Hiring Relatives or Friends? Hire Right!
“When I first started up my new practice, I wanted to save money on employees because my schedule was light - so I asked a friend of my sister who had experience at the front desk to help out for about a year until we could build our patient base. After a couple of months I realized that she was not a good fit for me and I wished that I’d interviewed her like I would a stranger. I had to let her go and now my sister is upset with me.” - Dr. J
A painful lesson for Dr. J, but easily avoided by seeing that hiring protocols are strictly adhered to regardless of the person involved. Don’t push the panic button when considering hiring someone for your practice. Take time to think through what kind of person you want to be working with, talking too and directing for eight hours or more per day. For start-up practices it may be a challenge because of lack of salary funds, but it is better to pay a little more to attract someone who can build the practice quickly rather than hire someone that will turn people away.
Temperament testing is important to identify the personality types best suited for the position you are looking to fill. Dentistry is an extroverted profession, so always hire an extrovert because they are energized by contact with people all day. Introverted types like contact in smaller doses and need to be in private to recharge their batteries.
Take a hard look at the resume presented to you. Does it show gaps in the work history? Are short periods of employment without good explanation indicative of a job jumper? Resumes are only a small part of the picture because people often hire a professional to write them, so take the time to look beyond the glossy cover.
Always have the applicant fill out an employment application, and make sure that the applicant has answered the questions in legible handwriting using the correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. In the How to Hire book available through McKenzie Management’s website, there is a step by step guide to hiring without pitfalls. Included in this valuable resource are questions to ask applicants that are open-ended, meaning that the question cannot be answered with a yes or no, it must be explained. Testing for computer skills, spelling and math is also a must, because the business of dentistry is about these skills as much as it is about people skills.
Job descriptions for each position available in your practice are necessary to define the job skills of the applicant, and can be used as a check-off list to determine what training a promising employee may need to become an asset to the practice. Without a job description, there is a lot of assumption as to what this person can bring to the position. This same job description is used in yearly performance reviews to measure job growth and accountability.
When interviewing the applicant, have them go over the job description and mark any areas where they feel they have experience or could benefit from extra training. For instance, you want all dental assistants to be able to input treatment plans into the computer, so your business coordinator can prepare a treatment estimate to present to the patient upon their dismissal. If the dental assistant had never used the software before or for that matter any dental software, you would experience a learning period of a good two weeks to get this person trained without errors.
When hiring friends or relatives, the standards for performance are very often not communicated for fear of alienating the relationship. If friends or relatives are given hours that are the envy of the other team members you have or will hire in the future, this can be a source of friction and tension in the practice. It is far better to establish hiring protocols now and standardize how all employees will be treated to avoid future bickers and staff turnover.
For the real scoop on hiring and training your team, call McKenzie Management today and sign up for a Dental Office Training course customized to your practice needs.
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