As I wrote in last week's post, in the coming weeks I will be focusing on recruiting dentists and dental hygienists. However, the methods and guides described here could also be used to attract the right receptionists, clinical assistants, dental technicians, etc.
Whether the dental clinic is located in a rural area or in a major city, this week's blog post contains a number of specific recommendations that will increase the attractiveness of any clinic to potential candidates for a vacancy.
In this post we look at:
The culture of the practice and why it is extremely important when writing an attractive job advert.
The importance of your vision in helping you and the applicant quickly find out if you are a good fit.
What the team's goals signal about the clinic and how they can be backed up fabulously well by 3 specific action plans.
When we are about to recruit a new member to the team, we are under pressure. Either the workload has grown to a level where it is extremely difficult to keep up. Or we are faced with a termination, with far too little notice. Typically, we have a window of 1 to 2 months to find a new employee. That's not very long if you need to start from scratch and to find a perfect match for the clinic.
It's a huge help to have a clear understanding of the culture of the clinic, the vision of the clinic owner and the goals the clinic is striving to achieve. It is not enough to have one of these three elements in place. We need to have all 3 in order to be most effective.
Why? Because we need to avoid creating a (from the applicant's point of view) completely indifferent job advertisement.
Recruitment is about marketing. As with all marketing, it's no good promising everything and delivering 50%. When we look for an employee (or new patients), it is with a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship in mind. This is where you shoot yourself in the foot by promising more than you can deliver. Desperate actions like these almost always lead to miserable results.
If we are to attract the perfect candidate for our position, we need to be super transparent about the position. If our equipment is not state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line, it is a bad idea to make it appear as such. The applicant will probably come for an interview at some point. Here it quickly becomes very visible if the reality does not live up to the golden promises of the job advertisement.
4 specific prerequisites
There are a few concrete things you can do to significantly improve your chances of attracting an applicant who is a perfect fit for your practice. This is something that all clinics, whether they are short of staff or not, will benefit from doing.
Points 1 and 2 are the most important. The last 2 are possible add-ons that are just super easy to work with once points 1 and 2 are worked out.
Become 100% aware of and define the culture of the clinic.
The clinic owner should have developed a written, easily understood vision that the clinic works towards in its daily operations.
The clinic should have 3 very clearly defined and written goals that are being worked on purposefully to achieve.
The goals are broken down into action plans that have defined: concrete sub-goals, clear deadlines, division of responsibilities and allocated resources.
Culture of the clinic
"Culture eats strategy for breakfast" is a frequently quoted statement. It covers the fact that we can have the fanciest gold-plated action plans and strategies for how we want the clinic to achieve the goals we have set. But if management's action plans are not aligned with the clinic's internal culture, the strategies will never be translated into reality.
If we are hoping to attract the right candidate, we need to know ourselves first. We need to have an honest insight into what the culture of the clinic is. Once we have this insight, we can work to translate the clinic's goals into action plans that are in line with management's vision.
It is important to remember that culture has nothing to do with how we want it to be, but how it is (TEAM, patients, partners, management, etc.). So we may want to change the culture going forward, it just requires a lot of management effort and takes time. These are hardly resources the clinic has available at the moment it needs to attract an employee. That's why it's a good idea to continuously work on the culture of the clinic and create a conscious understanding of it.
The practice owner's vision
If no one knows where the clinic is going or how, it quickly becomes a matter of chance which direction the clinic takes.
Again and again you will see how I, here on the blog, refer to the clinic's vision. That's because everything becomes much easier when the clinic has a clear vision that is worked with on a daily basis.
When a patient complains, a clinical assistant can independently address the challenge by thinking about how to solve the problem so that it is in line with the clinic's vision.
Solutions to problems are much more easily selected when they are aligned with the clinic's vision.
Defining the optimal employee becomes much easier when you know what the clinic wants to achieve and how.
The selection of employees for interviews becomes much easier. If the candidate cannot commit wholeheartedly to the vision, they are not the right candidate.
If you haven't read my blog posts on how to get started writing your own visio, you'll find links to 2 concrete guides here:
3 written goals
If the clinic has 3 very clearly defined goals, it is much easier to inform an applicant about what the clinic is working on. This gives a very professional impression and increases the likelihood of generating interest.
It can be anything from 1-3 objectives. But should not be more than 3.
Why not more than 3 goals at a time?
If we work with more than 3 goals at a time, we lose focus. When we lose focus, we lose momentum. Everything slows down and often grinds to a halt.
Keeping the number of goals below 3 requires focus and discipline and shows that the clinic is serious about management.
Goals are only goals if they are written down. If goals are not written down, they are dreams and dreams tend to remain dreams!
Goals become superficial and meaningless if they are not backed up by specific action plans
Action plans are concrete steps to be taken within clearly defined timeframes, resources and responsibilities. It is a working tool actively used to ensure progress towards objectives.
The clinic's action plans clearly show what the clinic wants to achieve, how and within what timeframe. As an applicant for a position, action plans reveal for better or worse whether the clinic is a good fit for the applicant or not.
Remember - if we don't dare to show who we are and what we stand for, we risk getting an employee who is a poor fit for the position. These situations rarely end well for either the clinic or the employee.
The importance of making an effort
In the immediate future, the above will give the clinic a huge competitive advantage. As well as making the whole process of writing an interesting job advert that attracts the attention of the right candidates much, much easier.
In the slightly longer term, once a normalisation between supply and demand for labour returns, it is a huge advantage to have become good at attracting interested candidates to an open position. Because the more candidates the clinic has to choose from. The more likely it is to get the right employee for the job.
Examples of how theory can be put into practice
If you want to see a few examples of how the above can be put into practice, please follow the blog. Over the coming weeks, I'll be posting more posts about recruitment. Below are a few examples of how to put what I write about into practice.
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Can't wait until next week to get concrete tips on how to optimize your chances of attracting dream candidates to your dental practice? Then feel free to call or write me directly. Over the past year, I've helped design job postings that have been able to attract just the right candidates in areas of the country that, on paper, have unusual difficulty attracting highly specialized employees.
Jesper Hatt DDS
P: +41 78 268n 00 78