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How to develop the best hiring practices

June 1, 2018
Hiring a new dental team member can be a daunting task. But with some of the right steps and pieces in place, it can be easier to find the right people for a position.

Randa O’Connor

Before the heat of the hiring season kicks in, take time to brush up on best hiring practices. Best hiring practices dramatically benefit your dental practice. Whether you work with a professional recruiting firm or prefer to handle every detail yourself, this article will provide helpful information. I’ll start at the point where you realize you cannot avoid hiring a new staff person.

Make sure you have a job description

This one easy step can help clear up a nightmare of misinformation. If you cannot explain the position, how are candidates supposed to match their strengths to your position? A job description will save you plenty of trouble when searching for the right applicants.

Decide how you want to recruit

There are many options when it comes to recruiting candidates. There was a time when businesses placed ads in the newspaper. Now most options are online via job boards, social media, and even Craigslist. These options will lead to applicants. The problem is that without a correct job description, they likely will not be the right applicants.

If you don’t have a screening process or human resources personnel to sift through resumes, I recommend hiring an outside agency to save time. There is a fee, of course, but the fee is often far better than the cost of your time to screen applicants. Many consultants and experts agree that if you have not received formal HR or personnel training, it’s a good idea to hire a professional.

Make prompt contact with applicants

So, applicants and their resumes are coming in. If resumes arrive via email or fax, it’s a good idea to acknowledge that the office received the information. This is not mandatory, but it’s a nice gesture. Remember, candidates have likely applied for other positions. If they’re good candidates, other employers will be also contacting them. Just because you have a position to fill does not mean you have any sort of edge in the hiring process.

Make a list of standard questions

You want to match candidates’ relevant skills to the job description and the performance metrics of the best person currently in that role. Prepared questions will help you control the interview.

Prepare for the in-person interview

You’ve narrowed it down to the candidates you want to bring in for face-to-face interviews. It’s imperative that you review each resume. You should make notes on the resumes where you need clarification or want to ask questions. I strongly advise that you do not wing it. Trust is being established, and candidates are interviewing you as well.

Start with small talk

Let’s face it, you’ll spend more time with candidates who you can identify with. But it’s important to spend a few minutes getting to know each candidate. These few minutes can tell you more about a candidate than his or her resume and even a person’s answers to questions about the job. People expect questions about their experiences, not about their lives. I’m not suggesting you ask personal questions because there are labor laws to follow. I’m just saying that candidates will reveal a lot of information freely without being prompted.

Follow your questions

The main reason you should prepare a list of questions is to control the flow of the interview. This way you will keep consistency among candidates, and it will help you avoid the interview going sideways.

Take notes

You should jot down notes about each candidate to help you remember details about the interview, such as what you noticed about someone’s appearance, what questions the person asked, any career successes, and more. This will also help you decide which candidates will move on to the next step of the process.

What to do after the interview

You may feel compelled to make an offer at the time of an interview. I caution against this because you may need time to review your notes and see if the candidate will follow up with you. That said, make sure not to let more than 48 hours elapse before continuing to the next step, whether that’s a second interview, a working interview, or a skills assessment. Communicate with all candidates, regardless of whether or not they will move on. It’s common courtesy to communicate with candidates after interviews, even it is not good news.

Randa O’Connor is cofounder and president of Dental Team Finder, a leading dental-specific recruiting firm. She speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to the business of dentistry. She has published articles in Contemporary Esthetics, Dental Economics, and Mentor magazines. She is the owner and president of Pinnacle Leadership Academy Inc., a dental consulting firm. Her desire to make a difference in the teams she coaches motivates her to learn more about people every day. Visit forwardbyhenryschein.com.