Archive for Dental Office Hiring and Human Resources
What is the most important resource in your dental office? No, it’s not your equipment or even the building itself.
It is your team. In fact, it makes more sense to show them as an asset on the practice balance sheet.
However, in 2012, quality talent is at a premium. A study by McKinsey & Co., The War For Talent states, “as the demand for talent goes up, the supply of it will be going down. The search for the best and the brightest will become a constant, costly battle.” We are fighting that battle not only with other dentists, but across all medical professions.
The best way to attract talent from this ever-decreasing pool is to make the compensation package competitive. You won’t get a top performer into your dental office by paying below-average wages. Remember that total compensation packages don’t just mean an hourly wage. By providing a package of benefits in addition to a base wage, you show your talent that you value them as an employee.
How much does compensation matter to you?
- Competence: Can they do the job?
- Commitment: Will they do the job?
- Chemistry: How will they fit in?
In our rush to impress candidates and fill a void on our team, Dental CEOs who are interviewing candidates lapse into “Sell and Tell” mode. In fact, the most common mistake interviewers make is talking too much.
Follow this flow for a more successful interview:
- Establish rapport. Greet the candidate and help them get comfortable. Small talk helps people relax. Talk about the weather, where they live, how their weekend was. Offer them tea, coffee or water.
- Explain your process. Take two minutes to lay out the timetable and agenda for the interview. Let the candidate know you will be taking notes.
- Follow the 80/20 Rule. During the main part of the interview, the candidate should do 80% of the talking. Ask open-ended questions, then LISTEN to the answers.
- Target performance that matters to you. Think about the three most frequent problem situations that occur in your office. Write an interview question for each which begins, “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with [insert situation]. What did you do, and what was the outcome?”
- Allow time for questions. Once you are done, give the candidate a few minutes to switch roles. Now is when you sell!
- Close with a commitment. Tell the candidate when you expect to make a decision. Let them know either way. When you close the loop – even when it’s a No – you leave a respectful impression.
“Don’t waste time calculating your chances of success and failure. Just fix your aim and begin.” ~ Guan Yin Tzu
Why is attitude important to your dental practice? You are hiring ambassadors. An ambassador is a representative of your dental practice. Patients will measure personal satisfaction based on how each ambassador represents you.
If team members do not share your standards of practice success and patient service, they will communicate that to everyone. Verbally or nonverbally, your team members are communicating.
Action step: Think about including the language “Ambassador” in your next job posting!
As a reminder from my last post: Hire for attitude, train for skills.
That probably sounds a little crazy to any sane dentist. Hear me out…
Are there days when you think you could operate your dental practice more efficiently? Do you value everyone on your team, but wish that some were nicer with patients, would up-sell cosmetic services or ask for referrals?
Answer those questions by asking yourself: Did I hire the first person I interviewed for the job?
To hire someone new in your dental practice, you must understand the objectives of the practice, your Core Values and Mission Statement. Only from there can you determine who it will take to achieve that. We are taught to hire employees based on education, technical competence, skill and years of experience. We hope that they will be good at patient service, have a friendly attitude and make positive contributions to the practice growth. But – we don’t actually hire them for that! We don’t look for candidates – at the outset – who will do that.
What people know is less important than who they are. What we know changes from moment to moment (quickly), while who we are changes over a long period of time. Hiring someone with a marginal attitude and expecting them to change is a decision you will pay for over and over again.
In your next interview, look past the years of experience and look at their attitude.
In the job market of 2012, our focus must be on attracting the kind of people we want to work with us. Remember, as THE DENTAL COACH©, I want you to work with people who believe in you, like you, and behave like you. This person has to live and breathe your Core Values and Vision.
It all sounds good, but how do you find them?
- Identify where people that you want to hire “hang out”. There are the dental training programs at local community colleges, but what about the grocery store? Day care centers where moms drop off their kids? What about the coffee shop? What do these people read? Who do they know? Are they on Facebook? Are they in professional dental associations?
- Start planting seeds: When talking about your dental practice, focus on telling vs. selling. Talk to everyone you know about your practice, why you do what you do and what makes you different.
- Offer a Team Bounty: Provide incentive for your current team. They are the best untapped source of new team members. They have friends from their training programs, friends they hang out with in the same circles. Studies prove that employee-referred candidates tend to be higher quality and stay longer than other hires. (If you give a $250 bonus to a current team member who gives a referral, you’re getting a great deal!)
- Announce position openings at your next networking meeting: If you are a member of BNI, Toastmasters, or your local Chamber of Commerce – announce the opening as you’re doing your 30-second commercial.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi
Hear me out!
Most Dental CEOs view dental staff recruiting as a process of quickly convincing an experienced candidate to accept a job offer. That’s just not true. Recruiting is more about attraction and charm. It’s like dating! Yes, it’s been years since I’ve courted anyone (I’ve been married for 38 years to my beautiful bride, Trish). However, recruiting is all about attraction!
