Why is it so important to hire the right people?
The team members that you hire for your clinic may include dentists that work for you, dental assistants, dental hygienists and administrators, as well as marketing and sales people. All of which will highly impact your chances to grow your business and flourish, for several reasons:
- Patients’ satisfaction: the better service they will provide, the more likely your patient are to become loyal customers and to recommend your clinic to others. And by better service we relate both to your employees’ professional skills and even more so to their soft skills (communication skills, empathy, service awareness, etc.).
- Team stability: the better relationship they will have with other team members, the lower employee turnover you will face, thereby decreasing training costs, recruitment costs and loss of talent and organisational knowledge.
- Reduced operation costs: the more engaged and responsible employees you will have, the less waste you will have at your clinic. Minded employees will avoid unnecessary costs and will keep your operation smooth and effective.
- Successful marketing: needless to say, if some of your team members are involved in sales (including follow ups) and marketing, they directly influence the amount of new and returning patients you will have.
To summarize, if you hire the right team members, they will accelerate your clinic growth, and if you hire even one “rotten apple”, your entire business may deteriorate.
How can you find and recruit the right people?
Recruiting the right people is best done systematically, and we recommend on the following “workflow”, which worked for us and for many others:
- Define the required role
- Advertise the position
- Screen candidates
- Test promising prospects
- Sign the chosen ones
This may seem like a long and tedious process, but in fact it will save you time, efforts, and disappointments on the long run. Following is an explanation how to perform each of these steps.
1. Define the required role
- Job description: Write yourself a list that includes the preliminary job details:
- The role name (e.g. – Dental Assistant)
- The scope, location and timing (e.g. – half time, Monday to Thursday, in Torino, starting next month)
- The “must-have” background (e.g. – a qualified Dental nurse with at least 2 years of experience)
- Additional “nice-to-have” background (e.g. – Dental Hygienist experience, and/or accounting know-how)
- The salary range you are willing to pay (e.g. – €1,500-2,000 net salary, based on experience)
- Job ad: Create a one-page job description based on the job description, but designed to appeal to job seekers:
- Title: Attractive and/or catchy title
- E.g. – “Dental Assistant needed in Torino, flexible hours!”
- Opening: An opening and inviting paragraph
- E.g. – “Join a friendly team of highly skilled professionals, using the most advanced digital dentistry technologies, in a beautiful clinic located at the center of Torino.”
- Role description: including scope, location, timing and responsibilities
- Role requirements: required and preferred background, needed skills
- Contact details:
- E.g. – “If you qualify, please send your CV to email [email protected], mention Job 406 in the title, and make sure to include your mobile number so we can easily approach you.”
- Title: Attractive and/or catchy title
- Avoid providing phone number or details of the clinic, if you prefer to screen CVs first, and talk over the phone only with some relevant prospects. This is needed especially when there is a lot of supply (many candidates seeking for this role), and you can afford to be picky.
- On the other hand, if there is a lot of demand (only a few candidates available in the market, and many employees compete on them), be flexible: provide a phone number, limit your requirements to the minimum possible, make sure the terms you offer are competitive and verify that the title and content of your job ad are indeed appealing to the candidates you try to recruit.
- If candidates are rare, and the competition on them is fierce, you can also promise a “signing bonus”. For example – €1,500 upon signing a contract, that the candidates will need to return if they do not work with you for at least 12 months). This will both encourage them to sign, and “lock-them in”.
2. Advertise the position
- Find out which channels are best for the target candidates, and use these channels to approach candidates. Fit the Job ad you created to each channel separately. The more channels you use, the faster response you will get. These channels may include:
- A friend brings a friend: you can give your job ad to your team members, friends and family, to spread among their friends and acquaintances. You can also offer a prize to team members that brings new team members to work with you. This is a great channel when the competition on candidates is high. Many candidates trust their friends’ recommendations, and prefer to join their work place if recommended.
- Your clinic website: create a “We hire” section at your website, and place the job description there. You can also add there a form for uploading CVs.
- Facebook: you can place posts about positions offered at your own Facebook page – if you have one, as well as at relevant Facebook groups.
- LinkedIn: you can place similar posts at LinkedIn, as well as advertise via LinkedIn (they offer dedicated recruitment options)
- Online recruitment platforms: for example, register to Indeed. You will have to launch a campaign there as an employee and adapt your job ad to their format. The pricing varies from platform to platform. Investigate which platform works best in your country on general, and for dental field there.
- Recruitment agencies and headhunters: make sure you only pay for results, meaning – only for successful placements of new team members (they should work for you for at least several months, otherwise you should get you money back from the agency). The recruitment service cost often equals one month salary cost.
- Printed and online job ads: in various newspapers and magazines. These should work best in dental magazines, websites and publications.
- Unions and professional organizations: dental unions and academic institutes may offer to help and connect you to their members and graduates, sometimes at no cost. Create a list of all options (organization name, contact, email to send your ad, do they charge and how much), and use it time and again when needed.
- You can provide different email addresses to different channels, to learn which cahneels result better response.
- You can re-phrase job descriptions and test what works better (e.g. – does “Office Manager” in the title works better than “Secretary” or “Administrator”?). This method is called “A-B testing”.
- In competitive markets, with big demand for candidates, you need to be creative to draw attention (example).
3. Screen candidates
- Phase I: Initial screening of relevant candidates: this can be done over the phone by an administrator (to save your time), after you prepare a screening table for the administrator:
- Prepare an online table (use Google sheets) for the initial screening, and include in it the “hard core” facts about each candidates.
- For a Dental Assistant, for example, this can include columns with:
- Candidate Name
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Education (Dental nurse? | No, Yes | And if yes – graduation year and institute)
- Year of experience (at least 2 years?)
