Hire the Right Person

Sally Marks and Bob Stackhouse
July 15, 2009 — 2,526 views  
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The million dollar question these past few months has been, "How do I attract and hire the right people in my practice?" The real kicker is that it has to be done now because a team member has left. Does this sound familiar? If you have ever been in this position, it feels very uncomfortable. Your thoughts begin to fill with fear and you wonder if you will ever find someone who will fit well into the position available. Rest assured these are normal feelings and you are not alone.

Somewhere out there is a prospective team member who is wondering if they will ever find the right 'home' where they will enjoy being a productive part of a special office. The problem is you haven't found each other yet. One of the concepts about leadership that I teach in Retreat 2 is the leader must be the head follower. The question then becomes, "What are you following?" The leader must be clear about the vision and the philosophy they want everyone to become a part of. If the leader/ doctor is not following it, how can the team follow it, and how can you hire someone new to follow it?

So, the first step is to clearly define what you are following and what is important to you. This will define the characteristics you are looking for in the person you wish to bring on board. Set about making a list of the skill set and characteristics you are requiring for this position. You might make three columns on a piece of paper with the headings: Must Have, Would Like to Have, and Offering. In the first column under "Must Have," you list the skills and characteristics that are the most important to you and that you feel are essential for the job. The second column under "Would like to Have," you list all the skills and characteristics that would be an added bonus for this person. They are not essential skills but it sure would be nice if they had them. The third column under "Offering," you list what you are offering the person who will eventually accept this position. Sometimes I think we forget all of the things we have to offer someone. It helps to list them and helps to ensure that our conversations with the new prospect will include our unique offerings. This is also a great way to create an ad for the position. Once you have all of this in writing, it should be fairly simple to create a unique ad for the offer you are making. For example, if you want someone to be a long-term committed employee, you are offering job stability/security. If you want someone who values professional growth, you are offering continuing education opportunities. Your list will also help you to create questions for the interview process. Once you decide what skills and characteristics you are looking for and how this new person will fit into the "vision" you have for your practice, it will be much easier for you to discern whether or not this person is the "right one."

There are also tests available that the prospective employee can take to help you know for sure what you are getting. There are three areas of the mind that can be tested. These are cognitive, affective, and cognative. The cognitive area measures IQ or a skill set. For example, a dental assistant may have the CDA certification which proves they passed a cognitive test measuring dental assisting skills. The affective area measures emotion or personality as we sometimes call it. The DISCTM profile is a good example of this type of test and we have used it here at The Schuster Center for years. Finally, the cognative area measures an individual's modus operandi, or their way of "doing" things. It is the instinctive way one takes action to get things done. The KolbeTM test can be used to measure this area of the mind. Recently, the coaches here at The Schuster Center became certified KolbeTM consultants which means we are able to administer and give feedback to someone who wishes to take the KolbeTM index. Within this we are then able to make comparisons based upon the requirements for the position to see if there is a fit. It is a great tool and we are excited to begin offering it. The best advice I can give you in the hiring process is to be patient. Easy for me to say when you are in a crunch for time. Adding a new team member changes all the dynamics in the office so finding the "right one" is crucial to your success. If at all possible, wait, and keep searching for the best fit. You'll be glad you did.

About the Author

Sally Marks is a public relations professional and freelance writer. Barb Stackhouse, RDH, M.Ed., is a Practice Development Coach and a member of the faculty at The Schuster Center for Professional Development as well as a Dental Hygienist.

Sally Marks and Bob Stackhouse