North Texas Dentistry Volume 5 Issue 2 - Page 21

them as independent contractors, but employment laws do not quite work that way. Regardless, you could be flirting with tax fraud and the misclassification of workers, both of which could lead to trouble with the IRS and/or Department of Labor. Ethics, Values, And Employee Perception Of course, the problematic nature of the working interview isn’t limited to the legal sphere. A working interview is also an opportunity to convey your values and ethics as an employer. If you know all along that you are not in the market for an additional employee, but you use the working interview to fill a temporary staffing need, you might not be violating any laws (assuming the work is paid), but you have misrepresented the relationship, and wasted the candidate’s time. Keep in mind, the interview period isn’t only for you — far from it. It’s also a time for candidates to gauge their compatibility with you, the employer, and how well they will integrate into the work environment you provide. In the end, the entire interview and onboarding process sends a message to potential employees. Your decisions to use the working interview process, how much you pay, and their treatment while working through the different stages you have set up all tell candidates a lot about your values and how they can expect to be treated in the future. Regardless of the position, if you want candidates who are qualified, dedicated, and enthusiastic about their jobs, you’ll need to communicate that through a hiring process and working interview compensation that is fair and respectful of their time and effort. Better Alternatives Thankfully there are ways to get results similar to working interviews without the pitfalls. Skill testing. This process allows you to set up a scenario and have the candidates respond as they best see fit. While it may not seem as true-to-life as a working interview, you get a look at the candidates’ abilities and personality without legal ramifications of their having direct patient contact. Hire slow, fire fast. Another alternative approach is popular in the startup culture but now holds some value for the dental world. The practice of ‘hiring slow and firing fast’ means that you take the necessary time to get to know a candidate through interviews, skill tests, references, etc., This way, you won’t waste the time and well-being of your hard-won team, patients, and even of the candidate themselves by keeping people on to fester in positions that don’t work for them. If they need to go, let them go quickly. Moving Forward If you are using or considering using working interviews, it is worth your time to take a step back and evaluate whether they are meeting your goals. Examine your overall hiring processes to determine if they’ve worked for you: have you been satisfied with your choices or have you had a string of employees who became problems or eventually weighed down your practice? After you do, you may or may not find that the working interview is a good fit. If you decide to use working interviews, here are a few tips to make sure you’re not running afoul of any laws or regulations: 1 2 3 4 5 Do not use the candidate as a replacement for an absent employee. Make sure that the candidate understands that the working interview is not a guarantee of employment. (It might be a good idea to get this in writing). Do not have the candidate work a full day. Know your individual state laws and regulations around what constitutes an employment relationship. Keep in mind that the working interview comes with pitfalls, so it is advisable not to solely depend on it in your hiring process. Using other methods such a skills testing may only be just as effective and will not leave you open to legal and tax liabilities. As a partner at Goldin Peiser & Peiser, Erick focuses on tax compliance and consulting work in the healthcare and real estate industries, where he oversees the preparation of all annual federal and state compliance and regularly reviews the client’s financial statements. He also consults his clients on the health of their practice or business — making sure they understand the business and tax aspects of their stra ѕ