Building a great team starts with with… finding potential team members. Whether you are adding new employees due to expansion or simply replacing a lost staff member, your success in building a productive dental office staff can often hinge on how you find potential candidates.
And with that in mind, there are five “big” mistakes many dentists and office managers make during the hiring process, which of course can lead to problems down the road.
1. Too little or too much!
You’ve either had an inadequate number of applicants or you had so many that you got tired of searching through resumes and after a while throw up your hands and say something along the lines of, “let’s just hire one of these people…” And…then they don’t work out.
2. The Waiting Game
Good candidates find jobs fast. They’re not going to wait for you. In many cases hiring troubles fall back on stretching out the hiring process. Productive people move fast – well you have to do the same when hiring! Don’t take days upon days to review resumes and THEN set up interviews. Move the process quickly.
(Related: 4 Tips for Hiring Great Front Office Staff)
3. Unworkable criteria
Certain personnel in a dental office require a license or various other qualifications – i.e. dentists, hygienists and potentially x-ray certification for assistants and so on. Despite this, you’ll of course still get those calls off a hygienist ad you placed from people who don’t have a license… love those don’t you?
What I’m referring to in this category is placing all manner of oddball qualifications on positions that DON’T have these criteria – which includes most front desk and administrative positions. I’ve seen this go all over the place: “They have to have ___years of experience using Dentrix,” or “They have to have been in, at least, the medical field for ___ years.” Usually things like this, which may or may not have ANY bearing on the potential quality of the applicants work, get entered in because of someone’s “idea” of what the ideal employee would be like. Or after having dealt with a “bad” employee. For example: you hire a “bad” employee who embezzles and they used to work at Dairy Queen, so “no more people who ever worked at Dairy Queen!” I’m joking a bit, but you get the idea. Too many inapplicable or unusable criteria (certain experience, schooling, etc) can get you in trouble and make you miss on potentially productive team members. Now, there are important qualities, you should be on the lookout for, which we discusses in the blog post Hiring an Employee with No Prior Dental Experience.
4. Not bothering to replace a lost employee or fill a needed position because hiring is “too much work,” and you don’t want to deal with it.
I feel your pain – but this is not an excuse.
5. Holding on to employees who aren’t a good fit and are unproductive
Maybe you’re doing this because you’re not confident you can find someone better. I discuss why this can be such a big problem in this video tip:
These are the “big 5” I’ve found. Ultimately, the handling is simple: get enough applicants, move quickly, don’t add all manner of weird and unworkable qualifications, and don’t keep staff on board who are non-productive. And this last point is a two-sided problem: it costs you in potential productivity and patient upsets, and it can keep you from hiring or make you lose good staff as they have to pick up the slack of these people not doing their jobs.
(As a side-note: If you’d like to find out how to streamline the interview process so your time isn’t all eaten up by hiring interviews, contact us at (800) 640-1140 or email AprilK@mgeonline.com to get in touch with an MGE consultant for free.)
Now, if you’d like to increase your potential number of applicants, here’s a few ideas:
1. Ask for employee referrals
The first thing I do when hiring is: ask for referrals. Get the word out there that you’re hiring. Tell your patients, your current employees, friends, family, supply rep, other parents at your kid’s school, etc. – let everyone know that you’re hiring and ask them if they know anybody looking for a job.
Ask your current employees if they wouldn’t mind posting about it on their Facebook page — same with friends and family. Usually, you’ll find people are very willing to help.
I emphasize this point because people tend to surround themselves with like-minded people as their friends. So, if you already have some employees you love, then a potentially great place to find more great employees just like them is through their friends!
You may already have mentioned to your staff and they “know” you’re looking for new employees, but most dentists/OMs I speak with don’t put enough emphasis on this.
(Related: 4 Common Mistakes in Hiring Employees)
2. Use surveys to find the best places to place ads
The next thing you’ll want to do after you tell your staff that you’re looking to hire someone is survey them. Ask them questions such as, “if you were looking for a job, where would you look?” Get them to be as specific as possible. Some more questions you could ask include:
- What website would you go to if you were looking for a job?
- Which newspaper would you look in?
- Is there a bulletin board you would search?
And note down what they say. Whether it’s Monster, Indeed, a local paper in your area, or Craigslist — there are many places you can place ads. What we’re trying to do by surveying is narrow it down to the most effective ad listings for your area.
After you’ve collected these surveys, tally it all up and look at what comes up the most. Take the top 3 and post your ads there.
At MGE, we have some ads we’ve found to be pretty effective and we’d be happy to share them with you. If you send me an email at AshleyF@mgeonline.com, I’ll send them over to you. Otherwise, for more information contact us at (800) 640-1140.