be as impressed with Dr. Ray and his practice as he was with
her. The problem: Mary’s salary expectations were completely
out of line with what Dr. Ray had to offer.
Salary is a touchy subject,
but it is one of a few issues that will likely make or break an
applicant’s consideration for the position. It’s best
to get a sense of those issues well before you invest the time,
energy, and expense of holding face-to-face interviews. Conduct
initial telephone screenings and use them to address the most pressing
concerns upfront. For example, if the position is going to require
working evenings and weekends, you need to know now if that is a
problem for the applicant.
- When making the call
to applicants offer just the basics. “Hello
Mary, this is Dr. Roger Ray and I’m calling regarding the
résumé you sent to my office for the business assistant
position. I’m a general practitioner located off Business
54, and as the ad stated I am looking for a full-time business
assistant.” Don’t try to sell the position.
- If there are gaps
in employment history now is the time to find out why.
- Ask the applicant
what salary range they are expecting.
- Find out if the applicant
has a “must have” list for future employment and what
is on the list.
- Pay attention to
the applicant’s tone, attitude, and grammar on the phone,
particularly if the position requires handling patient phone calls.
- If you know from
the telephone interview that this is not a candidate you are interested
in pursuing exit gracefully, “Thank you for
taking the time to speak with me. I still have other applicants
to contact. Then I will choose four candidates to interview further.
I will contact you next week if you are selected.”
Save yourself and your
applicant time and frustration, get a few of the major issues on
the table before you sit down with candidates face-to-face.
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- Use the treatment
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when the appointment is made.
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