Ready, aim, hire

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Wow, that was fun!  And this time, I’m not even being sarcastic.

It was also a learning experience.  I had never hired, or–ahem, signed a contract–with anyone before.

Let me make this very clear: we did not Hire an Employee.  We found ourselves an Independent Contractor and played Let’s Make a Deal.

And get this: everybody won.

The journey to the end was very interesting, though, and I learned a few things along the way.  I’ll take this time to shout out to those who applied…well, most of them.  Either way, they won’t really know who this is unless they really start piecing things together, so it probably won’t make any difference.

I learned that when you post an ad for a job opening, and you instruct applicants to introduce themselves, you have to reinforce that.  Some of the responses were “I’m Brian.  Call me [phone number]”.  OK, let’s get one thing straight.  I’m a potential employer, not a date.  Also, you’re going to be working with people, people who are sick, in pain, and/or apprehensive.  Don’t come off like a disinterested robot.  Perhaps I should’ve followed the “introduce yourself” riff up with something like, “tell us a little bit about yourself”.

I already knew that people LIE on resumes (so a “hi” and a resume alone weren’t even going to warrant a response from us beyond an offer to come fill out an application), and I also knew that some people present a very different picture of themselves in an interview than they actually are, but it was interesting to watch the latter in action.  One interviewed very well, to the point where when I asked about strengths and weaknesses (a cliche question that I know is BS and I ask anyway because I want to see what a canned response looks like and I want to see what it is they’re NOT saying), this person literally stated that they didn’t really have any weaknesses.  Is that possible?  I’m almost uneasy about hiring someone who 1) doesn’t think they have any weaknesses or room for self-improvement or 2) resorts to the stale trick of trying to pass off an excessive positive as their weakness.  Please.  Don’t waste my time and then insult my intelligence on top of it.

I was surprised at how many people emailed me their interest in the job, attached their resume, received my reply to them (which said, thank you for your interest, please stop by sometime this week to fill out an app), and then never came in.  I was amused when one person (who had emailed a simple “hi. Call me [number]” called well after hours the day after the stop-by-and-apply deadline to leave me a stoner voice mail saying they tried to come in earlier but things kept “coming up”.  Wow, I’m impressed.  If this is the best foot you have to put forward to get a job in the first place, what are your true colors going to be when you actually work here?  Are things just going to keep coming up when you have appointments to show up for?

I was also surprised to learn that there are about as many different types of resume as there are applicants.  I figured there was a standard resume template out there that everybody pretty much followed.  Wrong.  Some did indeed list their objective at the top (some of which were so canned and uncompelling that it wasn’t funny, and some of which I could totally agree with).  People were eager to tell me what else they could do, but they failed to read the job posting; we really only needed someone to do massage.  Medical billing and insurance wrangling is nice, but we have someone to do that when the time comes.  That’s great that you’re ASL-certified and that you’re well-versed in customer service phone work.  I need you to work Trigger Points.

I was a little taken aback by the person who got too personal too quick.  I’m glad that this person is a devoted parent who cares about their children; I don’t want to hear about it.

First, I can’t legally ask about it (whether or not you’re married or have kids), so volunteering this info puts me in an awkward position, because if I decide not to hire you (for any reason, even if totally unrelated), and I know you’re a single parent with young kids, there’s a chance you’re going to cry discrimination even if that’s not even close to the truth, and I might have a tough time defending my reasons.

Also, that’s great that you’re into your kids.  You should be.  But my advice is to leave the personal baggage at the door, and don’t bring it into my office.  I don’t need to hear about your kids or your ex or your financial woes all day long.  And, in the back of my mind, I’m wondering exactly how much of a financial burden you’re going to be on my business (i.e. asking for extra paid sick/vacation time, etc).

Which brings me to my next point.  (Doesn’t it always?)

I was flabbergasted at the number of people who were obviously looking to warm a seat and expect a new fledgling practice to provide them a full-time hourly position with benefits, without having to lift much of a finger themselves.

For the record, I clearly stated in several places that this job was independent contract.  I didn’t hide that fact.  Independent contract means just that: no paid training, no benefits, no paid time off, no retirement, no health insurance.  You get paid for the work you do, and you’re responsible for everything else.  You get to buy your own health insurance, pay your own taxes, pay for your own training, and save for your own retirement.  Like I always did.  I don’t blame anyone for seeking these things, but I do chastise people who don’t take the time to read the posting.

I was also surprised at the people who were willing to relocate over 300 miles to work in a new office.  Really?  I also have to wonder if they read the ad.  I’d probably work at a startup business, but I most certainly wouldn’t relocate, much less 300 miles, to do so.  It’s bad enough that we’re new to town AND new to practice.  It takes enough energy just to go around, meet people, net work, make friends, explain ourselves, who we are, and what we do, just for two of us; I’m certainly not in a position to pull the extra weight of a third person nobody knows.

The person that got the job?  Down-to-earth!  She works at one of those massage therapy mills and is ready to branch into better options and transition out of there.  She shows up reliably.  She had a resume and I looked at it (I look at all resumes; you took the time to make one and send it, so even if they don’t mean a lot in the long run, I’ll certainly give you the courtesy of seriously looking at it), but frankly I was more interested in her drama-free personality, her willingness to learn, her ratio of clients who requested her specifically, her humility, and her ability to answer the hard questions directly without beating around the bush, steering the conversation away from the direct answer, or fluffing her feathers up.  She read the job ad, didn’t expect benefits or anything, just wants to do her job, have fun, and serve her patients the best she can.  Oh, and she keeps taking small handfuls of our cards, and I’m sure she’s not just doing it for show, only to scatter them in a ditch somewhere.  She’s the kind of person who is into giving back.  I hope she sticks around forever.  Not that the hiring process isn’t entertaining, but the entertainment isn’t exactly free.

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