Three Tips for Hiring a Technician

Posted: May 24, 2013
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After years of interviewing for technician positions, both before I knew what I was doing and after (thank you Monica Maxwell!), I’ve learned a few things about selecting great candidates.

Jill, a veterinary technician at DoveLewis, feeding a canine patient by hand.

1. It’s not always about the medicine.
I like to say “I can teach you how to be a good technician. I can’t teach you how to be a good person.” Don’t focus so much on someone’s medical knowledge and technical skills that you overlook their extreme personality disorder that’s going to drive the entire hospital crazy. Ask them about how they handle conflict with coworkers, ask them what personalities drive them nuts, and ask them how they deal with irrational clients. Use that to make sure this person will fit in with the existing team or else you’ve just hired yourself a giant headache.

2. Get specifics.
That being said, you do need to make sure they have some medical knowledge. But instead of, "Can you monitor anesthesia?" ask them their favorite type of patient to monitor under anesthesia. If the answer is, "Young healthy laceration repairs because they’re fast," then that tech may not be ready for a position at a surgical specialty hospital, for instance. Ask the follow up WHY to get more information about how they think. Determine if they can fit into the flow of your clinic and match the motivations of your current staff.

3. Make them work for it.
Do a working interview! And during that working interview make them actually WORK. Ask them to place a catheter, draw blood, read the urinalysis sediment. Watch them as they interact with the staff. Are they making an effort to talk with others and fit in? Do they pitch in to help with cleaning? Pay attention to the type of questions they ask, and are they even asking questions? Four hours in the trenches can help you make the right decision and hire the right tech the first time.

[Also check out these tips on how to hire a veterinarian!]