Now that you’ve narrowed it down to a few great candidates, the moment of truth is here: your potential new team member is walking into the office.

But if you’re thinking this is the moment of reckoning, when you’ll get to size up the candidate for yourself, hold that thought. You’ve got a biased view of this candidate.

You probably have had a lot of interaction (on paper and via phone) with this person already, and you’re invested in the hope that you can finally hire someone and get started on training.

But there’s a preliminary step. To skip this step means giving up the most powerful weapon at your disposal: the opinion of your front office staff.

Even before you get a look at the candidate, you can learn a lot by checking in with your reception staff for their immediate impressions.

First of all, ask about punctuality—did the candidate arrive a few minutes early? Or is the candidate a two minutes before the scheduled interview time, leaving you to expect a flustered and self-conscious job candidate coming through the door any moment to make an excuse about traffic?

There’s an old saying about how the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, and yet I hear doctors complain all the time about employees who never show up to work on time.

I bet you if we were to turn back the hands of time, that same employee did not show up to his or her interview on time.

Also, pull your front desk staff aside for a moment so that you can get any relevant feedback about the candidate’s waiting room behaviors.

If the candidate was rude to your staff or patients in the waiting area, or left a mess at the complimentary coffee station, you need to know about it as part of the total picture.

Don’t discount the power of your current staff to size up potential teammates.

If you trust your staff—and I hope you do—then you should give their opinion equal weight with yours.

In the next installment, I’ll explain how to use a combination of rational judgment and gut instinct when you do finally meet the job candidate yourself.

Join me for Part 10 of this series to find out how a directed first impression gives the most accurate estimate of whether a candidate is the right person for the job.

Find Hiring Rock Star Employees, Part 10: The Power of a First Impressions, here.

 

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