Avoiding Hiring Pitfalls – Part 2: Save yourself headaches and thousands of dollars

In the last article we looked at that new hire, Susan, who’s going to be one of your chairside assistants. To read about how Susan came to be in your office see my previous article.

Mistakes in hiring costs doctors thousands of dollars, and most all can be avoided – without having to learn by the trial-and-error method that many doctors put themselves through.

Mistake #4: Having some experience in retail can be a plus or a minus. Don’t assume it will help you “sell” dentistry.

You know by now that you are selling and that selling isn’t a dirty word anymore. But there ARE differences in health care and retail. If the person has exceptional communication and relationship skills, they could be a real plus for your office. If their experience in retail involved tending a cash register, forget it. One of my favorite selling models is based on Neil Rackham’s book, SPIN Selling (SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need). Even if the person has never heard of such a model or if they have never heard of any models of selling, perhaps they are excellent about asking questions, understanding people’s behaviors and emotions, have a pleasing attitude, and aren’t pushy; they likely possess the raw talents and understanding to apply it to dentistry and how we help people get the care they want and need.

Mistake #5: The staff only met her briefly.

Oops. You just missed out of one of your most valuable sources of information! Your staff members are tough critics. They will tell you things about that potential employee you never saw. Use their input; follow up on their hunches. They will likely know things about that potential employee through personal or professional connections – information that might not be available any other way.

Schedule a lunch with your staff and the potential employee. Bring lunch in, and then either sit quietly and listen, or stay away. The next day or so, meet with your team to listen to their observations, feelings, and hunches. Also notice your current staff’s behaviors. Do any of them act threatened by the idea of a new employee coming in to the practice? Do you detect general uneasiness that no one is able to articulate? Is everyone being “mum”? Or, is there smiles and enthusiasm galore? Ask open-ended questions to your team, and thank them for their participation. Use that information you just gained very carefully!

Mistake #6: She’s available now.

You’re SO relieved she can start tomorrow! Wow! That’s one thing off your mind! WOAH – SLOW DOWN. Why is she available tomorrow? Maybe there’s good reason – truly. Or not. Why IS she available tomorrow?

More importantly, why are YOU in a hurry? I know it’s not fun working “short-handed”, but don’t satisfy one urgent need for a long-term headache. I’ve certainly experienced being enamored with an applicant I’ve hired them on the spot, only to realize later they were psycho! Go slowly, deliberately. Sleep on your thoughts. Avoid the temptation to fill the available space so quickly.

Mistake #7: She was quiet during her interview.

OK, maybe you did all the talking and didn’t give her room to talk. Shame on you! Ask a good question, and listen, listen, listen. (For a list of potential interviewing questions, email me through my web site.)

On the other hand, maybe she was very quiet. Is that her natural style? Are you OK with that? Will your staff be OK with that? Will her quiet nature enable her to be a leader in her area? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Quietness may be politeness; it may be insecurity; it may be a lack of confidence in talking to others; it may be shyness. Whatever it is, will it work in your office? Go into this employee relationship with both eyes open!

Mistake #8: You took the excuse for her dress and appearance at the interview.

She answered your ad, you were available to talk to her, so she came to your office at the end of your day. You were a little surprised that she was in jeans, but you dismissed it as the hurried planning.

So let me ask you this: Would YOU go to an interview NOT looking your best? Would you NOT take the extra 10 or 20 minutes to look sharp? I doubt it, unless you really didn’t care or want the job … OR you didn’t understand the effect that having a professional, pleasing appearance would have not only on the interviewing process but on your interviewer’s perceived outlook of your attention to detail. Who’s to say that a too-casual appearance at the interview would be a sign of things to come?


Hiring pitfalls can cost you lots, not only in terms of dollars, but in terms of lost time and aggravation. Take your time, pay attention to the details, and plan your approach to finding the best employee possible. Your careful approach to this important aspect of running your practice will reward you many times over. Be careless, and you’ll kick yourself many times over!

By | 2018-12-05T11:33:52+00:00 December 3rd, 2018|business coaching, coaching, coaching for dentists, dental practice management, dentist mentor, hiring|Comments Off on Avoiding Hiring Pitfalls – Part 2: Save yourself headaches and thousands of dollars

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