I was talking to a couple of clients last week about interviewing and recruiting.
For new employees.
Not talking to both of them at the same time.
But at different times.
“interviewing for new staff can be like pulling teeth….”
[Webster definition: “very difficult and frustrating”]
As an interviewer, you can sometimes feel as if you have been deceived into spending time with people who you should not be with.
What makes interviewing so painful?
I think the number one cause of painful interviews is a total lack of guidelines that need to be adhered to when choosing candidates to interview.
A lack of clear guidelines will result in a less than specific group of people attending for the interview, and some of these people may be candidates that good filtering would have weeded out of your interview process.
Putting it simply:
If we don’t ask specifically for what we want we end up getting a broader selection of less than adequate applicants.
Specificity is the key.
Now here’s an unknown fact:
Research has shown that job performance is not linked to interview performance.
Interviews really are not good predicting devices.
Some dentists are moving towards giving applicants actual work to perform, as well as interviewing them. In a similar way that restaurant owners hire chefs by having the chef cook for them.
Sadly, in dentistry, this can be fraught with danger.
Why on earth would you allow job applicants to play “with live bullets” and start interacting with your valued existing and new patients?
Best practice techniques.
Adopting a set of best practice techniques can make a significant difference towards the outcome of your interview.
Prepare for the interview:
Those interviewing should be just as prepared for the interview as those being interviewed.
Having a good selection of interview questions is very important to help draw out details about each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and their personality.
Have a checklist
To ensure a consistency of process, assess each applicant based on the same set of criteria.
The best characteristics are often those of your current good employees .
It’s always wise to review the resumes of each applicant that you will be interviewing before they attend
This helps in reducing some of the nervous tension in the applicant because they feel you have taken the time to research the material they have sent to you.
This helps avoid asking questions that may already be answered in the resume, and ensures any uncertainties about the candidate are addressed.
Prepare your questions.
Before you meet candidates face-to-face, you need to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a new employee so that you’re asking the right questions during the interview.
Begin this process by “compiling a list of required attributes” for the position.
Have structure to your interview process.
Having a specific, repeatable structure for your interview ensures you cover everything you need to during the time set aside for the interview.
It prevents you from being side-tracked by your applicant.
I’d start with questions directed at the candidate.
Then I’d follow with the role.
Finally I’d try to see if there’s an enthusiasm from the applicant for the role you are offering.
Interview questions to get the ball rolling:
“Why are you interested in working for with us?”
This question will identify those candidates who have done some background homework on your practice.
The better-prepared candidates will be able to offer why they find the job, and your dental practice, attractive.
“What strengths do you bring to this job?”
Well prepared candidates will anticipate this question and list off their talents, attributes, and skills. Ideally, look for the candidates who can relate their strengths directly to the role at hand.
Ask how their personal strengths have benefitted them in previous jobs.
“What are you looking for in working here?”
Candidates will tell you about how long they want to stay, and what sort of emotional return they are looking for from this job.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Asking this question can sometimes be a “surprise” for the candidate, but it does tend to allow you to see whether they have done any research into your position vacant and into your practice.
A good candidate will use this question to clarify any questions they may have, and ask about next steps.
Look for signs of the applicant’s curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination.
Ask yourself both whether this person can do the job today, as well as whether they could also be doing this job, or another job in your practice, one year, two years, or five years from now?
Two Ears and One Mouth
Always listen more than you speak when conducting interviews.
Consider how the applicant is speaking as well as what they are saying.
Are they a good communicator?
Do they display a “need to please” personality?
Will they fit in?
Look for signs that the candidate will be comfortable working at your dental practice.
Are they a long-term planner or a short-term thinker?
Do they appear to be one to collaborate or do they prefer working independently?
Will they be able to adjust to your office environment and culture?
Be Clear About All of Their Duties.
Ask them about their competence about performing ALL OF the key tasks of the role you are hiring for.
Explain your practice’s dress code and any other non-negotiable codes.
Enough said. Be very clear.
After the Interview Apply Objective Hiring Criteria
After each interview, make good accurate notes about the applicant.
To ensure your final decision is as objective as possible, check your hiring criteria again to make sure your top choice closely matches the job requirements you originally identified for the role. In particular:
- How much experience do they have doing the work required for the job?
- What relevant advanced skills can the applicant bring?
- How much training will they need?
- How quickly will they be able to work without supervision?
- How fast did they progress through previous roles and responsibilities?
You will also want to rank all your applicants based on how well they fit with your team culture and your business culture.
Having just one employee who doesn’t embody the right attitude that you desire can be detrimental not just to the morale of your team, but to your whole business.
Have a dedicated interviewing system that creates a consistency of process.
The better your system is, the better your successful applicant will be.
And ultimately, you will create a more stable team of employees.
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