Mar 13, 2019 | 2 Minute Read

Practice Rescue: 3 Tips to Hiring the Right Candidate

yellow hooded girl

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 to fill?

A dentist client recently told me that she was so desperate to fill an open dental assistant position in her practice that she hired the first candidate that applied, despite the "yellow flags" she sensed when she was interviewing the candidate. These same warning signs resurfaced during the employee's 90-day onboarding/contingency period.


What are yellow flags?

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level. The applicant does not quite give us the obvious red flag that would disqualify that person from consideration, but rather shows elements that cause some sort of underlying concern that he or she may not be the ideal fit. Often, we feel in our gut that something just isn't right, but not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is, we may be inclined to hire anyway. Dismissing those gut feelings can come back to haunt us, especially if we overvalue the candidate's potential due to an urgency to fill the open position.

Three examples of yellow flags during the interview process may include the following:

  1. Workplace timelines do not add up on the candidate's resume.

  2. The candidate is very eager, or even aggressive, about securing employment with your practice.

  3. The candidate offers openly negative discussions regarding a previous employer and that employer’s work environment.

3 tips

How do we avoid getting sucked into a yellow-flag employee?

  1. Use words in your job posting to describe your practice and the position that would attract the type of candidate 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 also looking for a great fit. You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

  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 with several current members of the staff prior to making an official job offer.

Green, yellow, red

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning and nothing throughout the process gives any indication to doubt those signs. Yellow flags are more common when you find someone that has some, but not all, of what you are looking for in an ideal candidate.

These yellow flags are not to be confused with red flags that come with candidates who have a criminal or drug history, are not a cultural fit with your organization or simply possess an incapacity to do the job. On the racetrack, yellow indicates caution. If your candidate is causing you to raise the yellow flag, I suggest you proceed with caution before offering that person a position.


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Corrine Jameson-Kuehl

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