Hiring the right person to join your team is not an easy task. In 25 years of interviewing and hiring, I have developed and honed a structured process for finding the best candidate for the job. This process takes time and dedication, but produces results. I don’t guarantee that it will find you the right person every time, but it gives you the structure to make a sound and well-informed decision.
Step 1: Do you have a job description for the position you want to fill? A good job description will have three to four main parts:
• Description of the practice including the practice name, location, a brief description of the practice philosophy and a sentence about the type of person you’re looking for.
• Listing of essential functions required to perform the job.
• Required skills including number of years of experience, any educational requirements, certifications and/or specific job responsibilities.
• The application process (this isn’t always necessary as sites like Indeed.com provide the application process for you).
Step 2: Determine where you will advertise the position. My favorite site for advertising right now is Indeed.com. With Indeed you can post the position description, set specific criteria for your candidates, establish a budget for your ad and determine how much of the budget to dedicate to increasing the views of your ad (called cost per click).
Through Indeed, you can manage all of your communication directly on the website, or have emails forwarded to a specific email address for processing.
Another popular site for advertising is Craigslist. However, over the last couple of years, I have noticed that the response rate from Craigslist ads has significantly decreased.
Step 3: For each resume, you want to critically review the following:
• Does the candidate have the skills and qualifications identified in your Required Skills listing?
• What experiences has the candidate had that are directly applicable to the position you are trying to fill?
• What experiences are indirectly applicable?
• What is the candidate’s education?
• Are there any extra-curricular or volunteer activities listed that would be helpful in performing the job or fitting in with the team?
Step 4: Contact candidates for an interview. In this step, I actually add another layer of evaluation by requesting that candidates answer three to four specific questions. The strategy is to find out 1) how much time and attention are they giving to the job hunting process, 2) what are their writing/communication skills and 3) do they demonstrate passion for the posted position?
This step is one of the hardest parts for me. Someone may look really interesting on paper, but not respond to my attempts to contact him/her. I give candidates a couple of days to respond to my email then call if I haven’t heard from them. I’m also often disappointed in the written response I receive. Many in the millennial generation are used to responding directly from their phones using incomplete sentences, no punctuation and/or abbreviations. I’m less able to give weight to this part of the process than I have in the past.
Step 5: Conduct the initial interview. I currently interview all candidates by phone before meeting them in person. I try to keep phone interviews to 15 to 20 minutes so I can get a sense of the person, hear their communication style, explore their resume and find out what kind of interest they have in the position I’m trying to fill. I do a lot of fact checking and probing for reasons for making dentistry their career during this conversation.
Out of my initial interview stage, I’m looking for at least two good candidates to move to an in-person interview. Two candidates gives you options.
Step 6: For the health of the practice, the in-person interview must be done by the doctor. If you want to include others on your team, that’s up to you. However, this isn’t the part of the process that should be delegated to someone else in your practice. For this interview:
• You need a specific set of questions that you ask every candidate.
• Review the expectations of the job.
• Provide a tour of your practice.
• Show your passion for your patients.
• You may even invite the candidate back to do a working interview so you both can evaluate the fit.
Step 7: Check references before completing any hiring decision. I always ask candidates for three reference: 1) a prior supervisor or manager 2) a prior co-worker and 3) an acquaintance – a friend, someone from church or a co-worker in a volunteer job are all acceptable.
Have a set of questions that you ask every reference. Keep these short. Four or five questions produces approximately 10 minutes of conversation and can reveal interesting things about your candidates.
Step 8: Final negotiations and actual hiring
• Make the offer to the candidate including initial pay, start date and any benefits you offer.
• Be prepared to negotiate, especially if this is the perfect person for your team.
This is a long and involved process. You may look at it these seven steps and say you just don’t have the time to devote to a selection process with this much detail. But then I have to ask you, how much time do you waste hiring and training the wrong person for the job? I submit that it’s far better to be sure you and your new team member are both happy with your new partnership than rushing through hiring someone who doesn’t work out for the long-term.
Lynne Leslie is a Virtual Assistant specializing in recruiting and hiring, Internet marketing and project/program management. Lynne helps her clients with establishing strategic initiatives to grow their businesses and solve problems. As Bryant Truitt’s Virtual Assistant, Lynne has helped Brytan & Associates with their blogging strategy and website redesign. For more information, you can reach Lynne at firstname.lastname@example.org.