Tips for Hiring Good Dental Office Staff
Running a busy dental practice presents ongoing challenges, and while dentists are highly skilled in their field of expertise, they may not have the same level of proficiency when it comes to the everyday management of a business.
That’s why they need dental office staff to keep their practice running smoothly. However, finding the right people to do this job can be a challenge in itself.
A common mistake among dental practices is failing to devote resources to a small business hiring strategy for non-clinical positions such as administrator, receptionist, billing clerk or office manager. Breakdowns in communication between your practice staff and your patients can be harmful for your practice, so you need to hire the best people for the job.
Whether you’re opening a new practice or looking to fill a vacated position, it’s wise to take time and care in the hiring process – just as you would never rush a dental procedure such as a root canal or extraction. When taking on a new member of staff, think in the long term, and beware of hiring someone because they’re willing to accept a low salary, which will be a false economy if they waste clinicians’ time through weak management skills.
Posting Your Job Vacancy
Each job should be precisely defined before you post it, so draw up a list of all the attributes necessary to fulfill the role. For instance, if you need to take on a new receptionist, the job description should make it clear that the successful candidate will be expected to do far more than just answer the phone. Be clear that they need to be able to show compassion in helping anxious patients. You can always train a new employee how to handle your software and phone system, but it’s far more difficult to teach someone people-oriented skills.
In fact, soft skills are just as important as the hard skills you see on resumés. Soft skills – personality traits and attributes that make it easier for workers to interact with one another and patients – are vital for a dental office to perform effectively.
Many recruiters now turn to the LinkedIn business, the world’s biggest network for employers posting vacancies and job-seekers uploading resumés. LinkedIn enables you to build your employee brand, attract job candidates, and find the right person by broadcasting your vacancy to members who match your requirements.
What to Look for in a Candidate’s Cover Letter
While a candidate’s resumé summarizes their professional abilities and accomplishments, the supporting cover letter is equally important and gives the applicant an opportunity to introduce themselves to you on a more personal level, demonstrating their communication skills while explaining why their uniqueness makes them stand out from the rest.
A good cover letter will be a well-constructed, business-like document reinforcing the message of the resumé and showing you that the applicant is enthusiastic and motivated about the opportunity. On the other hand, a sloppy, flawed cover letter should raise a red flag immediately.
How to Conduct the Job Interview
When you get to meet a candidate face to face, bear in mind that many job-seekers are nervous about interviews. However, a good prospect will be able to demonstrate they’ve done at least basic research into your practice. They should be able to demonstrate a fairly good grasp of the dental office’s ethos, target clientele, projected growth and range of dental services.
One aspect that makes some candidates stand out is that they’ve done enough homework to enable them not only to answer your questions but raise pertinent questions of their own. They’ll also be able to show a thorough understanding of the job description and explain how their skills and experience make them a good fit for the role.
Remember that an interview is, by definition, a two-way street, so try to ensure the occasion becomes less of an interrogation and more of a business discussion. This will help to put the interviewee at ease and give you better insight into how their personality and capabilities reflect their drive and determination.
A job interview is a dialogue to establish whether your practice can form a successful collaboration with the candidate. Your decision to hire a new employee can have a big impact on the business, so you need to be satisfied that you’re right for each other.
If a candidate has a background in general admin work rather than in a medical office, get a sense of how they’ll perform in the busy routine of your practice. Will they be able to multitask and handle unexpected situations without being overwhelmed under pressure?
Above all, keep an open mind when interviewing a prospective employee, listen carefully to what they’re telling you, and guard against falling into the trap of stereotyping candidates. For instance, you might be inclined to favor younger applicants, without realizing that senior employees can be just as productive while having the advantage of experience and a broad knowledge base.
Selecting the Right Candidate – and Keeping Them
You may look more favorably on a candidate who’s looking for long-term employment with you. If patients notice a high rate of staff turnover, they might conclude that your practice isn’t functioning as well as it should be.
Choosing the right person for the job can be challenging. Sometimes, the stress of making such an important decision can result in hiring mistakes that can be detrimental to a dental practice in the long run. To find the best employees, you need to have the best hiring practices.
Once your new staff member is in place, you need to look after them, providing the structure and supervision necessary to ensure they can play their part in making sure your practice runs effectively. Hold regular performance reviews so you can help the employee perform to high standards on a consistent basis.
Last Piece of Advice – Dental Office Marketing Manager
When your practice is growing, and your Office Manager is wearing one too many hats… It is probably time to hire a Marketing Manager for your Dental Office. In our experience, as a dental marketing company, a functioning Marketing Manager can be worth their weight in gold.
Your Director of Marketing should be responsible for taking the load off you and/or your Office Manager to work with your Dental Marketing Company, manage your referral outreach program, and coordination with local charities and events to spread the word about your practice.
He or she will also be a valuable asset to your Social Media presence. Together with your Dental Marketing Agency, they will be able to manage and solicit raffles, giveaways, and regular updates to encourage patient engagement.
For additional tips and tricks to running an effective dental practice, stay tuned for future content.