This week I’ve been helping a client find a new associate.
There are lots of dentists looking for associate jobs and lots of practices desperate for the “right associate”.
So, this is how to get this important selection absolutely right:
Finding the right candidate takes a lot more than just putting a 3 line advertisement in the BDJ promising, “a relaxing state of the art environment with a patient list, a car park, a hygienist and an OPG”. If you do, you will be flooded with applications from all over the world and an impossible job to find the proverbial needle in the haystack.
In my experience of helping our clients recruit great associates, the process works a lot better if at first you spend some time deciding what sort of associate you are really looking for.
Here are eight questions to help you PROFILE who you are looking for:
- What skills must they have?
- What additional skills would you like them to have to compliment your existing clinical team?
- What sort of behaviours are you looking for?
- How much must they be able to gross?
- Do they need to be able to build a book?
- How long do you want them to stay and do you want them to become some sort of partner/cost sharer?
- Ideally, what have they been doing before they apply to your practice?
- What sort of person and at what stage of their life would they want to work in your town and in your practice?
Now you have a profile of your perfect candidate, you can build a campaign to narrow your search for this person. The key steps in building the campaign are typically:
- Add a page to your web site with a full description of your practice and the candidate you are looking for, you can add lots of important detail. You can password protect it if you like.
- Put a short concise ad in the BDJ with a link to your website page (which reflects your answers to the 8 questions above)
- Network: Send the profile to your network. Everybody knows around 200 people and the person you are looking for might be a few steps beyond your network so ask your network to send the profile to their network! – ask your lab, contact your Linked-In contacts, talk to people at industry events & handout the profile.
- Head hunt: task a professional recruiter to find your perfect candidate (this is different from asking a recruitment agency to send you CVs)
You’ve got some good quality applications now, so how will you choose a long list and then candidates for a short list?
- Telephone “sift” all these applicants. Ask them to leave a voice mail on a mobile you use just for recruitment. Listen to the messages and intuitively judge their communication skills. (Anyone want an Associate with poor communication skills? No, I thought not!)
- Longlist candidates to interview by Skype from your voicemail sifting. During the 15 minute interviews, focus on them (not on your practice!!) and ask questions that find out what they actually do (and not what they think you want to hear!).
- Interview face to face your short list. Ask them to bring examples of their work and their treatment planning skills.
- Use a Psychometric Profiling Tool such as Kolbe for your final 1,2 or 3 candidates from your shortlist interviews.
- Get your final 1 or 2 candidates to spend time in your practice, so you can assess their clinical and interpersonal skills, for real.
- Make your decision! (and always thank and give feedback to all the candidates)
It doesn’t stop there! Now the hard work really starts with a proper induction process. You need to give them your time and feedback (positive and negative) regularly to make it work.
Even if you have had an associate for a while, when was the last time you reviewed their progress, gave them feedback or had a clinical review session? Have these regularly and you’ll be surprised on the positive effect on you, your associate and the practice. Why not book a clinical review session next week where all your clinicians (including you) sit down and share some cases?
Let me know how it goes.
If you would like some help in recruiting the right team, then please give me a call or drop me a line.