tasks this person could not do well. She was frazzled, and I was very disappointed.
On top of that, the extensive optical experience chalked up to years of bad habits. I'm not opposed to polycarbonate, but for every single patient? I started noticing unhappy patients who were first-time progressive wearers. Once I explained the lenses to them at their rechecks, all was fine, but where was this education on the front end and at the dispense? Fortunately, this person resigned before I had the chance to let her go because she realized her own shortcomings. However, this sparked the thought, "How can I avoid this in the future?"
The next time around, I had my key optician create a short written test that asked simple questions about which lens materials they would use with certain prescriptions or patients, how to measure a PAL and PDs, definitions of basic terminology, and the like. This helped me determine what knowledge base the candidate had in optical, regardless of "years of experience." The test also included some simple math questions to show ability to apply discounts.
We also created a little optical practical: adjust a pair of moderately out-of-shape spectacles, replace a pair of nosepads, pretend that one of my employees was a patient and style that patient (you could create any sort of prescription you wanted to for this "pretend" shopping).
The final item was computer literacy. We asked candidates to demonstrate simple tasks: open a browser window, pull up a Word document, search for (fill in the blank) on the Internet. This showed us their level of comfort in working with the computer and also how fast they cruised through the requests.
These tests and skill demonstrations were wonderful in helping to weed out those who had minimal skills or whose idea of optical selling/education was not in line with my office mantra. Depending on the candidate, we could either decide to nix them from the potential list or keep them on, knowing exactly where we would need to spend our time training them.
The next time I hired a staff member, these few changes to my interview process proved invaluable in helping pick the educated and well-rounded from the not-so-on-the-ball candidates. Hope this helps you in your interview process!
Education and Networking for Optometry Students and New ODs
October 6-9, 2010
Join us for free continuing education sessions taught by the profession's leaders, exclusive networking events in the hottest spots on the strip, and a show floor unrivaled in the US – all this and more in Las Vegas during International Vision Expo West.
Free Session for Students:
21st Century Optometry: Eyes Wide Open to YOUR Future!
Saturday, October 9, 1:00 – 2:30pm, Not for Credit
Patrick Higuera & Rene Soltis
Click here for more information.