• Human Resources Series - Recruitment and Selection: Part I of IV
  • January 28, 2016 | Author: Joanne P Rinardo
  • Law Firm: Deutsch Kerrigan LLP - New Orleans Office
  • Job Application

    Most job applications request identifying information, job history, and references. Some questions, however, should be avoided because they are unrelated to the job and could pose some legal exposure. To help develop the application, consider the following:
    • Don’t ask an applicant his or her date of birth except to make sure he/she is over 18 years of age. Once hired, that information becomes relevant for internal reasons such as benefit plans.
    • Review your application to make sure it does not ask for gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin information. You may, however, ask what languages an applicant speaks if your patients speak a language other than English.
    • Asking for the applicant’s education history is relevant only if the job requires a particular level of education.
    • Although questions about prior convictions can be interpreted as discriminatory, such questions might be relevant if your staff will have access to money and/or prescription drugs. That is, it would be relevant to know that an applicant had been convicted of dealing drugs or embezzlement.
    • The application should not inquire about disabilities, health problems, and/or medical conditions.
    • Make sure your job application form clearly states that any misrepresentations by the applicant may result in termination.
    • The applicant should be required to sign the application.
    • Inquiring why an applicant left a former job—i.e. difficulty dealing with the public—might help you eliminate an inappropriate candidate.
    Job Description

    Prepare a job description to be clear in the interview about job duties and your expectations of the employee. This will help you not only during the interview, but also later if there is an issue of employee performance. The job description should include the following:
    • Summary of the general nature of the job and to whom the employee will report.
    • Specific job duties should be as detailed and thorough as possible, describing the specific tasks the employee may be required to perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
    • State whether the employee will be required to interact with the public, work on weekends, and/or travel (from office to office). Include a general requirement such as “to perform other duties as required” to allow flexibility in the job description.
    • If the job will require the use of certain equipment or proficiency with certain software, include this in the job description. Also, identify the level of education or any specific training that might be required and whether the ability to communicate effectively in writing and/or orally is necessary for the job.
    • Be sure to include the ability to work well with patients and other employees as a required skill.
    Job Interview

    The interview is your opportunity to determine whether the applicant will fit into your office and work well with patients. You might ask another staff member to sit in on the interview to get another opinion. Ask the applicant how he or she feels about (and their experience) working with the public in general and sick people in particular.

    Just as in your job application, there are certain do’s and don’ts that can further protect your practice:
    • Don’t ask for any of the above-stated prohibited information.
    • If the applicant appears disabled, you may explain the duties and ask whether he/she would be able to perform each (as discussed in the job description) with or without an accommodation. Do not ask about their disability.
    • Avoid questions regarding marital status, if they have children, or plan to have children. You may ask if the applicant can work the required hours, overtime, or on Saturdays if that is a requirement of the job.
    • Ask why they left prior jobs.
    Background Checks

    Once you have decided an applicant might be a good fit for the office, you should check all references. Be sure to ask not only if he or she was competent, but whether the applicant got along well with patients/clients and co-workers. Had there been complaints from patients about this person? Was punctuality or attendance an issue? Some employers are reluctant to be negative about a former employee. Listen carefully—if the reference avoids answering your question directly, read between the lines!

    Remember: competent, pleasant, and respectful staff may reduce the likelihood of a malpractice claim.