By Mark Miller
Eye Docs Now
August 24, 2022
Hiring is a steep challenge for most practice owners, especially as we continue to experience the effects of the Great Resignation. As the owner of an optical shop that employed optometrists and opticians for four decades, I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t in hiring. I also know how hard it can be finding the professionals you need in a pinch.
Here are my top tips for successfully hiring the ODs and opticians you need, along with details on a new app, Eye Docs Now, which I developed to make the lives of both practice owners and job seekers much easier. The app allows you to quickly look for, or fill, an open temporary or permanent position for an OD or optician.
Expect Unexpected Hiring Needs & Have a Plan
The optometrist who tells the practice owner that they have unexpected health or family care needs, and will need to be out for a few months, or the star optician who calls in one day to say they had an injury that will keep them out of work for a few weeks, are just a couple common scenarios. Like any small business owner, a practice owner has to be ready for surprise leaves from work.
After experiencing the frustration and stress of these situations for decades, I came up with the idea for Eye Docs Now. I wanted an app that would be ready to go on every practice owner’s and optical industry job seeker’s phone. The technology helps deflate a high-pressure challenge in hiring a much-needed employee, or from the job-seeker’s perspective, finding a much-needed job.
The app is free to download, and is available in the Apple App Store and on Android Apps by Google Play. It is presented in a user friendly format that allows optometrists and opticians to search for a job on a specific day or date, search for a permanent job, post the days and dates they are available, along with desired pay, so that they can contact practices directly via push notification and chat.
The app allows job seekers of fill-in work to negotiate their payment directly with employers and receive e-mails about jobs posted.
From a practice owner perspective, the app enables employers to post information about open positions in their offices. An employer can post for a job on a specific date or day, post for a permanent job, negotiate payment directly with employees, post days available and pay desired, so applicants can contact them directly via push notification and chat and receive e-mail about a jobs posted.
It allows you to quickly hire an optician or OD for any length of time, whether just for a day, a week of fill-in work or for a permanent position, and makes it easy to zero in, and get matched with, local job seekers, so you don’t need to worry about having applicants who live too far away to be viable candidates.
Having this app on your phone gives the practice owner the ability to be ready for unexpected hiring needs, so there will never be a need to panic when a key employee announces they will be unavailable.
Screen for Personality, Reliability & Demonstrated Skills
When I met a job applicant, whether for optician or optometrist, I wanted to see that they were a joyful person, who was quick to smile, and that they came across as professional in both their clothing and manner.
I would ask every applicant why I should hire them to see if they would be able to “sell” themselves to me persuasively. Good responses to this question for a prospective optician might be: “Because I’m the best and I’m dedicated. My last employer, who I was with for 10 years, can tell you that I was often the top-seller in the office.”
I also gave optician job applicants a pair of metal frames to adjust, and made a note of whether they used tools when they only needed to use their hands or vice versa.
For an OD, a good response might be: “Because I care about my patients and I want to do everything I can to help you make this practice successful.” I was careful to make sure that all ODs I hired were on board with prescribing from the chair. I let them know that I expected them to talk to patients about their visual needs and prescribe specific products that related to those needs. Most OD job candidates had no problem doing this, but there were some who expressed reluctance to prescribe from the chair. I quickly took them off my list of viable candidates.
To ensure the ODs I hired followed through on their commitment to prescribe from the chair, I provided a prescribing sheet that included options for contact lenses, glasses, lens treatments and sunwear for ODs to remember to ask patients about and circle to alert opticians in the hand-off of what they had prescribed.
Set Sales Goals & Thoroughly Train
I gave my new hires a 2 percent commission on whatever they sold individually, and also offered a monthly bonus to the whole office based on meeting an office-wide sales goal. The idea was to surpass however much we had sold collectively as a group the previous year. I wanted to inspire individual achievement, but I also wanted to encourage the strongest sellers to help the weakest. The office-wide goal gives the top performers a financial incentive to help along the weaker performers.
An app like Eye Docs Now provides that extra boost that makes great job matches between employer and employee more likely. That extra help combined with the right incentives and training is a recipe for hiring success.
Mark Miller, creator of the Eye Docs Now app, is a 53-year veteran of the optical business. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org