THE AFZ is ignoreed

It’s time for us all to stop dancing around a critical issue and discuss the unmentionable. Ask yourself – are your employees, especially managers, serving you well or holding you back?

Here’s the deal. There’s a widening gap between what we ask our staff to do and where their real value lies, and in a market where attracting, engaging, and retaining talent has become a critical strategic imperative for so many organizations, we must stop politely looking the other way.

Most Managers are Good People
This is especially important for the managers. Your practice may have an official office manager by title or one that is appointed a leader amoung equals.  And, many of these are great people who churn out consistently superior results.

They share one important thing in common: they are managers of people, stewards of the human element first and doers of tasks second.

They focus on optimizing the fit and chemistry within the team and are obsessive about maintaining respectful, supportive relationships, both individually with each member of their team and among members of the team. There’s no room for misalignment, cross purposes, or unhealthy conflict on a winning team. They are masters of relationship and fit.

Yes, I said it “AFZ”
Let me say that again – the primary role of a manager must be that of master of relationship and fit. If an organization is serious about keeping their best people and engaging them fully, one key imperative must be to create and maintain an AFZ (Asshole-Free Zone).

It’s not terribly technical, but everyone understands and identifies immediately with the concept and its importance. We have all experienced working with a great manager and with a not so great manager at different points in our career, and we can quickly identify how our energy, productivity and commitment to excellence was different in each circumstance.

Your managers will make or break you. They are either talent magnets, or talent repellent. You probably also know who falls into which camp – and if you don’t, it’s not hard to find out.

Check your turnover rates, your your error rates, your attendance records, the comments about your company on Glass Door, or better yet, have a coffee with some of your folks and ask them straight up. Always do an exit interview.

An astonishing number of organizations we speak with know exactly who their ‘problem’ managers are, and yet they rationalize it. They turn a blind eye to the problem, ignoring it entirely.

‘Bob’s been here since day one, he knows our whole process is technically very sound’, they might say, or ‘I know he’s hard to get along with, but … [insert excuse #23]’.

Don’t kid yourself. The costs of failing to maintain a firm AFZ policy are all over your P&L; you just need to have the eyes to see them.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Do resmues tell the truth?

Talent acquisition is challenging these days! And while many positions in our industry do have specific degree or licensing requirements, it is not always the case. And even in the scenario where a specific license is required, e.g. Optician or Optometrist, the following scenario applies.

The Obvious Choice

Consider this – you are hiring for an Operations Manager position in your practice and have two candidates filter to the top. The first person has a college degree and ten years of progressive experience working in a comparable partice within the industry. The second candidate also has a degree but a bunch of blind spots on the resume – points in time that are unaccounted for or filled in with part-time consulting.

The first candidate is the best choice, of course. Clearly, with a degree and all that experience, they must be able to hit the ground running. Right?

Maybe. They certainly have the experience asked for in the job description and have been with your competitor for a decade. If they’re so good, though, why are they moving on? They may be looking for advancement or simply not loving the job anymore. They may be faltering, know layoffs are coming, or just be looking for a change. Or maybe there’s no more room to grow there. Will you ever know for sure? These questions won’t have obvious answers on a resume and will only get you well-rehearsed responses in an interview.

If you dig a little deeper, you may find that the second candidate’s resume is slightly irregular because they traveled to some interesting places and explored the world for a little bit. Maybe they did some humanitarian work. You might also find that they took some time to stay home with newborn twins during COVID while also providing care to an aging parent!

These things might be considered vague on paper and get them black-listed by most Applicant Tracking Systems, but they may make a well-rounded individual that could actually be much better suited for the position. They are clearly curious and responsible. They show dedication and commitment and can manage multiple challenges simultaneously.

Skills Based Hiring

Skills-based hiring is a hot topic of conversation right now, and we’ve been talking about it for decades. Hiring based on skills is all about looking beyond the surface and exploring what unique talents are not immediately visible and certainly not emphasized on a resume. Experience and education don’t always translate to job performance, and you may overlook game-changing candidates who don’t fit the mold. If only there were a way to see the person’s potential, not just their pedigree.

Oh, wait. There is.

It’s shockingly accurate and allows employers to change the narrative and transform their workplace.

