Changing your wrong hires and short-term hires to winning employees!
The majority of dentists, when realizing it is time to hire a new team member, will either contract with an agency, search internet “resume clearing houses”, write an ad (or assign someone in the practice to construct one), or simply start asking local colleagues and dental peers for referrals. And let us not forget asking patients if they “know someone” (which I believe is the worst mistake of all).
No matter what avenue you take or the vehicle you use to attract candidates, the same applies in every case and that is that you need to have a well-developed plan in place prior to starting the process. It isn’t simply ” Okay, let’s start interviewing people as soon as we start to see some good resumes or responses coming through.” I think not! It’s a bit more involved than this.
That is “if” you are seeking the best employees for you and your practice. That is “if” you are wanting to hire passionate, honest, high integrity employees and “if” you can expect them to stay with you as long as possible. You see, anyone can locate interested personnel, but are they the right people for your practice, do they align with your practice culture, philosophy and business model? These are the things that will help assure you of not just filling an opening, but bringing in the quality employees you are truly seeking.
It may seem like a waste of time and effort, but honestly once the groundwork is laid and the systems and protocols are in place, it’s just a matter of reusing these materials each time you require additional team members and tweaking them to fit the specific requirements of the new employee. Although following this methodology will add this type of discipline into your hiring routine, you will probably find that you will not be going through this “drill” nearly as often as you have prior to working with structure in your hiring process.
I will list for you chronologically what you will require to change things for the better:
- Know exactly what you are looking for. Create a thorough, comprehensive Job Description for this position before you do anything else. Type it out with your letterhead. This should be presented to every candidate that makes it in for a face-to-face-interview.
- Be prepared with a salary range (this is a RANGE that can fluctuate based on candidate). This means that you do your homework. Know what skill sets they MUST have to begin with. What licensures they MUST have. Whether they will be working alone or have someone else with them (this can affect salary either up or down). Be well prepared and knowledgeable here even if you must conduct some due diligence.
- If you insist upon the traditional “Working Interview” (with which I discourage, by the way), I prefer a “Skill Assessment”, which is conducted during non-patient hours and is simply an extension of the interview process. If you have them in for a Working Interview then be prepared in advance with a compensation amount and paperwork that supports the time spent. This release should be signed by the doctor and the job applicant. You should have an amount per hour for this day preset so the candidates are aware of this prior to coming in. I can supply you with a sample if you email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to have the WI overseen by a reliable team member or one of your family members. They should not be alone to have access to patient records or information of any kind.
- Be prepared to supply the strong applicants with an overview of the hours and days that they will be responsible for.
- Having the finalists (you may have more than one) have lunch or coffee with your present team (without doctors). This is an excellent opportunity for the team to get a better feel for the candidate.
- If you don’t have a reputable company to conduct background checks and drug tests, please find one. This would be one of the very last steps prior to determining a starting wage. Until you have all these pieces completed you should not be offering anyone a position.
- Checking references is a tough one, although I do have a protocol I created a number of years ago.
- When everything clears and you and your team feel comfortable to offer this person the position, a Job Proposal should be created with every bit of information pertaining to their involvement with your practice. This is when you should have them review your Employee/Practice Manual. You must encourage them to read it and initial each page. In it you should include things such as dress codes, CE courses, vacation information, well days, etc. They should have everything understood and sign off on it all which will save you from those questions about time off, bereavement pay, etc., that so often comes up later.
- Your Job Proposal should also be thorough and comprehensive with regard to when checks are cut. If you utilize my Progressive Salary Program System that gradually brings salary up as new skills are successfully acquired.
- Bringing in a new team member should also be an Office Event, especially when you find you are not hiring as often. Make their presence a big deal. Balloons? A bio and picture of them set up in the Reception Room? Make sure every team member introduces them to each and every patient, vendor, mail/delivery people and others.