Even in the slow economy, many practices are finding themselves in the difficult position of searching for a new team member. Whether it is due to practice growth (congratulations!) or natural attrition from retirement, relocation, pregnancy or dismissal (or as we call it – giving a “job opportunity”) – the dynamics and style of an existing dental team can make finding the right person very difficult.
One of the big mistakes many practices make is looking for someone with “experience.” While it may be ideal to hire a dental assistant who knows mesial from distal or a business team member who is familiar with dental insurance and knows your software, oftentimes “experience” translates into hiring someone who did not work out in another office or multiple offices. Anyone who complains about their former boss in a job interview is waving a red flag that can be seen from the moon.
While it may be scary to hire a complete neophyte and ask them to jump right in, our experience has shown that it is better to hire the right person and tough it out during the break-in period rather than having to modify someone’s bad habits and horrible attitude. (Of course, an experienced person with a great attitude and work ethic is a different and better story!)
It is almost always better to follow the old chestnut “hire for attitude and train later.” As challenging as working in a dental office may be, someone who is bright, enthusiastic and has excellent people skills combined with a good work ethic can become a fantastic part of your team – someone with experience who is a whining pain-in-the-ass or queen bee will have you paying unemployment or cursing the day you hired them.
So where do you find this wonderful person? One good rule is to always be on the lookout for an excellent team member, even if you don’t think you need one at the moment. Sometimes adding the right person to your staff will be a move that pays for itself many times over even if you think the timing isn’t right.
An excellent and often overlooked place to search for team members is in your existing patient pool. Think about it – you already know so much about them.
A patient who is responsible with their appointments will probably be the same with their job. A patient with a trucker’s mouth will probably not work out. You know who cares a lot about their smile and dental hygiene, and most of all, you know if someone is a “people person.”
You also know who is bright and pleasant. And here is the kicker – many times you even know the employment situation of your patients. If someone meets all of the criteria and is a recent graduate with no set career path, a young retiree looking for a second career or a stay-at-home Mom who no longer wants to stay at home, it may just behoove you and your team to ask them if they have ever considered a career in dentistry.
Have them come into your office for a few days and see how they like it (and how they tolerate the blood and guts!). This can be the easiest, cheapest and best way to find that next fantastic addition to your team. Now is a good time to start!
Speaking of your team, if you want to make them the best that they can be and schedule more new patients than ever before, click here!