If you are at all familiar with us, you know that we preach the importance of looking beyond the resume, to better understand the essence of the person behind it. Resumes can be crafted exceptionally well and, with the advent of rapidly advancing AI like ChatGPT, may not have even been written by the candidate at all. The advantages and benefits of skills-based hiring are numerous but boil down to a simple approach that can change the world for all involved.

Using skills-based hiring you can reduce or eliminate bias in the hiring process. The content of a resume is open to interpretation and bias, and education and experience don’t necessarily equate to performance. Candidates with the skills to complete the job may not have taken the traditional path in developing their talent and likely won’t always have a formal education.

However, just because someone didn’t attend a cordon bleu culinary program doesn’t mean they can’t cook spectacularly. Spending years in a family restaurant business or even in your grandma’s kitchen may not land well on a resume, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Michelin-star quality chef in there.

Finding the Right Fit

So, how do you find these amazing people? By looking below the surface. Fit First Technologies uses patented, science-based technology to truly understand who a person is, how they tick, and what they are best suited for. Looking beyond the words on the resume gives you a deeper and far more valuable understanding of what a person is made of, how they will fit in your business and click with co-workers and your company. Employees that are happy, fulfilled and able to make a contribution to their company will ultimately onboard faster, perform better and stay longer.

What this all boils down to is a candidate’s potential vs. their pedigree. When you look beyond the narrow, myopic focus on education and experience, the talent pool will naturally widen to include people who are exceptionally great candidates who don’t meet the traditional criteria. “Great people, in surprising packages”, as one client put it.

Everyone knows that grandma’s cooking is the best, and those recipes, traditions and values are learned –  not through formal training, but through immersion in the experience and love for the process (and the delicious outcome).


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Let’s be real. Have you ever stretched the truth on a resume? Maybe nudged your marks a bit higher or embellished your job responsibilities just a smidgeon to add some flair and polish? Chalk it up to being aspirational, perhaps. Jobseekers view the job market as an audition, and they know that putting their best foot forward may require some creative optics (pun intended).

These flourishes are far more common than you may think. HRDive found in one study that a third of Americans admitted to lying on their resume, while other studies estimate the actual number is higher. The reality is resumes are marketing tools designed specifically for self-promotion. Jobseekers can craft and draft content around what they think an employer wants to hear to give them an advantage over other potential candidates.

The Truth about Resumes
Here’s the real issue. Even if a resume is 100% accurate, the information in it is the statistically weakest predictor of someone’s likelihood of success in the job.

A resume is simply not a good reflection of a person. It is just a tailored list of education and experiences. It’s a brief snapshot that doesn’t shine a light on the truly important stuff – how a candidate makes decisions, manages change, or deals with disagreements. All the stuff you really need to understand.

Credentials may be qualifiers for very specific positions as is often the case when seeking a particular qualification such as an optician or optometric assistant. However, those qualifications aren’t reliable predictors of how an employee will integrate with your team, how they will perform or how long they will stay. Here’s the secret – you need to invest in resources that focus on finding people who will fit in your reality, not people who have the best resume writing skills.

Understanding a candidate better through an assessment can save you a lot of time in the hiring process and money in the long run. Spend more time on the right candidates and less time filtering through stacks of resumes. When you hire for job fit you are more likely to hire an engaged and passionate employee. Not only that – you may be very surprised to find your next superstar was hidden by barriers well beyond their control.

Fit First Technologies helps you see the real person behind the resume. Looking beyond the resume is exactly what you need to do to hire the right fit.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Artificial Intelligence

Absolutely, in both good and not-so-good ways.

On the positive side of the score sheet, there are branches of AI, like ChatGPT, for example, that can and will take pressure off early adopter HR staff by picking up some of the more mundane day-to-day tasks. ChatGPT has been trained with extensive data sets and can generate very human-like responses to requests and tasks. If AI can write job descriptions, answer standard employee questions, and develop contracts and policies, there will be more time for HR staff to focus on bigger issues.

On the less positive side of the score sheet, the rise of AI could be considered another issue on a long list of challenges for hiring managers. If you’re hiring someone based on a well-written resume, you may have more concerns than the typical embellishments. One of the most pressing concerns is the ability of AI to craft convincing cover letters and resumes. So convincing that it could be difficult for hiring managers to distinguish between genuine and not-so-genuine candidates.

