[Histonet] interview

O'Donnell, Bill billodonnell <@t> catholichealth.net
Thu Jan 10 09:51:42 CST 2013

OK, then, sound advice. (Hopefully)

Assuming that a trained tech is out of the question:

Hire someone with a minimum of an AS, but prefferably an MS. Pay scale
should reflect the difference between a HS grad and a degreed person.
This has been my policy for 17 years. MS or experience - otherwise, I do
not even schedule an interview. Also, I believe it is grossly unfair to
the new employee to limit their potential earnings at the start.
Complete training, get 50 cents. Get your HT/HTL, get another dollar or
two. (These are hourly increases, not the price of a stuffed bear that
says "congratulations")

Under that stipulation, seek within the system first. You have a better
chance of gauging their work ethic and how well they get along with
others and follow directions.

If no luck within the system, go the local route - same requirements.
How about contacting any nearby military bases, perhaps a spouse of a
soldier is a tech and moving to town. It is not unusual for the bases
personnel folks to know of such needs - but I admit, it is a long shot.
Advertise nationaly - expensive! But it may unearth someone who will be
planning on relocating to your area. This has happened once in my career
- so it is not out of the realm of possibility.

When interviewing an "unknown" your rescources for investigation are
really pretty limited. Interview time is critical. Refrain from "tours"
of the lab until after the initial interview. If they are not of hiring
potential - don't waste your valuable time. Never promise what you
cannot deliver. 

Remember that many people in today's economy are not working or are
underemployed. Benefit packages are sometimes very valuable, especially
to someone who hasn't had any for awhile. This is not a soapbox - though
it would be a good place to get on one. This is the reality of our
times. Excellent workers are available. 

Try to guage their desire, not for employment, but for learning new
things. Ask questions that will guide them to give real answers as to
how they might handle this or that "people" situation. Don't overlook
the banal questions about hobbies or volunteer work. The answers can be
very insightful. A person with no outside interests is a red flag as is
someone with too many scattered interests. Don't look for common ground
with these inqueries, but if you find it, ask yourself if your shared
hobby is in anyway a plus for OJT work? 

As to paring down the work - this will be difficult but that is not the
same as impossible. Work with medical staff to see what can be
outsourced, even if for a short time. IHC? Some IHC? It is hard to find
reference labs that do a lot of special special stains. Look at the data
and see what special stains you offer that are hardly ever, or rarely
requested. Talk with medical staff about eliminating these with the
option of reintroducing them should the need increase. It's surprizing
what a pathologist can do without!

How much time are you spending in a day answering the phone? Pulling
slides and filing? Cleaning processors and changing stainers? Chasing
down missing info on your requisitions? Retreiving specimens? Could this
be done by a part-time/full time clerk?  Saving ten minutes here and 15
minutes there really does make a difference.

Perhaps, if the clerk shows potential, they could become your OJT tech.
I know that is how at least some of the fine techs who frequent this
forum got into the field. Advantage - you see first hand their
personality and productivity.

None of these things are really new, but we do sometimes overlook them.
It helps to have some objective fresh looks at the situation. Perhaps,
bringing in an experienced per diem person can help you see areas that
can be improved upon. After "X" number of years in the same place - we
can get a bit myoptic. Maybe an histology consultant would be helpful.
Again - fresh eyes and an open mind!

Know that everything I just said is doable, but not easy. And every one
or any one can fail or are not a good fit for your situation. Revenue
may suffer, even if only temporary, but it simply may not be avoidable. 

And now - for a series of cliches that may actually be applicable:

A burnt out tech is of no value to anyone, least of all, themselves. 
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Two heads are better than one and might be twice as entertaining.
Think outside the box (arrrgh - I can't believe I actually wrote that)

Good luck in your endeavors and God bless! Thanks for indulging me.



-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Tim
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 8:47 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] interview

Gale and Pam, people on Histonet love to sit on their soap box and spew
out ridiculous statements without any thought behind them at times.  
To say you need to "scale the volume down to a point where it is
manageable" (tell that to your boss!!  Whatever!!) is coming from
someone who obviously has no working experience in the private sector.
That might work at a research facility but I doubt it, or to say bluh
bluh bluh something to do with peanuts and monkeys and the final one is,
"The situation in histology will never get better otherwise", REALLY???


OJT is sometime a necessary route we as supervisor of labs that are
experiencing a staffing shortage have to take to acquire the personnel
we need to perform the work given.  You have to do what you have to do,
find someone to train if that is your only avenue.  In a perfect world
we would have qualified Histotechs knocking at our door every time there
is an opening and an employer that is throwing money at us.
Please give good sound advice, and stop the ridiculous remarks.  It gets
old real fast!!
Good luck Gale!!


 Message: 4
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:37:36 +0000 (UTC)
From: Pam  Marcum <mucram11 <@t> comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [Histonet] interview
To: joelle weaver <joelleweaver <@t> hotmail.com>
Cc: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu, galel <@t> unionhospital.org
<117995865.193203.1357756656174.JavaMail.root <@t> sz0001a.westchester.pa.mai
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

I totally understand hiring only experienced people however; I have a
question.?? What do you do when you have no one available and the
institute you work for will not help with moving expenses or sign on

Believe me I know about training OJT today when you are shortstaffed and
can't meet salary demands.?? 

Pam Marcum 
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