Practice Rescue: 3 tips to hiring the right candidate

By Corinne Jameson-Kuehl, Owner

Image result for maroon flag

The unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and the war for amazing talent is at an all-time high. What can employers do to find the best fit for the position they seek?

A client dentist recently told me that she was so desperate to fill the open dental assistant position in her practice that she hired the first candidate that applied, despite the “maroon flags” she sensed when she was interviewing and then processing through the employee’s 90-day trial time period.

What are maroon flags?

Maroon flags are when we justify a hire that does not meet all our requirements on a skill or personality level. The applicant does not quite give us the obvious red flag, rather adds in a mix of the cautious yellow flags or warning signs. Often, we feel in our gut something just isn’t right but we hire anyway, dismissing those feelings for fear of the unknown or that we might be overthinking the candidate’s potential.

Three examples of maroon flags could include the following:

  1. Workplace timelines do not add up on the candidate’s resume.
  2. The candidate is very eager or aggressive about securing employment with your practice.
  3. The candidate offers openly negative discussions regarding a previous employer and environment.

3 Tips

How do we avoid getting sucked into a maroon-flag employee?“We feel in our gut something just isn’t right but we hire anyway.”

  1. Use words in your job posting to describe your practice and the position that would attract what you are looking for, such as “growth-minded” or “fast-paced.” You want to sell the position. Great candidates are not just looking for a job, they are looking for a great fit too.
  2. Ask yourself if the candidates applying for the position are hungry for more? Are they teachable and passionate for growth in your business? Initiative cannot be taught.
  3. Ensure you have a system in place for true references, background checks, and interview processes prior to making an offer.

Maroon flags are not to be confused with the red flag of a criminal or drug history, or simply an incapacity to do the job, it is something we can’t sometimes put our finger on.