If resume-based hiring is your process, be prepared for some surprises. AI is astonishingly more advanced than you think, and its human-like writing can make it indistinguishable from the ‘real thing.’ This evolution of technology is inevitable, but those responsible for hiring must be aware and take steps to make informed decisions. One very effective way is to ensure the resume is only one piece of the overall hiring puzzle and to use other technologies, like behavioral assessment tools, to truly identify a candidate’s qualifications and potential fit for the role.

Measure what really matters. Look beyond the resume (no matter how well it’s written) to develop a comprehensive understanding of a person’s skills, knowledge and aptitude. Shine a light on strengths and weaknesses and discover hidden talents. If you are responsible for hiring, consider options to help you find candidates that are the right fit for the job, the team, and the manager.

Fit First® Technologies, offers a range of tools and services to help employers identify the best candidates for the role and ensure they are a good fit for the organization. Our proprietary assessment platform uses a combination of behavioral assessments, cognitive assessments, and personality assessments to evaluate candidates. This platform can be customized to suit the specific needs of the organization and the role and can be used to assess candidates at all levels, from entry-level to executive.

If you think AI couldn’t fool you, you might be surprised to know this was written, in large part, by ChatGPT and edited by Grammarly.

Even robots can have personalities (if you tell them what personality to have).


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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Do Resumes Help?

If you’re responsible for talent acquisition, you’ve likely muttered a few curse words under your breath a time or two. We’ve all been there – struggling through resumes looking for that shiny diamond. How often have you been disappointed by someone who had all the right credentials on paper, but fell flat on the job?

After all, resumes are an exercise in creative writing – crafted, re-drafted, updated by friends, built from templates, word-smithed and maybe even ‘embellished’ just a tad. Resumes are over-processed and stretched into an 8.5”x11” shiny but distorted image of the candidate.

Statistics show that only 1 in 5 hires is considered successful by both employer and employee. That’s an 80% failure rate – completely unacceptable in any aspect of business, including HR.

If you are asking yourself how this is possible, it’s because resumes should not be the primary driver for hiring decisions. The polished 8.5”x11” may outline education and experience (both of which are important), but completely miss the mark on shining a light on what is essential to success in a job.

Skeptical? The very smart people at Harvard Business Review found that prior experience doesn’t predict a new hire’s success, and found no significant correlation between the two. Looking back at what someone has done, doesn’t predict the future.

“Is it realistic to think that HR departments and hiring managers will stop screening for experience?
You can understand why so many organizations do it: Experience is easy to assess. Have you worked in sales for three years? Have you managed people before? It’s either a yes or a no. Past performance and existing knowledge and skills [including qualifications and licenses] are more difficult to figure out, especially if all you have is an application or a résumé. But today, when everyone is complaining about the skills shortage and the war for talent, companies can’t afford to knock out candidates who would do really well but don’t have the experience that someone has chosen to put in the job description. You want to expand the pool of people you’re considering.” –
Harvard Business Review

The talent acquisition space is very tough these days. You need every advantage you can get to attract and deliver quality applicants to fill all your vacant positions. Understanding if a person will fit with the company, role, manager, and culture is far more predictive of success, but those soft skills don’t shine through on a résumé.

It’s no surprise that those responsible for hiring are increasingly relying on technology. Fit First® uses patented psychometric technologies and predictive human analytics to uncover those hidden skills, unlock potential and expand the pools of talent available to you.

Let us help you measure what matters and find your next great hire.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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people management

We always consider the staff an important factor when valuing a practice. Optometry, much like many other sectors of the economy, is facing severe workforce shortages in all facets of their team.

These challenges can be found throughout the country. Whether it is a shortage of optometric assistants or lab technicians, and unrealistic salary expectations from new hires, or the threat of staff leaving due to offers of significant wage increases, the situation is the same no matter where you are.

HR was always a challenge for many owners, but no one can argue that it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Adapt a Proactive Strategy
Staff turnovers and shortages will continue to be a serious issue; therefore, owners need to create a two-prong strategy that enables them to be more proactive instead of reactive. Like the old expression goes, “best defence is a good offence”.

I would suggest that the first prong include the change of recruitment and hiring techniques. Consider widening your pool of potential candidates.

Traditionally, optometrists looked to temp and recruiting agencies which makes sense because ideally, candidates have qualifications and training. However, if these people cannot be found, why not be creative and expand your potential list.

