A $998 OUNCE OF PREVENTION
Where do the applicants come from? Applicants can come
from people you know, such as your network from study
clubs, memberships, colleagues, and professional associations.
When an applicant is referred to you, they will usually work
harder to please. Beware of the employee referral. Friends
working together can create a scheme and cover-up.
While you may already have the prospective employee’s
resume in hand, Ms. Baird recommends that you ask him
or her to complete an application in your office. When
comparing this request to the resume provided, there may
be inconsistencies that require explanation.
ESTIMATED TIME COST:
1 hour and 30 minutes to develop
questions (one-time expense), $24
ESTIMATED OUTSIDE COST: None
A well-written and well-presented resume and job application along with an impressive interview are not enough.
Always check employment references. The point of checking
references is to secure outside verification of what the prospective employee is telling you. Because former employees
can sue for defamation if false or negative information is
released to a potential employer, the prior employer’s response to the inquiry is generally generic and limited to date
of hire, termination date, and job title. Clearly, this has limited
value. A recommended question is, “ Would you rehire him
or her?” If the response is “no” without explanation, you may
not be able to find out more from that source, but it is clear
that additional steps in other areas are necessary.
ESTIMATED TIME COST: 30 minutes, assuming that the dentist
and coordinator check employment references together, $208
ESTIMATED OUTSIDE COST: None
Ms. Baird recommends four interviews: ( 1) an initial interview with the practice coordinator, ( 2) an interview with
the dentist and practice coordinator, ( 3) a lunch interview
with the team, minus the dentist, and ( 4) an experiential
interview in the office. Multiple interviews allow for comparison of information for consistency. Also, interviewers
may pick up on different aspects of what has been said.
The objective of the first interview is to weed out those
not suited for the position, and the practice coordinator
should have specific training to make this call.
The second interview (with the practice coordinator
and dentist) should involve predetermined open-ended
questions designed to assess the candidate’s abilities and
communication skills. A set list of questions ensures uni-
formity among potential employees and keeps interviewers
on task, while protecting the interviewers from asking
prohibited questions. The second interview can be the
most productive time spent, or the least. The difference
depends upon the established structured questions and
how susceptible the interviewers are to deceit. Remember
that embezzlers are liars—good liars. Some embezzlers
have internalized their stories so well that the behavioral
red flags of deceit are imperceptible by the average person,
and even by some with training.
The team lunch interview is not likely to uncover clues
that the candidate has embezzled in the past unless there
are inconsistencies in what has been said by the candidate
regarding work or lifestyle. Note, however, that such “clues”
are not proof of anything, merely invitations for further
inquiry. It is also important that the office coordinator is
included in all interviews to serve as the “consistency check.”
Note that, for legal reasons, there are multiple questions
to avoid, such as the following: Have you ever been arrested?
Have you ever been treated for drugs or alcohol? Have you
ever filed for workers’ compensation or have you had a
ESTIMATED TIME COST: One hour each for the dentist plus
office coordinator, 1 hour 20 minutes for a staff of five, $520
ESTIMATED OUTSIDE COS T: Lunch for six, $100
Background and credit report checks are another outside
source of information about a prospective employee. There
are different levels of background checks, and the costs vary.
State law governs employer background and credit
check procedures. Businesses should outsource this step
to an entity that is familiar with applicable state laws. In
a properly designed application process, the prospective
employee has already given authorization for the back-
A set list of questions ensures
uniformity among potential employees
and keeps interviewers on task, while
protecting the interviewers from asking