10.28.11 Issue #503 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Hire for Skills and Not Always for Dental Experience
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant McKenzie Management

I received an email from a former client, Dr. Joe Smith. He was devastated that his long-time Practice Coordinator's spouse was being relocated by his employer, and she had turned in her notice. It was a sad day for everyone, but more for Dr. Smith. He would never be able to replace her. She knew all the patients, understood him and his mood swings, was like a mother to his younger employees, and had not missed a day of work due to illness in over 7 years!

My guess is that you may have experienced this in your career, as well. It is like losing a family member, since you spend more waking hours with your employees than you do with your friends and family. And even more emotionally draining than the news of an employee's departure is the mere thought of having to interview for a new employee.  Most dentists can only think of a handful of tasks that are worse than this!

So let’s review the process, with possibly a new spin on the “tried and true” method that used to work.

Step 1 - Create the Ad
This ad may run in the local paper, Craigslist, Dentalworkers, or wherever else you chose. What should your ad include? A couple of helpful suggestions would be the following:

1. A clear subject line that states what you are looking for, as well as your annual salary range. Why an annual salary? “Salary negotiable” is not enticing to a potential employee that is already employed. It also screens out those potential applicants that are seeking a position that is more than you can afford to invest. Annual vs. hourly salary just “feels” like more and will get more attention to your ad.

2. A list of what you have to offer the employee. Keep in mind that you may be looking to “steal” an employee from another employer. Do you really want to hire someone that has been looking for employment for two years? Is it possible that there is a reason why they are still unemployed? List all the benefits that you have to offer your new employee, and don’t forget location. In larger cities, location can be a plus, as well as paid parking. Benefits are high on the list of necessary perks for most employees now.

3. What you are looking for. Computer skills, previous experience, ability to work certain hours or days, etc…

4. A cover letter attached to the resume indicating why they feel they are the perfect employee for the position. What exactly does this do? It weeds out those applicants that simply “go through the motions” because they know it is a numbers game. The more resumes they send out, the higher the possibility of being called for an interview.  In our field, detail is very important. When I screen applicants’ resumes that do not attach a cover letter, I don’t consider them. It indicates to me that they don’t follow instructions and aren’t willing to put forth the extra effort to attach a cover letter.

If you want to really narrow down the field, ask for a “handwritten” cover letter. You will not only determine if you can read their handwriting, but can they spell (since they can’t use spell-check) AND are they computer literate enough to know how to attach a document to an email.

5. Information on how to respond to your ad (preferably, an email address that you obtain specifically for this purpose). Do not ask for faxes or mailed resumes. This is the 21st century!

Step 2 - Reviewing the Hundreds of Resumes that you Receive
This becomes the hard part. I would suggest that you work the resumes very systematically. Create folders in your email account entitled the following: No - Yes.  As you open the emails, if there is no attachment or embedded document that includes the requested cover letter = No! If the applicant does attach the cover letter = Yes!

Daily, review the Yes folder and look for the following scenarios: Length of time of employment with previous employers - professionalism of the resume - previous experience - skills - spelling.  (I read a resume one time from a hygienist applying for a hygiene position and she misspelled hygienist throughout her resume!)

Deciding on Skill vs. Dental Experience
When you really think about it, we ALL started in dentistry without any experience! Did that mean that we all turned out to be poor employees? I don't think so. So why do we feel that now it is so important to hire someone only because they have experience? I feel that I was an exceptional employee when I was hired because I had the personal drive to excel. You can't teach that to someone and I sure couldn't learn it from experience..

Often, we find that we will hire someone only because they have “experience” from previous dental offices. Yet - if they were THAT good, why were they the one that was let go when the practice down-sized? Apparently they didn’t make themselves indispensible in the eyes of the employer. I realize that there are wonderful employees in the field that do bring to the table years of experience so I am not excluding them. I am only giving you another avenue to travel.

We are in the “people skills” business. We also are in sales and marketing with the need to be able to crunch numbers. Why not hire an applicant with these skills, which are almost impossible to teach. All the other necessary tasks for a business coordinator can be taught. Think outside the box when you interview your next candidate and hire for their personal skills and not always for their previous dental experience.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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