Asking the Right Questions to Find Your Next Employee of the Month
Before we begin, let’s do a recap on the past few posts before we dive deeper into the interview process.
The most important part before embarking on the hunt for your next employee of the month, is to know the direction of where you want to take your office in the next 5 years. Figuring out your roadmap will help you see what type of qualities and skillset you need to look for now to help you get to where you want to be! So now you have your roadmap ready, understand the qualities and skills you are looking for. Let's look at some interview questions to ask potential candidates and find out what to look for in their answers. Learn what TO ask & what NOT to ask when interviewing your next employee! Download your free guide now!
Confessions from a Dental Recruiter
No matter what position I had to fill, my guideline was always to find answers to the following five questions: Is the candidate able to do the job? Is the candidate motivated to do the job? Is the candidate adaptable/malleable? Will this candidate fit the office culture? Will this candidate provide excellent customer service/patient care? For each of these five questions, I ask a series of further probing questions. The questions I ask are crafted so that candidates give real-life examples using SAR statements (S = Situation in which the behavior took place, A = the action the candidate took to address the situation, R = results of the action)
Let’s use the examples we listed in last week’s blog post:
1. Tell me about a time where you went above and beyond for a patient
The answer to this question will give you a glimpse of a time when the candidate took the initiative and went above what the job required to make sure the patient was satisfied and taken care of. It also will show how proactive they are to thinking of solutions to problems. Another thing to think about is seeing how you as the principle dentist or owner, would want your current employees to react or handle a situation to make sure a patient was taken care of.
2. Tell me about the most difficult procedure you have performed? Why did you find this difficult and what did you learn while performing it?
Here you are gaining insight as to how adaptable the candidate is, their motivation AND if they are capable of doing the job. It shows how they were able to overcome a challenging situation, what they learned from it and how they were able to grow from it! This will give you insight into their critical thinking ability, see if they will use this as a learning opportunity and their attitude towards the situation.
3. How would you handle a situation where you were faced with an irate patient who was angry over the length of their wait before they saw the doctor?
Now let’s face it, this situation comes up from time to time in every practice. You want to make sure that your team will handle this stressful situation with poise, empathy and with professionalism. Again, another situational question to see how they have reacted in the past and ensure this line up with your values and high standards of customer service.
For example, if this is a for a dental admin position: If they answer by saying they took the initiative to go into the clinic, ask the Dentist and auxiliary staff as to when they will be able to see the patient, report back to the patient, apologizing for the wait and informing them it shouldn’t be much longer only X minutes, offer them refreshment or opportunity to reschedule if they are pressed for time, then offering Starbucks gift card etc.
This answer shows they value and respects the patients time and concerns. They did not make some excuse or brush the patient off saying it’s a busy day. They were adaptable and figured out a solution and diffused the situation.
Asking questions doesn’t end at the interview stage. The answers you received during your interview is a great starting point but you want to be sure this is the RIGHT person for your office. Next week, we will find out the answer to “How do I REALLY know this is the right person for my practice?” We will look into conducting reference and background checks to make sure they are who they say they are!
5 Tips for Your Phone Interview
You've been sending out resumes and all your hard work has paid off. You have been asked to do a phone interview. Wait... what?! A phone interview?? Employers may use phone interviews to pre-screen candidates to decide whether or not to continue on with the interview process. But just because it's a phone interview, don’t think that phone interviews are any easier then face to face interviews.
Do your homework
Just as you need to prepare for face to face interviews, phone interviews are no different. You still need to do your homework. It is important that you research the company. You should be prepared with the facts and figures so that you are not caught off-guard if certain key facts of the company are mentioned and you are asked to elaborate on it. It also gives you information so you can ask questions about the company.
Create a comfortable area
Even though you may have never had a phone interview before and you are a little unsure of what to expect, it is a good idea is to create a comfortable area where you will take the call. Make sure you still print out your resume to have on hand, maybe keeping a glass of water handy if you tend to get nervous. Always keep a piece of paper and pen handy, so that you can scribble notes or jot down questions for later.
Always remember that the interviewer on the line expects some amount of respect, it's no different than being in front of them during the interview. Make sure you are in a comfortable area where it is quiet. You cannot put the interviewer on hold and instruct your child to do their homework, or tell your dog to stop barking! This doesn't sound or look professional! Also, when you are having a conversation, it is best to take it in a closed room, so that there are no outside noises or distractions.
