How to Interview a Prospective Employee
The hiring process need not be painful if you are prepared and have the right tools. Hiring by gut instinct or by making a “connection” during the interview can be misleading. A friendly, outgoing person who is compassionate and warm may not be able to deal with calling insurance companies, making collection calls and being firm with patients who habitually break appointments or show up late. Unless you have established this person’s temperament type or determined byassessment testing that they have the aptitude for the work, you may be setting the person up for failure in your practice. Learning how to hire is an area that most dentists do not feel comfortable with, especially when it comes to the face-to-face interview. Remember that the job-seeker is nervous and probably has rehearsed answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Some questions are overused by interviewers to the point that they are predictable and the person being interviewed is suddenly on “easy street” when it comes to looking good. Many job seekers are expecting the interview questions to reflect the job description from the help wanted ad. Take the excerpt from the following ad:
Dental Business Office assistant wanted: must be a self-starter, hardworking, team player, loyal and seeking a long-term employment relationship.
Who seeking a job is not hard working? “How are you hard working” would be a better question to ask. No one is going to say they are lazy and do the minimum. The best question to ask would be: “When were you most satisfied in your last job?” This question will reveal what motivates the job seeker. If the answer is, “Helping patients understand the value of dental care” the next question would be: “What did you say or do to help the patient value dental care?”
What is a self-starter? Before you ask about this, it is wise to ask yourself what defines a “self-starter” in your dental office. The same goes for team-player. Ask an open-ended question such as: “When you come to work in the morning, what do you do to prioritize your day?” Many practices say they are a team, but in reality they are a group of people doing their own thing to get through the day. You will often hear: “I don’t do that, Betty is the only one who enters treatment plans.” If Betty is not there it doesn’t get entered into the computer but goes on Betty’s task list to do when she gets back. In the sense of true team spirit, someone is cross-trained to put in treatment plans and does so to keep the practice on goal.
Loyalty in a dental practice often means: “What happens here stays here.” In businesses that have important proprietary information that can be sold to competitors, this would be a valued trait. Eliminate the drama and stick to the business of dentistry, and you won’t have to worry about employees gossiping or being disloyal.
Many dental offices have long-term employees who are valued, appreciated and rewarded for good work. These are the reasons that they are long-term, loyal employees. But advertising for a long-term employee is not a good idea. How would you know that you want this employee long-term until after they have proved to be an asset to your practice? “Long-term” could be interpreted as a promise of a job forever or as long as they want it to be. The question to ask is: “Why do you want to work here?” Finding the right office is often a gamble to the job seeker. You want to hear that the job seeker is interested in working for you because they know who you are and of your reputation as a very good dentist, or they visited your website and can tell you why they like what they see. The reason needs to be more than: “You called me after receiving my resume.”
Staffing the dental practice with the right people is a challenge, but it can be made easier and more satisfying by taking the time to follow a system that ensures success. McKenzie Management has the systems and the tools. Need help? Call us today at 877-777-6151 for business training classes, products and services to build strong staffing systems in your practice.
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