The wrong hire can cost a practice thousands of dollars in direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include costs for job postings, recruiters, training, and more. Indirect costs include culture damage, delay in bringing in the right candidate, and stretching your team thin until you find a great candidate.
Recruiting is one of the biggest challenges for dental practices. But all hope isn’t lost. Practices can take specific steps to recruit better candidates for their practice. Here are three steps you can take to avoid hiring the wrong candidate for your practice.
Determine Each Candidate’s Personality Type
Many practice leaders readily understand that each position requires a candidate with a specific skill set. Front desk team members need to have basic technical skills, for example, such as the ability to use office management software, fax machines, scanners, and telephone systems.
Traditionally, practice leaders searched for candidates with the skills needed to complete each position’s primary job responsibilities. But skills are only half of what makes a candidate successful. Someone could have extensive experience using computers, fax machines, and telephone systems but make a bad fit for your front desk team member because their personality isn’t outgoing or personable. Front desk members are the first people your patients meet when they call or come in. They are critical to making the best first impression.
Thus, their personality style can be even more important than their skill set. After all, you can train someone to use a fax machine. It’s hard to get someone who isn’t extroverted to be outgoing and lively five days a week.
In my practice, we use the DISC personality test to find the right personality fit. DISC is an acronym for four different personality types: Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive, and Cautious. My hygienist is very outgoing, for example, but she’s not going to be the person to soothe a patient. Thus, I make sure her assistant has a very Supportive personality style. The person who handles my financial accounts has a Cautious personality type, which means they are very detail-oriented and deliberate with everything they do. This makes it natural for them to catch even the smallest mistakes.
If you have had trouble finding the right candidates, it’s possible you are filling positions based on skills only. Add personality tests to the equation and you can likely find much better fits.
Conduct Multiple In-Person Interviews and Interview Multiple Candidates
We recommend conducting at least two in-person interviews. It’s very hard to know a candidate fully with only one in-person interview. Have them talk to practice leadership and their direct supervisor face-to-face. Get a sense of whether they have the skills and experience for the job. Ask them about their experiences and how they addressed issues similar to those that come up in your practice regularly.
In addition, have them spend a little time with the team members they’d work with if they got the job. This is important because the best recruiting finds the right candidate for your practice and not just the candidate with the best résumé. By having them come to talk to the team, you can get the team’s input on whether they think they’d like working with the candidate. You can listen to their evaluation of the candidate and see if they approve of them or disapprove of them. The candidate can also see if they think they’d get along with your team.
Finally, unless you find what you believe to be the perfect fit of skills and personality, consider interviewing multiple candidates for each position. This helps you and your team compare the pros and cons between candidates to find the best overall fit. Of course, if you find the perfect candidate right away, be prepared to make them an offer. But most of the time, everybody benefits by interviewing multiple candidates.
Test Each Candidate Before Hiring Them
Many dental practice jobs require a lot of skills. And as much as someone’s résumé can list their employment experience, there’s no way to tell if they’re actually good at what you’ll need them to do.
If patient-facing team members can’t perform how you want with a patient they’ll damage your practice’s reputation, or worse. Consider testing them in a mock situation. Test them on yourself or with a team member willing to be a test patient. Give office staff small sample projects. If they do well, it’s more likely you can trust them.
How Do You Avoid Hiring the Wrong Candidate?
Do you consistently find great candidates for your practice? If so, what are your best tips for doing so? If not, these three tips can help. If you want more help, consider joining my Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where dental recruiting, hiring, and team onboarding expert Samantha Leonard will work with you and your team to find, hire, and onboard the best candidates for your practice.