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  • Chris Ciardello

Follow the Process


Hands down this has been the most turbulent year any of us has seen. Between all the new closures, mandates, and guidelines it has been a whirlwind leaving all of us dazed and confused. The hardest part of this whole year is the toll it has taken on our teams. Most of the offices that I talked with have had significant changes in their team. Many because home schooling forced many team members to be home with their children for virtual learning, others lost team members because of the fear of COVID-19 and pulled themselves from the work force.


This turned into a double whammy because they were short staffed by about 10-25% and were having high demands from patients to be seen. The schedule would be full but then fall apart from short cancellations that when fully staffed could have been filled back up but there weren’t enough people to work the lists and handle the patient flow with the new protocols. Finding people to fill these holes in the team has been the number one priority for our clients and I wanted to share my process with you so you can find the right candidates for your team.


First, you need find a way to collect resumes: such as Indeed, Dental Post, Facebook, etc. This is the hardest step because it will vary depending on where you are located and how the people in your area want to put their resume out. The best way to determine what will work for you is to try each of them, not necessarily at the same time but give each a designated amount of time to impress you. Being impressed doesn’t mean that you find the right fit immediately. What impresses me with sites designed to locate employees is the engagement I receive from potential employees. In some areas candidates will send a message, schedule an interview but then not show up and you never hear from them again. However, in another parts of the state or country candidates on the same site are very responsive and show up to the interview. If I am using a site, and the candidates are hard to communicate with (whether it’s the site or the candidates’ fault) I will go and use another site or try somewhere else.


Once you find the site that is giving you candidates that will engage with you, the second step to the process is scheduling an over the phone interview. This allows you to see how they sound on the phone because at some point everyone in the practice will be answering the phone at one point or another. You want to make sure they have the ability to sound professional and comfortable. While on the phone I will ask them about their work history (to confirm it matches what it says on their resume), if there is anything in their schedule in the next year that would cause them to be out of the office (giving them the chance to tell you about any upcoming vacations), and ask them what they think their greatest strengths and weaknesses would be (this will give you some insight on how self aware the candidate is about themselves). Take lots of notes so you can remember your different candidates and compare them later on in the process. At the end ask them if they have some references you can call (and make sure the majority are previous mangers/doctors).


The third (and most important) step is calling these references. People always put their best foot forward when you first meet them, but if they are not a good candidate then they will often stumble in this process. I have called people’s reference’s that didn’t even know they were a reference for this person, didn’t really like working with the person or never even worked with them. A candidate that is going to be a good strong employee for your team is going to be able to provide you with multiple references that have a lot of positive things to say about them. The key is A LOT of positive things to say. If the references were lukewarm about the candidate I wouldn’t bring them in for a face-to-face interview. References are very honest with you because the candidate is not standing in front of them and they know that employers don’t go back to candidates and give details of the good or bad things that were said about them.


After the phone interview and references have been checked, the forth step is to schedule a face-to-face interview. Once you and the candidate decide on a date and time, I like to ask them to bring a copy of their resume. By this time you have already seen it, but this is a task you are giving them and it will show you how detailed and timely they are. If this person is applying for a clinical position I ask them to bring a copy of their license and to show up in scrubs. During the face-to-face interview I will often ask the same questions I did over the phone and compare them to my notes. It may seem repetitive but it will weed out the bad candidates. Then I will move to more detailed questions about the in’s and out’s of the position they are applying for.


The fifth step in the process is you schedule a skills assessment. I don’t like to use the phrase, “working interview” because that can be implied that you have hired this person. A skills assessment is just that, you are assessing their skills that the position in your office requires. During the phone interview when scheduling the face-to-face interview I will ask them if they would have enough time that day to do a skills assessment. If they don’t then I will have the interview and skills assessment on different days, but I don’t look to hire them on until having done a skills assessment. This is how you see them work with your team and it gives your team the ability to see if this person is the right fit. Keep in mind that depending on the rules of your state, a non-paid skills assessment can only be a couple hours. Check with the employment laws in your state.


Once you find that right person, draft an offer letter detailing how much you will pay them and when you want them to start. Ideally you would have already spoken with them and know if they can start right away or need to put in notice to their current employment. Always allow a good candidate to finish out their employment fully and do not encourage them to abandon their current job because you need them right away. If they are willing to abandon their job to start for you, then they will abandon you the next time they find something better.


There have been times that I will message and interview with many candidates before finding that right person. I have also thrown the net out and caught the right person on the first try. I can’t explain why that happens other than fate and timing. We all want to have the perfect and complete team right now, the best thing you can do is be patient and take your time looking for that right fit. The motto we live by is hire based on personality, dental terminology and skills and always be taught.



Chris Ciardello, Consultant


Chris Ciardello joined Global Team Solutions as a consultant in 2013. As a practice management consultant, Chris is passionate about sharing his expertise in the areas of technology and marketing as it pertains to the dental office.  Chris has a distinctive knack for understanding the needs of an office and he communicates those needs to the team, which creates a cohesive, productive atmosphere. He is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants and Toastmasters International.

He can be reached at: Chris@GTSgurus.com.

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