A key and valuable employee in any service business is one who has excellent communication and customer service skills. Therefore, think about people from other industries that can be trained to work in a dental office.

Another suggestion is to energize your interview process. We can all agree that the interview, offer, negotiation and onboarding process often takes far too long. It is amazing how many people do not craft questions based on the culture of the practice. Many go straight to the tasks and duties that the candidate will have to perform.

While this is important, identifying key traits in an individual is truly beneficial. Remember, using old patterns in these challenging times may cost you a strong candidate. It is worth noting that in this market, you can assume that candidates are interviewing with multiple employers, and an efficient and thoughtful hiring process can help you stand out.

Focus on Retention
The second prong strategy must be to focus on retaining the employees you have. Given the competitive landscape, it may be worth more to invest in the employees you have rather than look for new ones.

Think about offering better financial and educational incentives. The goal is to keep your employees feeling valued and motivated. Employees will be more likely to stay with you if they believe they cannot find a better opportunity elsewhere.

Make it a priority to make sure this is true. Studies have shown that employees stay committed to their employers when they are involved, mentored, paid well, empowered, appreciated, listened to, understood, and valued.

Owners must do an assessment and see if they encourage these traits and adjust appropriately if not. Remember, an owner’s biggest responsibility aside from patient care is to manage and motivate the team.

Your employees are the ones that will go the extra mile for your patients. Unfortunately, if a team member does not feel valued, appreciated, or challenged at work, they stop focusing on taking care of patients and unfortunately start to focus on themselves.

It’s Your Responsibility to Lead and Nurture
It is the practice owner’s responsibility to hire talent, train accordingly and applaud employees for their efforts in having a healthy work environment. Employees who are confident, knowledgeable, and respected in their profession will have a higher likelihood of staying committed to their employers.

Your job as the owner is to be committed to developing a high-quality optometry practice management system that nurtures your team and leadership growth. It is so critical for an owner to listen to their employees.

You must have enough humility to do this. Remember to give positive feedback – point out what is working out well. Praise employees for their hard-work and commitment.

Remember to treat your employees the way that you treat your patients. Both can truly destroy a practice if you are not taking care of them. Your employees need to know that they are part of a team.

Whether that means offering to get them coffee when you are out, bringing in Taco Tuesdays, or taking them axe throwing to build relationships with each other. You want your team to enjoy being together and working toward the same goals.

If you like the people you work with, feel respected and listened to, can grow as a professional without a micromanager breathing down your back, the stress will decrease. If doctors let their teams support them, the employees will stay because they love where they work, and your patients will be happy because there is no turnover.

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp


Jackie has 30 years of experience in the industry as a former banker and now the Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at or 1-844-764-2020.


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Eye Care Business Canada studied over 100 publicly posted Optometry and Optical positions which reveal what Canadian practice owners are offering in the battle to recruit talent. Job postings included in the study were made between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2022.

The study indicates that a significant portion of eye care professionals posting jobs are making a fundamental error, potentially confusing search algorithms and job seekers.

Top-Line Results
Unsurprisingly, Optometrists are at the apex of the pay scale, garnering salary expectations more than double that of Licensed Opticians.

Among non-licensed roles, the study reveals a wide range of hourly wages even within a specific job type. Many employers provide hybrid job descriptions and offered wages reflect a 50% differential between the minimum and maximum wage within one job posting. Why?

Job Postings can be Confusing to Job Seekers
While employers may specify a wider salary range based upon their willingness to pursue candidates with little or more experience, the study found that the wide $ per range cited in a job post is more often associated with “hybrid” job definitions, such as combining job postings for Opticians with Optometric Assistants in one post.

Tim Brenner, Chief Visionary Officer, of Talent Sorter and, indicates that such “mashup” job postings may compromise online job searches and might confuse the candidates as to what the job entails.

“Getting your job posting found by the right candidate requires a focused keyword approach. Job Titles should be clear and succinct and repeated in the post at least three times”, says Brennan.  Posting multiple positions in one post creates a dilution of the impact.

While the general labour shortage might tempt a practice owner to cast a wider net by including two or more titles within one job post, this may be counter-intuitive to the way a job seeker finds and views your job post and be sub-optimal in a candidate’s an online search.

