Recruiting tip: Kindness counts more than performance

There is more to hiring employees than determining how well they will perform, especially in healthcare. A highly skilled doctor who nonetheless treats coworkers poorly, for example, is likely to cost your practice more than he or she generates, according to an article from Harvard Business Review.

While a "superstar" employee adds about $5,000 per year to a company's profits, a toxic one costs an astonishing $12,000 per year, according to research cited by the article. "The real difference could even be greater if you factor in other potential costs, such as the spread of the toxicity, litigation fees, lower employee morale and upset customers," wrote Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

The main quality to assess to weed out toxic candidates, according to Porath, is civility. But you can't get a true sense of a person's civility just by asking standard interview questions. Consider the following techniques to learn more:

  • Talk to non-interviewers about their impressions. While candidates are likely to be on their best behavior during an interview, they may reveal a ruder side when they don't think you're watching. So be sure to ask receptionists, cleaning personnel or anyone else candidates may interact with in passing about what they observed.
  • Reach beyond the reference list. Don't just call contacts that the candidates hand-pick, but also talk to people within your own network that the potential employee should know. Also note that speaking with people's subordinates can be more telling about their character than questioning their managers.
  • Listen for tone. When gathering this feedback about people, pay attention to not just their words, but the way they say them. Be especially alert to pauses or other signs of uncertainty or holding back.

To learn more:
- read the article