For an Effective Hiring Process, Don't Rush

April 11, 2016
Ed Rabinowitz

In Part 2 of our series on hiring, we discuss why it's important to take your time and get staff input before making a hire.

Second in a two-part series. Click here to read Part 1.

There’s no question that the hiring process is one of the most important procedures that can be put in place in a dental practice. The quote, “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link” certainly applies here. For that reason, if no other, it’s critical to take your time and not rush through the hiring process.

“[Hiring] is a big decision,” says Ann Marie Gorczyca, DMD, MPH, MS, owner of Gorczyca Orthodontics, and author of “Beyond the Morning Huddle.” “A lot of dentists lost a vital person and they think, I have to hire someone immediately because I don’t have someone to answer the phone. Well, you’re better off hiring a temp until you find the person who will do the job the way you want it done.”

In Part 1 of this series last week the first several steps in the process were covered, including: collecting resumes; contacting candidates; and checking references. The value of a Skills Assessment was also discussed. Now you’re ready to bring the candidates in for an office meet and greet.

Face to Face

Candidates should receive an office tour, during which Gorczyca recommends that every member of your practice team meet each candidate. The dentist, either with or without the office manager, should then interview each candidate.

During the time spent with each candidate, ask yourself several questions: Is this person pleasant? Do they have a positive attitude? Are they enthusiastic? Do you like this person? And perhaps the most important question, will you be happy spending eight hours a day, five days a week with this person for perhaps the next 20 years?

“Who you hire for your office is an important decision because you may spend more time with them than your own spouse,” Gorczyca points out.

Make certain throughout the interview process to only ask legal questions. For example, in the state of California it’s illegal to ask, “Who will take care of your children while you’re at work?” It’s also illegal to ask a candidate their age.

This is also the point where a Skills Assessment would be conducted.

Time for Lunch

When candidates make it through the interview and Skills Assessment, Gorczyca pays her team members for one hour to take the candidate out to lunch—without her.

“This new candidate has to gel with the rest of the team, and the team has to like the candidate,” Gorczyca explains. “There are going to be many times when the team is working together and the doctor is not part of what’s going on. So it’s important that the team members assess the person without the doctor.”

Once lunch is over, take a team poll. Ask your team, “Should we hire this person?” What you’re looking for is a unanimous decision. If you get that, consider doing a final background check, above and beyond speaking with the candidate’s previous employer. This could include checking criminal records, credit history, education and license verification, and even digital dirt.

“Look at someone’s Facebook,” Gorczyca suggests. “And if one candidate had a very nice Facebook where they showed they are a family person and have been working in dentistry, continuing education, everything is positive, versus a second person where you go to their Facebook and it’s blocked. You would hire the one with the open Facebook because it indicates this person is who they say they are in the office and outside the office. They have nothing to hide.”

Making the Offer

Now it’s time to make the final job offer to the candidate of your choice. Gorczyca recommends that you don’t “sugar coat” the job description or related duties. In other words, don’t make the job sound easier than it is. Rather, make the job sound more challenging than it actually is.

“You give the job offer, you outline the challenges, you ask if they feel this is the position they would like, and can handle, and a good fit for their talents?” she explains.

When making the offer, be careful what you put in writing because you are creating an inadvertent contract. Gorczyca suggests simply including the rate of pay, not the number of hours each week the candidate would work.

“You can discuss them,” she says. “But if you write in 40 hours a week, heaven forbid the person gets 35 hours. So, be careful what you put in writing.”

And remember, Gorczyca adds, there’s no need to set an arbitrary deadline.

“I would say give it a month,” she says. “You don’t want to rush the hiring process.”