Most dentists get a bit anxious when the need arises to add staff. It’s understandable. The health and reputation of the practice depends on the quality of everyone’s work. You want to get the right person for the job.
Working interviews are a common industry practice. Proponents like having the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of their candidates’ technical and interpersonal skills. Given a sizable applicant pool, they might be tempted to think that they could get a little free labor in the process. They would be wrong!
According to federal law, all applicants engaged in a working interview must:
- Have a valid license, if appropriate to the position (e.g., dentists, hygienists)
- Be paid as an employee and receive a W-2, even if they only work for a day
- Receive no less than minimum wage for their services, as dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act and prevailing State law
Some may try to bypass these requirements by treating applicants as independent contracts. That approach will not work either! Independent contractor status is reserved for persons who are free from your direction and control, other than specifying the desired results. Typically, they are engaged in independently established businesses and meet 3 or more of the following conditions:
- They have their own place of business.
- They bear the risk of loss associated with their work.
- They provide contracted services for others.
- They make a significant investment in their businesses.
- They have the authority to hire and fire others in performance of their contracted services.
Working interviews may not be the best option even if one has the means to address the administrative requirements. It is possible to get as good or better information to make a hiring decision by engaging in a thorough search, recruiting, screening, and interview process. Moreover, you assume the liability for any errors your applicants make during their working interviews. If you have not done your due diligence, you won’t be in a good position to assume that risk.
Do you have questions about your current hiring practices? Would you benefit from some expert advice on how to handle working interviews and/or compensating your team? Contact Aldrich and we can help you work within the legal parameters.