Brennan advises employers to make the extra effort to post separate jobs, with each job focused on the specific job title, description, salary expectations, and growth opportunities. “If you find your star candidate for one position, you can delete the other or keep it running”, says Brennan.

This approach fits with one other best practice for hiring; Always be recruiting.


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Eye Care and Optical Eyeployment

Managing people as part of clinical practice has never been easy. Staff management issues have always been near, or at the top of the list of challenges that both independent practice owners and optical retailers face.

“If it wasn’t for the people this job would be easy…”

Enter COVID.
To say that COVID  has created employment uncertainty is an understatement. From an array of employment attitudinal studies conducted across a wide swath of different industries, we have a good understanding of how attitudes have changed in the employer/employee relationship as a result of COVID induced employment pressures.

Many employers are bracing for the substantial challenges they currently face and those that will continue to roll over the employment markets as COVID variants oscillate to create waves of uncertainty.

Buoyed by COVID-induced savings buffers and increasing vaccination rates, the YOLO (You Only Live Once) phenomena, first penned by the New York Times this spring, has emerged.

The YOLO mindset, most often attributed to the Millennial generation, has given rise to a tsunami of resignations as individuals pursue long-deferred dreams of new independent ventures and freedom from the grip of their employers.

Resignation Waves, Dominos and New Rules
Tim Brennan, Chief Visionary Officer, FitFirst Technologies,  a company offering candidate assessment technologies using Artificial Intelligence (AI), said recent research indicates “40% of the workforce say they are looking to change jobs in the next year.  53% are prepared to change industries if training is provided. You have a wave of good reliable, productive people making personal decisions to change things up.”

Behind the millennials, a wave of younger workers are looking to step up into the vacancies potentially causing a second wave of resignations. “We can see the signs of this already with Help Wanted signs everywhere, some businesses are operating on reduced hours and all wondering where they are going to find the people they need”, opined Brennan.

The Globe & Mail cites Travis O’Rourke, president of recruiting firm Hays Canada, advising that the competition to hire and retain workers is leading to higher wages. “It’s absolutely a war for talent, and workers are winning,” he said.

Ah, but Our Industry is Different.
Of course it is …  isn’t it?

A new Canadian Eye Industry Survey is available. Your participation can help answer these questions.

Canada Eye Care Employment Survey


Admittedly, physical site dependent health care services like optometry and optical may be different. To some extent location dependency diminishes the impact. Few jobs in eye care were moved from the practice to the home, and thus workers desiring to continue their current job from home is largely a moot point.

The veterinary industry, however, has not been immune to the challenges of acquiring and retaining personnel.  Amid the COVID pet adoption surge, Veterinarians are reportedly having huge challenges with employee retention and filling increasing vacancies.

Employees are “Hunkering Down”
The uncertainty has also created a “sheltering in place” phenomena. “ 80% are concerned about their career growth , 72% say the pandemic has caused them to rethink their skill-sets and 59% have sought out skills training without the support of their employer. If even a portion of these people act on their concerns, they will add to the resignation tsunami and it will extend beyond millennials”, according to Brennan.

Quietly bearing the stress but ready to move: These may be the employees in your current workplace, waiting for opportunity.

Kareem Merali, co-owner of C2020, a Canadian recruiting and training firm focused exclusively on ECPs, is seeing the effects first-hand: “With an influx of jobs available, employees and job seekers have a lot more variety to choose from, not only from within the optical industry but outside of it as well.”

Merali further points out that retention of lower paying positions has become a greater challenge and that government COVID subsidy programs, like CERB, make it more difficult.

“I think owners will need to share a larger piece of the pie than they are used to in order to keep the right talent and stay profitable,” says Merali.

Impact in Corporate Optometry
Maria Sampalis, Founder of Corporate Optometry, a networking resource for Optometrists sub-leasing in corporate environments, is seeing a rise in OD salaries in the US.

Sampalis agrees, “Acquiring good talent in a shortage of available candidates is the number one challenge facing Corporations”.

She is seeing corporations respond to the issue in innovative ways, including forging partnerships with professional schools and even engaging in tuition reimbursement programs.

Training and Support: Keys to Retention
Brennan and Merali agree that keeping staff engaged and motivated is vital to retaining great staff and that training and team building are critical elements.

Practice owners should consider team-building events, mindfullness activities, out of the box training rather than simply throwing money at increased wages. Employers will have to be even more aware of the needs of their employees.

