Clip and Copy: What to ask job candidates

September 5, 2003

By listening carefully and letting applicants do most of the talking, you'll increase your chances of finding the perfect new hire.

By listening carefully and letting applicants do most of the talking, you'll increase your chances of finding the perfect new hire.

To fill a job opening, start by reviewing resumes, then use the telephone as a screening tool. Explain what the position requires, and ask applicants about their qualifications and experience. "People who can't express themselves clearly, stay focused, and respond to basic questions on the phone probably will not be able to manage well in a busy office," says Diane M. Cate, a consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, CA. "You'll save a lot of time if you eliminate more than half the candidates by phone screening," Cate adds.

Invite appealing prospects to your office for a face-to-face interview. During that exchange, use the form below (from Medical Practice Forms: Every Form You Need to Succeed, by Cate and her colleague Keith C. Borglum) to ask questions that elicit more than one-word answers and allow you to gauge the applicant's intelligence, poise, and interest. Ask for clarification of vague answers, like "I've had varied job experiences" or "I left my last position because I had a dispute with a colleague." Make brief notes, then complete the form immediately after the interview. Pay special attention to the applicant's body language and to any hesitation in answering questions.

There's no "pass" or "fail" grade for the rating scale at the bottom of the form, but you can use it to compare applicants and shorten the list of candidates

—Gail Garfinkel Weiss
Senior Editor

To view the form in Word you must have Word 2000 or better. If you don't have this program you can download the free Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer. (You cannot edit an open document in Word Viewer. However, you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications).

Other forms and patient handouts are available in the Clip and Copy section of our Web site at www.memag.com .



Gail Weiss. Clip and Copy: What to ask job candidates. Medical Economics Sep. 5, 2003;80:80.