In today’s labor markets, our focus must be on attracting the kind of staff we want to work with us. Begin by creating a fun, fair, and rewarding work environment, so that anyone who visits you – candidate, vendor, or patient – walks away thinking “Wow, that dental office would be a great place for [me, my cousin, my sister, etc.] to work.”
Don’t just work on finding the perfect hygienist. Work on making your office the perfect place for a terrific hygienist to work at!
Here are my tips for writing a job ad that attracts the top 25 percent of candidates:
- Emphasize what you want successful candidates to “do” versus just what you want them to “have”. It is even more important, however, to attract those who really want to perform the duties you have in mind, and who will fit into your dental office environment and culture.
- Ask your staff: I always advocate getting staff involved in these processes. Ask what qualities would be best for a new team member—good sense of humor? High energy? The staff will be the ones working even more closely with this new employee than you will.
- Locate an experienced writer or recruiting consultant and ask them to help you write a master ad template for each position in your office. The pros are skilled at using more effective words to convey the message in an attractive and inviting way. Added bonus: lots of saved time!
- Scan the employment ads on Monster.com and print out ads that reflect the sort of energy you want to capture. Place those in a file for inspiration. It’s okay to adapt others’ ideas to improve your own ads.
Consider different methods of hiring: What about placing a Facebook ad with a fun photo of the team? These are inexpensive (you only pay per click) and can attract another targeted group.
“If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.” ~ Dennis Roth
To have the best staff, you have to attract only the top echelon of staff to begin with. When you treat candidates as actual “customers” – rather than subordinates — you change everything about finding new staff. Most dental ads and sourcing techniques are set up to simply fill a void. They are written to fill a quick position. Frankly, don’t you want to attract the top 25 percent, not just a warm body?
Most ads are written with one single criterion: experience. Lots of it. This is the fundamental flaw associated with traditional hiring. Don’t risk hiring dental staff with 20 years of experience who are complacent and know outdated techniques. Hire dental staff that can do the job, regardless of their experience. To find these candidates, write ads that focus on past performance, talent, energy levels and the ability to learn.
When candidates see the job as a career opportunity, you simply and instantly attract more people. On your terms. Many of my coaching clients have asked me what a good ad is. Remember: a good ad focuses on outcomes rather than activity.
Here is a sample ad I have done for you: Dental Hygienist wanted who can do all phases of soft tissue management and can head up a productive, profitable hygiene department. While we offer flexible scheduling and great pay, use the latest technology, and don’t mind if you Whistle While you Work (Grumpy need not apply). We want leadership, energy and commitment to a team. Call now or email your resume for a confidential audition!
Stay tuned for more tips on dental hiring….
Last post, I promised you that I would tell you exactly how to avoid the dental hiring scramble in your office. Below, find my tips that have been cultivated over years of being a DENTAL COACH© to many Dental CEOs!
- Calculate your “complete” staff costs in both real dollars and as a percentage of total overhead costs. Compare them to industry benchmarks to determine if your practice staffing levels are appropriate to your practice productivity. Ask dental colleagues or mastermind fellows to compare numbers if you have difficulty.
- Evaluate your practice capacity. When do you have the greatest demand for your services? How well are you staffed to meet this demand? If your afternoons are a higher demand time for patient care, what staffing configurations are most profitable to your practice while supporting your patient service? Could you possibly hire someone part-time?
- Connect with a staffing agency. Have a quality, temporary dental staffing agency on call for any unexpected departures or even medical/family emergencies. This takes the urgency off of the hiring process and allows you extra time to hire the best.
- Develop a list of questions to ask yourself before beginning the hiring process. Start with, “Do I really need to fill this position?” This will enable you to know “if” and “when” you need to hire. Envision what the “perfect” candidate acts like. Record some of those traits.
- Determine staffing needs based on your current level of office productivity. Factor in future growth you anticipate. Also, think about where you want the practice to be in 1, 3 and 5 years. What staffing needs will you have then?
- Call a team meeting and invite everyone’s input on what level of staffing is appropriate to maintain patient service, quality and practice productivity.
“Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” ~ Author Unknown
When is the last time you hired someone in your dental office? Was it a smooth process where you took careful time to evaluate candidates; had your team make recommendations, had the potential employee come in for a trial day? Did the hiring process do its job of attracting, developing and retaining talents?
My guess is: Probably not. Generally, hiring is a crisis where the doctor and team “scramble” to find a suitable hygienist, chairside or appointment coordinator. In many instances, replacing a team member comes as a surprise—the team member often announces their leaving unexpectedly. The doctor is ill-prepared for this sudden opening.
Dentists that fail to evaluate staffing needs often fall into financial trouble. They discover their profitability falls, capital for expansion evaporates, and they experience lost productivity and increased hiring costs. Vacancies, for any reason, need to be evaluated carefully before any decision to hire can be made.
Stay tuned for my next post on how to avoid this scramble in your dental office!