We Need Answers
There are no known studies  of the eyecare/optical industry employment trends. “Industry leaders, employers and individuals making career decisions about their future need to better understand the employment dynamics, options and opportunities”, says David Pietrobon, President of VuePoint IDS Inc, and publisher of Eye Care Business Canada. The Canada Eye Care Employment Survey, will help answer these most important questions.

Eye Care Business Canada will be hosting a digital event on November 8th  as part of its “Changing Landscape: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs” series focusing on employment opportunities under the title, “Career Pathfinders: Making Informed Decisions”., a premier sponsor of this event has launched an online survey to measure the attitudes of both employers and employees regarding the current eye care employment situation. Tim Brennan will provide an overview of the employment situation and share the results of the survey with attendees.

Respondents to the survey will receive a  summary report of the research findings and a complimentary invitation to the November webinar where the results will be shared

The online survey is available now at:  CLICK HERE TO TAKE SURVEY  4-5 mins.



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Eye Care Business Canada and have announced the meeting dates for a three-part series, “Changing Landscapes: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs”.

The three-event series will start on Monday October 25th (7:30 PM Eastern) and will run on three consecutive weeks  i.e. Monday, November 1st  and Monday, November 8th.

The series will debut Eye Care Business Canada’s platform for digital events and feature  industry thought leaders from Canada’s leading eye care organizations, each contributing their perspectives to important topics of relevance to optometrists and optical professionals in the current, always changing, environment.

The event series will be moderated by Roxanne Arnal, OD and Certified Financial Planner, bringing an informed and unique perspective to the events.

Technology Drives Change

The first event (October 25th)  will  delve into the key technology factors expected to impact the future of professional practice in the near term. Tele-optometry, impact of omni-channel selling and remote face trace technology enabling touchless ophthalmic lens dispensing are among the factors to be discussed.

Whether or not professions embrace emerging technologies or avoid them, there is no denying technology’s potential game changing role in both the clinical and commercial side of practice.

Follow up Events: Buying & Selling and Career Paths

Has COVID changed the valuations of eye care practices?

Industry experts will provide perspectives on the current state of play in the Canadian practice acquisition market.

Current owners and astute prospective owners seeking opportunity will hear from and meet first-hand through the virtual platform in the second event Monday, November 1.

Career options and opportunities or both young and experienced ODs have never been greater as new organizations offering unique business models enter the market and established entities respond to the changing environment.

Career Pathfinders: Making Smart Career Choices is the topic of the third event on Monday, November 8th.

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 




Limited Premium, Partner and Friend sponsorships are still available.

For organizations wishing to sponsor a virtual table at any of the events, please contact for further information.

Event Details:

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Technology Drivers of Change

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Selling & Buying a Practice

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Career Pathfinders: Making Choices


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While many eyecare practices do not have human resource specialists at their disposal, it’s always of benefit to understand what best practices are among sophisticated businesses that have HR specialists. This is true of pre-employment background checks.

Let’s look at best practices in background checks and how you might apply them in your eye care business.

Background checks have long been a part of many businesses’ hiring processes. It is the primary method employers and hiring managers use to gather valuable information on a candidate to help them judge whether a person is the right fit for their organization.

A designated employee or a third-party provider typically conducts background checks. Employers can run different types of background checks on job applicants. Some may require applicants to submit fingerprints, while others may call references to conduct a reference check. The amount and kind of background information collected will depend on the type of job the person is applying for and what the employer needs to know about their potential candidate.

While we will focus on the types of associates that eye care practices employ, it’s also important to understand the relevant employment laws of your province.

Privacy laws and human rights laws in Canada impose guidelines on background checks that companies can conduct on job applicants. Their privacy laws advocate minimum data collection. This means that if an employer does not need specific information (e.g., driver’s license number) for the job the employer cannot ask for it in their forms.

Moreover, employers must obtain a signed consent form from a candidate to collect their information. Companies also should be transparent with applicants about the following:

  • What personal data they are collecting
  • With whom they are sharing personal information
  • How they are collecting personal information
  • Why they are collecting the personal information
  • What are the risks or consequences the candidate faces should someone obtain these pieces of information

Canadian laws seek to protect employees’ privacy and human rights while also balancing the interest of the employer.

