Screening Applicants

The Group Interview

Finding a new employee is a very time consuming process. To consolidate efforts and streamline the initial stage of the interview and selection process, have all of the applicants who meet the basic criteria come into the office for a group interview session. The purpose for this is that it consolidates the office manager’s efforts, giving you an opportunity to get a look at the applicants and screen out those whom you do not care to invest any more time in. The finalists from this segment will then be invited back for an in-depth individual interview.
Once you have collected all of the resumes from your advertising, go through them and screen out those that do not have the qualifications you are looking for. Take into consideration whether or not the applicant included a cover letter and whether that letter really communicates something about the applicant. Look at the experience, background and talents being conveyed in the resume and letter.

The First Interview

Phone those applicants that appear to be the very best and schedule them to come into your office to fill out an application. During this phone call you can rate their phone voice and composure and get a bit of a feel for their willingness. Make notations on the resume. Schedule all of the applicants for the same time, e.g., an evening after work or on a Saturday morning.

Make preparations ahead of time. Have packets of paperwork ready for each of your applicants. Their packets will contain an application, a questionnaire, a sheet that they will fill in with their employment goals and what their understanding of a practice is. They will also be asked to write a brief collections letter and sign an Authorization for Release of Information form.

When the applicants arrive, welcome them and deliver a brief statement (10 minutes or less) about the practice, its purpose/mission and the position. Then, direct them to the pre-printed packets handed out. Have them:


  1. Fill out their Job Application Essays.
  2. Fill out their Hiring Questionnaire. Asking them what your practice is about, its purpose, the position that they are applying for and a few negative and positive things about the position or practice.
  3. Write a brief letter to a client who has an overdue account (which gives you a good indication of how the person deals with others on sensitive matters).
  4. Sign and date the Authorization for Release of Information form.

As the applicants complete their forms, rate them on their appearance (1-5) and take them individually into a private office to conduct a brief interview (about 5 minutes for this first interview). This will give you a feel for the person.

Before your applicants leave, give them each a card for a complimentary exam at your office. (This is optional, but could garner a new patient even if not hired). Thank them all for coming in and let them know that they will be hearing from you within the next couple of days.

Evaluating Your Applicants

After your applicants leave, you can go over what you know about them so far by rating them each in the following categories:

The Application:

  • Is it neat and legible?
  • Is it thorough?
  • Does this person “job hop?”
  • Are there unexplained lapses in employment history?

The Employment Goals:

  • Is the spelling, punctuation, grammar and composition correct?
  • What do this person’s goals tell you about him/her?
  • Do his/her goals indicate that he/she is looking for a long-term position?

The Collections Letter:

  • Is the spelling, punctuation, grammar and composition correct?
  • Is this letter friendly yet firm?
  • Does this letter actually communicate?

Their Written Version of the Purpose of your Practice:

  • Is the person’s basic understanding of the purpose of the practice correct?
  • Does the person’s articulate and communicate effectively?
  • Does the statement convey the attitude you are looking for in the position you are filling?
  • Does the person focus on the negative or the positive aspects of the position/practice?

After the Interview:

Based on what you know at this point, you will be able to determine whom you wish to have back for a second interview.

Phone those applicants and schedule them for their second interview, which you will schedule separately (since it will take longer than the first interview).

  • Send reference letter request forms to former employers of your final applicants.
  • Send rejection letters to those applicants who did not qualify for the second interview.

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