Work became a living nightmare, and I was on the verge of quitting.
I desperately needed to hire an A-Player Pharmacy Technician ASAP.
The Search Began
One night, I closed the pharmacy, and pulled up a stool.
I let out a long sigh as I sat down. First break all day.
I was prepared for another few hours of volunteer verifying behind closed doors.
Sadly, I had spent 50% of the day at the pharmacy fixing problems, ringing up patients, and filling prescriptions.
That left me no time to verify auto fills, make the schedule, or do my state counts.
Then, I remembered I had set aside a stack of resumes at work, and I picked up one from the top.
I quickly scanned it, looking for a miracle.
I frantically searched for outstanding career accomplishments or leadership skills.
Leap Of Faith
Besides PTCB certification, nothing on this resume really stood out to me.
This candidate lacked work experience, the resume was short, and I was not thrilled at the thought of onboarding a trainee.
When there’s 4 phone calls on hold, 5 waiters in Production, and 6 people in line, training someone from scratch can very well be the end of you.
At the same time, I was already severely short-staffed, and I was losing my mind trying to be everywhere at once, fixing problems, and getting yelled at every 5 minutes.
I thought about my current team and how they were so rigid in their ways.
Resistance and uproar followed every interaction I had with them.
Not having a supportive, proactive team of technicians made life at the pharmacy a living hell.
I thought long and hard about what my pharmacy needed, what I needed.
Primary Objective: Build a High-Performing Team.
The type of pharmacy tech I wanted had to be someone outgoing, great with customer service, a desire to lead others, adaptability, and some business acumen.
The Plain Jane Hire
I vowed to make sure my next tech candidate knew that I was serious about hiring only the very best talent.
They were going to get the full, 360 degree interrogation from yours truly.
I remember the day she walked into the pharmacy for her first interview.
To my dismay, this technician displayed the ultimate meekness.
Sheepish smile, lack of visible confidence, and partly unsure of the words coming out of her mouth. I was not impressed.
So, I grilled, probed, and dissected every answer in the search of genuine character and personality.
Interview questions included 5 key attributes: 1) Attitude, 2) Aptitude, 3) Attendance, 4) Achievement, 5) Accountability.
Surprisingly, all her answers were delivered genuinely, thoughtfully, and respectfully.
But, I considered the scope of impact mediocre at best.
I was really grilling her, and yet she hadn’t broken down into tears.
I still wasn’t convinced that this would be a good hiring decision.
However, something told me that I should give her a chance.
Her humility and resilience showed me that she was serious about her career and professional development.
Yet, nothing seized me with excitement. Nothing measurable compelled me to want to hire.
Ultimately, I decided to go with my gut, and I gave her the job.
Of course, she started off like any other new hire: super slow and impeding workflow. At times, I had wished I didn’t hire someone at all.
Training someone new is the equivalent of negative help.
But over time, I realized that all relentless questions were focused around one thing.
She asked “Why?” so many times, every single time, and I was beginning to feel annoyed.
Before, I couldn’t get work done because I was stopping every 5 minutes to do someone else’s job.
Now, I was being interrupted every 5 minutes because of someone’s curiosity?
I had patient complaints to resolve and immunizations to administer.
On top of this, I had patients to counsel, doctors on hold, and a boss that hounded me with to-do lists.
I just don’t have time for this.
I began to regret my decision for hiring this Plain Jane.
The Tipping Point
At some point, the questions died down, and she became more independent. It took maybe 4 or 5 months.
Her questions became less frequent, and I spent less time explaining things to her. It seemed like things were starting to click.
The nature of her questions now revolved around regulatory compliance, legality, and impact to profit.
I was witnessing quite a transformation unfold before me.
She learned how to bundle expanded immunizations with flu shots, aced insurance rejections, and found ways to consistently save patients money on prescriptions.
At the registers, she found a way to use two registers simultaneously to ring out multiple patients.
She even used multiple screens to process prescriptions while on the phone.
Within 1 year, this beast of a technician came to know my patients on a deeper level than me, the pharmacist.
She acknowledged every single patient by first name, and customer service levels shot up exponentially.
And because I set the bar so high from the beginning, her baseline performance conformed to my own standards.
She learned to do everything exactly how I wanted, even better than I could do it.
We were on the fast-track to district fame and glory, and my job as a manager became less stressful.
All of a sudden, work became not only bearable, but exhilarating.
I loved working beside someone so caring, coachable, and committed to excellence.
For the first time in my career, I could breathe and enjoyed my job.
Most importantly, I could truly leave work at work, and I now made it home on time (90% of the time).
In this moment, I truly looked up to to my beast technician.
Sure, she was my direct report. But she runs this pharmacy, and I wanted to know more about the gears turning in her head.
I would turn to her on countless occasions for business insight and rely on her decision-making.
This was the tipping point, for when the disciple overshadows the master.
This marked the beginning of greatness.
Business Tips for The Corporate PharmD[sta_anchor id=”biztips30″ /]
- Never hire expecting to get the perfect candidate
- Hiring someone with only 80% of the desired qualifications will help you get good talent into the pharmacy pipeline
- Do your due diligence, call referrals, and conduct multiple interviews
- At the end of the day, go with your gut feeling!