How to hire the right employee the first time

Oct. 24, 2011
Dr. Edward Logan explains how implementing the right interview protocol and background checks on potential staff members is imperative in the hiring process. Use his sample interview questions and questions to ask references to get started on the right foot.

By Edward M. Logan, DDS

In an attempt to avoid having to fire an employee and begin the hiring process all over again, one must make every effort to hire “right” the first time. Admittedly, this is a difficult thing to do in our industry, because not all job applicants have the same level of motivation. Given a standard parting gift of two weeks’ notice, we are often left with too little time to hire a new employee. Rushed interviews and reference checks can lead to poor decision making and settling for a candidate who is less than ideal. Nonetheless, striving to hire right the first time can eliminate headaches down the road. Business coach Eric Herrenkohl speaks to this in his book "How to Hire A-Players."

Recently, my dental assistant changed careers unexpectedly. I had just two weeks to hire a new dental assistant. Given the existing economic climate and high unemployment rate, I had the opportunity to consider more candidates for this new hire. Within the first 24 hours of posting a free Craigslist job ad, I received multiple resumes from qualified individuals. In order to avoid sifting through countless resumes from unqualified applicants, I drafted a detailed ad.

In the midst of a busy day of clinical dentistry and practice management, it is tempting to settle for the first warm body who fares positively in an interview. Keeping in mind where “settling” had gotten me in the past, I decided to interview several additional candidates beyond the initial handful of possibilities. In this employment market, we are no longer required to settle for “adequate.”

Implementing the right interview protocol and background checks on potential staff members is imperative in the hiring process. In our practice, we have designed a list of “17 questions to ask in an interview” and “12 questions to ask references” when a potential hire shows promise. Click here to download the interview questions. Click here to download the questions to ask references.

Author bio
Dr. Edward Logan is a general dentist in O’Fallon, Mo. He graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1993 and has since built three successful practices from scratch, one in Southern California and two in the Midwest. His new book, “Dentistry’s Business Secrets: Proven Growth Strategies for Your New or Existing Practice,” is available at