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Practice Perfect: How to Hire for Excellence

It is well known that the best dental practices attract excellent staff, and subsequently, have minimal staff turnover.  However, even in the best practices, there will be times when it’s necessary to hire new staff members. Practice growth, retirement of an existing employee, and family changes such as a spouse being transferred to another city, are just some of the reasons that create a need to hire. Dr. James Pride, founder of the Pride Institute, once said “hiring a new employee is your opportunity to continue developing the quality of your practice.”


Have a Plan Before You Search

So, how do you best position yourself for finding excellence and “continue developing the quality of your practice?” Before you start the hiring process, make sure you have two essential items prepared: Develop a clearly-defined practice philosophy to share with the prospective employee. Second, develop a concise written job description that defines both the duties of the position, as well as the doctor’s expectations.

When you begin your search, it’s important you look for the employee in the right places. According to the Pride Institute, one of the most effective ways to find the best employees is through “networking” or word-of-mouth referrals. Your future staff member is probably looking online in places such as Craigslist, as well as the newspaper. Social media is also a great way to spread the word. Consider using your website or Facebook page to “advertise.”


Ask the Right Questions: Importance of Interview

Once you find a potential candidate, the importance of the interview process cannot be overstated. Being prepared and controlling the interview are paramount, and will help differentiate between the truly motivated and high performing candidates, and those that are not. Many candidates have already developed a “canned” response to questions they have been asked many times before. Overused questions, such as “tell me about yourself,” or “describe your strong points,” often elicit virtually the same response from each candidate, rendering the question useless.

Avoid closed-ended questions and offering the answer prior to asking the question. The most effective interviewers rely on open-ended questions, which require the candidate to provide more spontaneous reactions, ultimately revealing more about their philosophy, motivation and performance potential. Finally, without exception, check
references. No matter how tempting it may seem to skip this critical step, take it upon yourself to call each candidate’s references personally, regardless of the position the candidate is pursuing.

The time and preparation involved in hiring for excellence can minimize making a costly mistake. Remember the old adage “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” Additional information on this topic can be found in the program “How To Hire Simply The Best” by Pride Institute.




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