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Investing in hiring will pay off big for your dental practice

Aug. 7, 2020
Do not rush through the hiring process. This is one of the best decisions dentists can make when bringing on new team members. Sally McKenzie says the time spent on finding the right person now will pay off in the long run.
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management

Hiring is a crucial investment, yet many dentists race through the process. They want to get new team members on board as quickly as possible, so they skip steps and make mistakes that lead to costly bad hires.

It’s important to understand that finding quality employees who will contribute to the practice success takes time. There’s a process to follow for best results. Finding that perfect fit isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort you put in to make it happen.

Strong team members will not only make your work life easier, they’ll help you achieve your goals. They’ll support you and do their part to move the practice forward. That’s why hiring is such a crucial investment for any dental practice. Hiring the right people from the beginning and providing them with the tools and training they need to succeed will pay off big for your practice in the long run.

Narrow down the search

Finding stellar candidates starts with creating a targeted job ad that provides all of the relevant information that applicants want to know, including salary range. Once you whittle down the résumés you receive and carefully filter out applicants who are not a good fit, get to know the remaining candidates before you interview them face-to-face.

How do you do this? I suggest you conduct phone interviews. Trust me, you can learn a lot about a job seeker’s personality and intentions during a 30-minute chat. As you finish these calls, let applicants know you still have other candidates to speak with and that you’ll contact them via email if you’d like to schedule a more in-depth interview. Once you’ve determined who you want to learn more about, get the interviews on the books. I suggest you email materials for top candidates to return before the interview, such as an application and testing that’s specific to the position.  

Talk face-to-face

As you’re scheduling interviews, keep in mind these are not meetings that you’ll want to rush through. Block off 60 to 90 minutes for each candidate, and then give them your undivided attention.

What should you ask during these interviews? I recommend preparing a set of standard open-ended questions for every candidate. Have the questions in front of you during the interview because you don’t want to forget any. And, of course, be prepared to ask follow-up questions based on people’s responses. Remember, the goal is to learn more about each applicant’s experience and what they can offer your practice. Take thorough notes so you can refer to them later. Gather as much information as possible so you can make the best decision.

Another tip? Prepare specific questions for every position. For example, you might ask business applicants how they would handle patients who are more than 60 days delinquent on their accounts.

Go beyond the interview

To ensure you find the best person for the job, don’t just rely on what you learn during interviews. No matter how confident you are that a candidate is the right fit, make sure you take the time to check references. The candidate who seems like a rock star may have issues with being a team player or may struggle to get to work on time. You’ll want to know about such issues before you extend an offer.

It’s also important to include temperament testing during your vetting process. Why? A temperament test provides perspective, balance, and fairness. It will help you determine if the candidate is right for the role, as well as if he or she will mesh well with the rest of the team. Bottom line: if you use a consistent, validated approach versus a gut decision, you will make better hires.

Set them up for success

No doubt finally getting a new team member will be a weight off your shoulders, but it’s important to remember that the work isn’t done. If you want new employees to shine, you have to set them up for success. That means implementing a few common-sense human resource strategies and giving them the guidance they need to excel.

  • Create clear job descriptions so everyone knows exactly what’s expected. Not sure where to start? Check out a free webinar I put together on this very topic here. 
  • Offer proper training for new team members, just be careful not to overwhelm them. A good training program allows employees to assimilate information and tasks at a steady rate. For front office employees, you can refer to my virtual front office business training course for guidance.
  • Give all new employees a policy manual that outlines the office code of conduct, dress code, policies regarding tardiness, overtime, sick leave, office policies, and procedures.
  • Provide ongoing feedback, both positive and constructive. This helps employees see where they excel and where they could do better. Keep feedback specific and clear.

It’s worth the time you invest

Just like bad hires can cost you dearly, hiring the right team members can pay off big for your practice. Do you need more guidance to help you hire the best and brightest? Download my e-book, Hiring the Best Dental Employee.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at (877) 777-6151, text (858) 257-0278, or email [email protected].