Make sure you listen
For an interview, this is a golden rule. You need to listen first and then answer the questions. Often, out of sheer nervousness or performance pressure, candidates started babbling things that are not even asked. In any given situation, you cannot let the interviewer know that you are nervous. So, listen patiently to what has been asked, and then stop for few seconds to gather your thought and then give your answers.
Like any other interview, you should try to understand the subtext of the conversation. It is just not a question/ answer session. The interviewer is trying to gauge your attitude, personality and assess your skills. So do not rush your answers, and try to explain everything as thorough and precise as you can. Not only is this about the interviewer asking you all the questions, this is your chance to ask them more about the company. If you have jotted down any questions or notes during the interview, this is a great time to ask any questions you may have.
In an interview, you need to show the interviewer, why you are the best choice for the job; whether it is through the telephone or a face-to-face, you need to put your best foot forward.
Post-Interview Follow up
The job interview is all done! Now comes one of the hardest parts.... the waiting game!
After an interview, candidates often sit back and wait anxiously for the phone to ring. Instead of just stressing about how you thought the interview went and constantly checking your phone for missed calls, let’s be proactive and see what to do in regards to a post-interview follow up.
Before the interview finishes, make sure you ask what the next step is and when they expect to notify candidates of their decisions. That way you will have a time frame of when you should follow up.
Soon after the interview
It may sound old fashioned, but some things have a timeless appeal; a thank-you note is one of them. It could be a note, a letter, a phone call or even an email; the point is to send a follow up a day or two after an interview. Your thank-you note/email should be simple, letting them know you appreciated them meeting with you and you look forward to hearing back on their decision. It also shows you have enthusiasm and you really would like to join their team. Keep it short, simple and professional—remember they are busy running a practice.
Write an email or make a phone call
So, it’s been a few days after they said they would notify candidates, and you still haven't heard a thing. Now what?! It is ok to send them another followup email or call them. You can simply write and ask them about the process and let them know how much you are interested in the job. Do not be overbearing and email them every day. There could be a number of reasons they haven't called — they might not have finalized their decision yet, vacation, illness; but regardless, you do need to be patient and respectful.
Finally! You received an email from their office, but it may be something different from what you expected! It could be an email saying that you have been hired, or it might be an email notifying you that they haven't made a decision yet and to wait a few days, or one might bring some disappointing news. So however it plays out, at least the waiting is over and you know what is happening. Always remember that every impression counts. So, you should always be professional, courteous and always remain enthusiastic. Even if you didn’t get the job, you should not be disappointed. Just keep on going and be proactive!
Having trouble finding your dream job? Contact Stream Dental today! Our mission is to help you find your dream job faster!
How to Screen Potential Candidates Effectively
If you have a thriving practice, hiring someone becomes a tough decision, as you want only the best on your team. During the interview, you may have felt excited about a candidate, only to find out a short time later that he or she has not turned out as per your expectations.
But what happened? Where did it go wrong? Having an effective screening process can you avoid this! Let’s save your precious time and avoid this as MUCH as possible!
Change the focus of the interview
I've made this mistake before... during the phone interview you end up doing all of the talking and not asking the right questions! The natural tendency is to try and "win" them over or try to "oversell" the position. It wasn't until I took a step back and asked more questions that I really noticed the difference! The missing piece was finding out what their career aspirations are, what are their philosophies, goals, and values! To find great employees, one should include both personal, behavioral AND technical questions in the screening process.
Ask such questions as:
- "What does your dream job look like?"
- "What are your deal breakers?"
- "If you had five job offers in front of you right now, what would be your main deciding factor in selecting which job to move forward with?"
- "Why are you looking for a new job?"
Do you see how these questions are centered around their philosophies rather than skills?
The greatest mistake that a Dentist or Dental Office Manager can make is basing your screening process only on technical knowledge and skill set! You need to be focusing on the interpersonal skills, communication and how they will treat your patients. You CANNOT train someone to be charismatic, empathetic and have excellent customer service-- either you have it OR you don't! You CAN train skills! Albeit, it will take more time and resources but it will avoid hiring someone with the skills but a nasty attitude! An attitude that will offer only subpar patient care or will be nasty to the rest of your team.
What should you do?
You need to do some preparation before you are ready to jump into recruitment mode. Understand what your practice needs are now and FIVE years from now! Understanding your growth plans and practice vision will help you also make sure that these candidates will help you along this journey! You will start to notice if this candidate is a good match, if you can support each other, and if this person will grow with you.
