(Part 1 – Hiring and Retaining Good Employees)
By Debra Engelhardt-Nash
In dentistry we speak a lot about targeting and attracting our “Ideal Patient”. What about attracting and hiring our “Ideal Employees”? In our previous post in this series, “Hiring and Retaining Ideal Employees”, we talked about “Attracting Your Ideal Employees”. Once you have reached out and attracted and screened potential ideal employees the next step is to meet and interview them in order to make a “you’re hired” decision.
Meeting the Candidate
After the telephone screening, invite the viable candidates to the office to pick up an application. In the meantime, encourage them to look up your practice website to learn more about you, or send them a new patient packet to help them discover who you are. Do not schedule an interview until you have met the applicant. This will help you eliminate unnecessary time allotted to an applicant who does not present professionally, or who doesn’t show up at all.
A prepared resumé does not replace completing your job application. Professional resumé resources may be utilized to present a formal and seemingly thorough job history. Completing your office application allows you to review their attention to detail, their neatness, and provides a comparison of information.
Prior to sitting down for the interview, review the application for accuracy, and job relevancy. Make a note of areas you need to discuss.
Do More Listening and Less Talking
Remember, the applicant is selling you on the idea of hiring them. You are not selling the applicant on the position. The objective of the interview is to learn as much as you can about the candidate. Ask open-ended questions that require thoughtful responses: A few examples are:
• What do you think are the three most important things you do / you did in your current / previous position?
• What did you like most about your previous position?
• How would you handle an irate patient on the telephone?
• What would you say to a patient who complained that our fees are too high?
Do Your Homework
Make notes about your initial reaction. Pay attention to your internal reactions. (How do your gut instincts feel?) Review the application again and check references.
With permission obtained from the applicant, call the previous employer to learn more about the candidate. Be certain to speak to someone with the authority to discuss previous employers. Ask questions that relate only to employment. The most important question is, “Is this person eligible for rehire?”
Invite the final candidates (and there should only be one or two) to visit with the office before officially hiring them. Observe their punctuality, their initiative, and their interaction with the Team. Most importantly, ask yourself, “How did it feel to have them around?”
Once you have found your new team member and offered them a position, it’s time to do the paperwork. Review the job description, complete an employment agreement letter and create a personnel file. Compile all legal documents, copies of licenses and emergency contact information. Confirm the new member has read and understands the Office Protocol Manual.
Schedule a time for orientation. There is no such thing as a turnkey employee. Even those with experience need to learn your office standards and regimen. Engage the Team in the new employee’s success by assigning training responsibilities to existing team members.
Reward cooperation. If team players are rewarded, your organization will produce lots of collaboration. Assign responsibility for group morale to the group. Peer pressure is always more successful so impress on the people that part of their job is creating the right mood. That way everyone is accountable for the level of morale in the office.
They’re On the Payroll, Now What?
With thoughtful attraction, interviewing, hiring practices you have a team member who is ready and anxious to get to work and contribute. How do you make sure you effecting train and retain your ideal employees now that they’re on the team? In our next article I’ll share some key tips for retaining your ideal employees, allowing your practice to grow by encouraging personal growth. Click here to read Part 3 of Hiring and Retaining Ideal Employees, “Retaining Your Ideal Employees“.