- Work history (where, for how long)
- Is half time job ok (yes, no)
- Are there preferred and restricted work hours and days? And is so, which?
- Is working as a sub-contractor (with payment against an invoice) an option? (yes, no)
- Is starting next month ok (yes, no)
- Home address (is it in Torino or very close?)
- Dental Hygienist experience?
- Accounting know-how?
- Languages (spoken, written, level)
- Salary expectations
- Remarks and general impression (administrator can add here anything else that is important)
- All the above questions can be partially extracted from the CV and partially added during the phone interview by the administrator (you can even hire an administrator only for these interviews)
- Upon completing these columns (= questions) you can read and decide if the candidate is relevant, and right it in the following column (here below), so that an interview will be scheduled for you.
- The administrator should keep an online folder with all the CVs for a specific role, and make sure you can access these CVs to help screening (before and after the phone interview in phase I).
- Candidates that passed to phase II can be placed in a “Yes” sub-folder.
- Candidates that did not pass can be placed in a “No” sub-folder
- You may also consider a “Maybe” folder, for those you are not sure about…
- Should we advance to an interview? (yes, no). This should be filled-in by you (clinic owner/manager)
- If yes – Interview date and hour. This should be scheduled by the administrator.
- Phase II: Face to face in-depth interview: between Candidate and you (Clinic owner / manager).
- This follows the initial screening, with the candidates that passed this screening.
- It can be done via ZOOM, or – preferably – at your clinic.
- Here you can get first impression of the candidate, ask clarification questions, check the professional skills of the candidate, etc.
- Also see if he fits the clinic “culture”, and does he seem trustworthy and minded and has the right attitude.
- In addition, see if he fits specific role requirements and professional skills.
- The idea is to see if recruiting the candidate seems like a win-win situation for both sides – the clinic and the candidate. To check if there seems to be a good fit for both parties.
- Remember – the candidate also inspects you and the clinic, and only a mutual win-win will enable a long-range and fruitful relationship.
- In the interview try to be friendly, not intimidating. Even if the candidate will not pass, make good impression, since candidates speak with other professionals and clients…
- Note: you can ask additional team members to join parts of the interview, this may eliminate bias (it works like “a second opinion”).
4. Test promising prospects
- One day On-the-job testing
- This phase is essential and highly recommended, since it enables to test if by working together there is a good match and a real win-win situation for both sides. Do NOT skip it!
- Ask candidates that passed the face-to-face interview to come and work at the clinic for only 1 day, of possible. Tell them you will pay them for that day, and that it will enables them and you to see if there is a good fit.
- If they agree, set up a date for them to come and work at the clinic ASAP.
- Before that date arrives, prepare a one-day work plan for them for that day. This day work plan may include 3-4 “boring” routine and professional tasks, as applicable, so you both can see and experience a variety of everyday work processes together.
- For example – for a dental assistant, such tasks may include:
- Cleaning and preparing the clinic for patients and between and after patients
- Dental Hygiene process for 1-2 patients (or – better yet – team members or relatives, to hear their impression)
- Assisting the dentist with 2-3 patients
- Accounting and or administrative task if relevant
- For example – for a dental assistant, such tasks may include:
- The idea is to include hard, grey and tedious work, to challenge the candidates a bit, and see how they perform. And to check how the candidates feel about everyday tasks, and how professional they are.
- At the end of that day, dedicate time to discuss with the candidate how both of you feel about working together.
- If you want both to proceed together, you should hire the candidate, and provide a contract for his/her approval.
5. Sign the chosen one ASAP
- If the testing went well, you can either promise a final answer within up to a week on your side (if you consider other candidates) or decide on-the-spot to hire the candidate (which will minimize the risk of loosing him during that week).
- In any case, once you decide to hire the candidate, a contact should be handed to the candidate instantly, and 2-3 days should be allowed to enable the candidate to inspect the contract before signing it.
- A draft of an employment agreement can and should be ready even before the testing day, so that you will be able to add the candidate’s details and instantly hand it to the chosen candidates for their inspection.
- Remember that promising candidates also inspect you, and expect to receive a well-defined offer, which proves to them that you are serious and professional.
- After all the hard work done to gain, screen and choose a candidate, do not risk it – be prepared!
- In the contract you should include:
- Clear (and reasonable) terms (including salary, vacations, confidentiality, exclusivity (for full-time job, and more). Consult your lawyer, and do not draft the agreement on your own!
- A trial period of 1-2 months, in which each side can end the agreement term within a week or less (this allows another flexibility and assurance of the win-win).
- At least one-month prior notice on “end of term” should be included when the trial period ends, to avoid operational difficulties on your side, and financial difficulties on the employee side.
- Make the contract short, clear and simple. Try to avoid intimidating paragraphs.
- Be flexible and creative in your negotiation and aim for a win-win.
Requiting the right people will make wonders to your business. If you approach it systematically, by defining the role, advertising the position in relevant channels, screening candidates, testing prospects on-the-job and signing fast with the chosen ones, your chances to hire the right team members and establish stable long-range win-win relationships with them increase significantly.
Remember that finding the right people is one of the most important tasks you have, if you want your clinic to grow. And that recruiting may become a real bottleneck to growth if the role has big demand, and your competitors are more efficient in hiring staff. Do your best to respond faster, and follow the steps suggested in this article, in order to find and recruit a great team. Your efforts will be rewarded 10-fold and more, if you manage it wisely. We wish you good luck, and let us know if we can help.
At DentQ, we are proud to be the business partners of thousands of dentists around the world, and to provide them tools, technologies and content that can help their business grow. Whether you work with us or not, feel free to re-visit our blog and join our Facebook page to read similar articles that can help you improve your own dental business.