Often times, we see too many offices just "settling" for an average employee. But this does not save you any more time or money. Instead, this can have a negative impact in more ways than you may think! Taking the time to do it right-- reverse engineer the position and understand what your practice needs will help you find the right candidates!
Landing Your Dream Job in the Dental Profession
You may have just finished your schooling and you’re full of optimism! The very thought of getting a great job keeps your enthusiasm high. But is that excitement enough? You need to begin preparing your resume and start networking in the field. You need to get yourself prepared for landing your dream job. Let’s find out how you can do that.
Prepare your resume
Resumes are like snapshots of your experience and educational background. So you really need to put in a lot of effort when you are preparing your resume. Not to stress you out, but you need to remember that many others will be applying for the same job. You need to make your resume stand out and reflect your uniqueness. Do not just copy any generic statement from your friend’s resume and expect it to be fine! Don’t forget about the cover letter. It should go hand in hand with your resume.
Do your research
When you have interviews lined up, make sure you do your research. You want to be prepared for when you go for your interview. Think of examples of past experiences you can talk about. Also, remember to gather all the information you need to about the dental practice. Come ready with questions to ask during your interview. It is all about creating an impression. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can be good places to do your research.
Attitude is everything
You have your credentials from the dental school to back you up in the interview. But what gives you an edge over others is attitude. Everyone likes a person with a positive attitude. Your smile, your gesture and your way of talking matter a lot. Don’t forget the importance of a handshake, it should be firm and exude confidence. Often during the interview, you may be asked why you have left your last job (or why you are looking for a new job). Do NOT badmouth your previous employer! It creates a bad impression. But what you can do is tell them about what you are looking to gain if you work for this dental practice. This is something every interviewer appreciates. (For example, I am looking to gain new skills/ experience in...)
Professionalism is the key
When you go for an interview, you need to put your best foot forward. It will help you create a great impression. Little things like organizing your certificates and credentials in a proper folder or handing print-outs for your professional summary will be useful. Think from the perspective of the interviewer and come prepared. When you are looking to work in a professional environment, you need to look and act like a professional. Dress for success! Take some time to prepare for your interview; because preparation is the key to good interviews. This is your chance to create an impression and to show them why they should hire you. You can do this. Good luck!
5 Ways to Stand Out in an Interview
So you landed a job interview to a great dental clinic (Way to go!). But... now what?? Sometimes the real battle starts after you have landed the job interview. As you prepare for the interview, you must keep in mind that there are a number of others candidates being considered for this position. How do you manage to stand out from the crowd? Here are 5 ways to create a great impression without being overbearing.
Honesty is the best policy
You must remember that you need to create an impression, but that does not mean you have to hide all your shortcomings. Employers actually prefer people who are honest about their weaknesses and show a positive trait about trying to improve in that area. Talk about something you had an issue with or made a mistake on, talk about how you managed/dealt with the situation and what you learned from it. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes, but we need to own up to it and show how we can make changes and improve.
The first impression always counts
There is a popular saying that the first impression is the last impression. Often in an interview, it is very true. Most employers actually make up their minds about a candidate in the first 30 seconds of the interview. Dress to impress. Be positive and friendly. Also, make sure to start off with a firm handshake and you may have created the right vibe.
Think from the viewpoint of a potential employee
Imagine you already have the job! I know that might sound strange, but most other interviewees will be thinking what they can do or say to impress the interviewer, you might think from the perspective of someone who has already got the job. With that confidence, if you appear before the interviewers, the nervous attitude will be gone. And you can answer the questions more comfortably.
Listen to what the employer says
It is important to really listen to an interview. They may tell you some information about the dental practice or the clinic. They may also give you some valuable information about the team, the dynamics of the office or even about the Dentist. Listen to everything carefully. Come prepared with questions ahead of time, but also ask questions if there is lack of clarity. If you ask questions, it shows that you are interested, which in turn might enhance your chances of getting the job.
Learn to show appreciation
A quick email stating that you really appreciate the time taken to meet with you or a thank you note can be really helpful. Often it is seen that after the interview is over, candidates seem to lose touch with the dentist’s office. But this small gesture can create a good impression, and they might remember it.
Take your time to mentally prepare for the interview and think about ways in which you can create a good impression. Always remember that this is not the last interview in the world, but you should give your best effort and treat it like the final interview you will be going for! You've got this. Good luck!