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Stepwise Success

Ask the New Guy

Published December 7, 2012 6:05 AM by Scott Warner

From Black Friday until after the holidays, it’s bargain hunting season. Like most bargains, a new hire in your laboratory can be good or bad. And your lab will play “Ask the new guy” to figure it out.

If management does its job, the news is good. Great managers look for people who complement the team’s sensibilities, temperament, and skill set. For example, a person with extensive microbiology experience may be just the right addition to a team of generalists. IT skills are another plus. Each new person that brings something new to the team adds to the synergy of the product.

At the bench or in meetings, the game of “Ask the new guy” can be infectious. New people who are motivated to succeed in a job while learning new things bring new ideas. “What did they do at your last place?” is traded with “We did this a little differently at my last job, check this out.” This kind of positive interaction allows everyone to grow professionally.

But the news might be bad. Some bargains are not. Management that hires the first warm body to walk through the door, ignores gut reservations, or doesn’t ask staff how they feel about the new person will get what they shop for. A person, for example, who has worked twelve jobs in the last ten years may have experience but also a reason to leave a job quickly. A lackluster, disinterested interviewee is likely to act that way on the bench.

This game of “Ask the new guy” is infectious, too, because it spreads disease throughout your team. “Ask him why he hasn’t finished that!” or “Have you learned how to run that analyzer yet?” quickly becomes, “Why do you still work here?” This kind of negative thinking brings everyone down and ultimately helps to destroy a team. While it’s true that team members should lift each other up, a setup to fail will fail.

If you’ve hired anyone recently and gotten a bargain, let’s hope it was a good one. Ask the new guy what he thinks.

NEXT: Do You Still Report Bands?

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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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