Reviewing Employment Background Checks

Employment background checks can take a lot of time and effort. It is essential to ensure that the process is done legally and correctly for the information gathered to be helpful to hiring managers. A small mistake could result in disqualifying the wrong candidate, leading to unnecessary costs spent on superfluous interviews or other aspects of the recruitment process.

Not having a person responsible for background checks and making sure these background checks are done correctly,  could have catastrophic results.

Many practice managers and owners don’t fully grasp how important this is because they do not know how to conduct their background check on a candidate properly. They also may not be aware of the importance of doing this properly and efficiently.

Conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks

Hiring managers can do a background check on individuals applying for a job in their companies. However, some laws govern what aspects of the candidate’s background they can check and how they should go about the process.

In most cases, employers and hiring managers can look into the following aspects of a job applicant’s background:

Licensing and Educational Background

Verifying a candidate’s license status might seem elementary, but it is essential. In most cases a simple check with the relevant provincial college or association to ensure an individual has a license in good standing is a quick and easy task.

If you are unable to easily verify that an individual is in good standing with their professional college, proceed with extreme caution.

For both jobs requiring a license and even for those that do not, educational background is part of ensuring the candidate has the skills and knowledge to perform the responsibilities of the position they are applying for.

It is also beneficial to know if the candidate has taken any courses at a vocational school since these programs will provide relevant hands-on work experience. If a candidate has a degree, it is vital to verify that what they say about their major and minor fields of study are accurate.

Employment History and References

The last thing any practice wants is to hire someone who is late for work every day or who turns into an entirely different person once they start working.

Some people also make false claims about their employment history. A thorough background check can verify what the candidate says about their previous employment and whether they are being honest about their work experience. A candidate’s work history will also show if they have previously been terminated and have a record of severe offenses in their previous employment.

Criminal History

Companies must hire candidates who have a clean record. This will keep their company safe from any legal problems that would result from a candidate who breaks the law. Hiring an employee with a history of violent crimes may also compromise workplace safety and security. Hence, companies must ensure they are hiring trustworthy, law-abiding employees.

Driving Record

While driving is not often a responsibility within an eyecare practice, a person’s driving history can help an employer determine if a candidate is good at following rules and regulations. A driver’s history is often cited in cases involving accidents, speeding tickets, or drunk driving charges. Hiring an employee who does not have a clean driving record could cost a company thousands of dollars in fines or harm its reputation as an employer that cares about safety policies. If driving for any purpose is part of the job description, a driving record check is essential.

Consumer Credit Reports

A hiring manager may consider checking the applicant’s credit history to learn more about the candidate’s character and bad payment history. Credit reports can show whether a person is making payments on time and how they manage their finances. Although it is illegal for employers to refuse a candidate based solely on their credit score, this step can help them determine if a candidate can handle their financial responsibilities. This is of particular importance if bookkeeping or handling cash receipts is part of the job description.

Social Media

In recent years, more and more employers will look into a candidate’s social media activity. There have been cases where companies have decided to fire candidates based on their social media profiles because they found illegal or offensive content that can jeopardize their reputation.

Employers can’t legally use what someone says in their social media profile. Still, it can be investigated and used in a court of law if the employer feels an employee’s social media activity reflects poorly on the employer. Social media posts and activities can also contain red flags that employers and hiring managers may consider before hiring a candidate.

The Takeaway

All of these aspects of an applicant’s background can provide valuable information that will help companies judge if candidates will be a good fit for their practice.

It is up to the practice owner or hiring manager (if there is one) to decide which aspects of a candidate’s background are most important. For example, companies that require candidates with professional licenses will need to verify that the license is in good standing.

You should not rely on your instincts alone when conducting pre-employment background checks on candidates. These types of reports require experts who know what they are doing.

Some Resources to Help:
Today. The web provides convenient resources that makes record checking and attaining references much less onerous than in previous years.

Here are two services to help you qualify a prospect and provide the assurance that you’re getting a star for your practice. 

Feature Photo Courtesy of: Marten Newhall from Unsplash


is a writer, digital marketing specialist, and human resource specialist. She creates content and contributes to several blogs and websites regularly. Laura writes about business, hiring, employment, employee engagement, career advice, and digital marketing.

She worked as a hiring manager for years before pursuing a career in digital marketing and writing.


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