Effective Recruitment, An Investment In Your Dental Practice
Whether or not you’re recruiting new employees at this exact moment, there will soon come a time when you’ll need to hire new staff. Many dental practice managers struggle with hiring, seeing it as a time-consuming task that drags you away from your normal daily responsibilities and puts pressure on the rest of your team as you try to manage short-handed. However, there is a positive; this can be a great opportunity to set yourself up for the future, on the path to dental practice growth. The right team is an investment you make for a successful practice. So effective recruitment is a smooth, well-managed, hiring, and onboarding process.
1.Have a clear and up-to-date job description to ensure effective recruitment
For any new role you will need to write a new dental practice job description covering the following:
- who the role reports to
- who it will interact with
- working hours
- day-to-day duties
- qualifications required
- technical competencies (eg knowledge of special dental equipment or software)
- desirable attributes
- soft skills needed for best execution of the role (flexibility, detail-oriented, well-groomed, interpersonal communication, etc)
For a replacement role carefully analyze whether the current job description still fits the needs of your practice today. The type of dental treatments you offer, the new front or back-end dental technology you are using, the volume of patients you now have, hours of operation, the people this person will interact with, and all the things that can change over time, requiring your job description to be updated.
A good idea is to discuss the job description with your team, as there may be additional requirements that are important to them, but less obvious to you. You may even be able to ask a departing team member.
2. Think of the future, hire ‘cross-trainable’ candidates
Sure, you are hiring for a specific dental practice role and you need to make sure those requirements are met. However, it’s worth thinking beyond just this position, to consider your practice as a whole and some of your potential contingencies. Imagine how valuable this new team member would be if they could be cross-trained. Cross-trainable team members enable your practice to manage unexpected challenges, such as another team member on sick leave, and allow the team to become more efficient as it reduces knowledge gaps.
I recommend including a few ‘nice to have’ skills and qualities in a dental practice job description for this very reason. These handy extra skills may not be position critical, but they could be ‘practice useful’ and can help you objectively decide between good candidates.
3.Keep it brief
Ensure you cover all the relevant details but try to keep it as brief as possible. A long description may signal to a candidate that you are unclear on what you require and have unrealistic expectations, both of which reflect on you as a manager. Have a clear priority for each, so you know what’s less important and what’s a deal-breaker.
4.A job posting is a marketing document
Your job description should be a factual and clear document, of what is needed for position success. However, when it comes to posting that job description, in the form of a hiring ad, it should also be a tool to entice potential candidates. A well-written introduction that can excite a candidate about an interesting and fun place to work will go a long way to attracting the right talent. After all, dentistry is a people business.
5. Have a clear interview strategy
Interviewing takes time, so use that time wisely. Screen the dental resumes and cover letters carefully and select a shortlist of candidates to interview. Here are a few tips to make the screening and in-person interview more productive:
Checklist. Ensure you have a dental interview checklist of what you want to cover and the order of priority for each.
Ask direct questions. Let your candidates answer with examples of what they have done in the past in a relevant situation – not what they would do tomorrow. These may be non-dental scenarios but will still be a better predictor of suitability for the position, than a hypothetical answer.
Consider phone screening the candidates first with 2-3 questions. This can save you time and it is particularly important when hiring for front desk, treatment coordinator, office management positions. The voice tone, vibe, and professional etiquette can be your first qualifiers to the next round.
Video Interviewing. Nowadays, due to Covid 19, video interviewing is a popular choice for the first interview. Not only is it quicker for you and quicker for them, but you can also still gain insight into their personality. Make your second interviews in-person by which time you have narrowed it down to a few strong candidates.
Remember that you are also selling them on the role and your dental practice, so make sure you come across as someone they want to work for.
Have another team member, who will interact with this position, help you interview. Two opinions can ensure a balanced perspective in the decision process. Be sure to get in sync with the other interviewer with clear objectives on what you will ask and the qualities you will look for. Two people separately asking the same questions can give the impression of poor communication, which is not the positive and professional image you want for your practice.
6.Consider pre-employment testing for certain roles
While it’s tempting to rely on your interview technique to identify the right person, you are effectively using a resume and possibly two or three brief discussions to finally decide on who you hope to see every day for at least the next two years. When you look at it that way, it might be worth using some additional techniques to improve your odds of success.
There are many reputable organizations on-line that offer inexpensive pre-employment testing covering technical skills and personality traits designed for specific types of roles that are relevant to dental practices, e.g., reception, customer service, accounting, bookkeeping, etc. These help you assess if your dental receptionist candidate is a great people person, not afraid to call up lapsed patients to remind them they are due for a cleaning, or your dental accounts clerk is numerate and detail-oriented. Always make sure your candidates know that pre-testing is part of the interview process. Pre-testing is never foolproof, but like most techniques and ideas discussed there, it can help minimize the risk that your chosen candidate turns out to be unsuitable.
Remember, effective recruiting is an investment you make in the future of your dental practice. Do the work upfront and the investment will pay off.
About NGT Academy
We are one of the very few turnkey-Learning Management System providers that specializes in the dental industry. And our eLearning platform is easy to use for both employees and managers, with a library of more than 30 courses created for dental teams. E-learning typically costs at least 30% less than conventional training, making for a truly efficient solution for your dental organization.