10 Steps to Attract the Best Candidates for Your Dental Team
The battle lines are drawn as dental practices position themselves to attract the best crop of professionals. It’s game-on for recruiting A-players.
As an employer, you’re probably painfully aware that the recent shift in the employment market has you scrambling to adjust to an employee-driven climate. Now that candidates have more opportunities than ever, they can afford to be choosy.
To combat this moody market, or frankly any hiring environment, you need to build a solid recruiting strategy. It’s vital to outline not only what you’re looking for in a team member, but what that potential team member can gain from a position in your practice. You’ll net better fish when you make what’s in it for them a key component of your recruiting message.
Finding your next team member doesn’t have to be a chore. We’ve outlined 10 steps to help you reach a hiring utopia…or at least fill a better pool of candidates to swim with.
- Successful recruiting starts with defining your ideal candidate and defining which aspects of the position appeal to them. It’s a two-fold strategy that, if done well, results in quality applicants.
Determining your ideal candidate is made easier by answering the following questions:
- What skills should the candidate possess?
- What tasks will be involved with the job?
- What responsibilities will be involved with the job?
- What qualifications and experience are needed for the position?
- What kind of personality are you looking for?
- How should your ideal candidate embody your core values?
Once you’ve determined the answers, analyze what your business is offering. Is everything aligned and appealing? Keep in mind that candidates these days can afford to be picky. Wow them with your awesomeness.
- Now that your ideal candidate is defined and your position perks aligned, you can move on to evaluating and tidying up your brand. Savvy job seekers search high and low for skeletons in your closet. If you haven’t addressed them (positive or negative), you’ll be quickly judged and crossed off the list. How do you combat this? Let’s find out:
- Analyze employee reviews (think Glassdoor) and respond to them with fair and objective replies.
- Encourage former and current team members to leave positive reviews over time.
- If you can’t offer the best benefits in the market, consider counter-balancing them with more time off or a flexible schedule. (You’ll build a reputation for being fair and “human.”)
- Give some love to your social media sites. Keep them active and engaging, and be sure to include your brand and core values.
- You’ve finished defining your ideal candidate and addressing your brand reputation, so now it’s time to further bolster your strategy by writing a clearly defined job description. Competition is fierce, as we know, so precise language supporting what THEY should bring to the position and what THEY will get in return from your organization is a must.
After you’ve written the description, enlist your current team members for feedback. They can give you valuable insights and fill in any gaps you might have overlooked.
Feedback in hand, you’ll then:
- Determine the most accurate job title
- List duties and responsibilities
- List desired skills and competencies
- Add anything else that stands out about the position
- Review…and review again
- Happy with your job description, it’s time to bring it to life with a recruiting page/dedicated website to attract candidates to your practice. This is where you set yourself apart from the competition. Designed well, the page showcases your practice’s culture, core values, community involvement, and plans for the future. (It also shows stability, which is a bonus considering the tumultuous job market these last two years.)
Candidates should have a good feel for what it would be like to work for you and determine if it’s a good fit for them before submitting a resume. On that note, make it easy for them to apply with click-to-apply opportunities (buttons) in several places on the page.
To give you a head start on building your recruiting page, here’s a handy outline:
- Your core values: Be sure to include your mission statement and outline the values your business adheres to daily.
- Practice culture: Candid photos or videos are a great way to bring personality to your page and show potential employees why you might be a good fit.
- Benefits: Attract the best candidates by listing health, dental, retirement, paid time off, and vacation perks.
- Community: Go ahead and tout your team’s involvement in the local community. It shows you have a giving spirit by building good relationships.
- Team reviews/quotes: Have your team tell candidates why they like working at your practice and what benefits they enjoy.
- Openings: Spread the word and list all opportunities, keeping the list up-to-date.
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- You’re crushing it with this job recruiting process, so let’s take it up a notch and try video. Did you know that web pages with video see up to an 80% increase in conversion? That’s a nice percentage that can mean more applicants to your posting.
Videos can be team testimonials, patient interviews, a tour of your office, or a description of the position you’re trying to fill explained by you. You’ll want to keep videos 2-3 minutes max, with social posts coming in around 30 – 60 seconds.
Professional photoshoots of your office, team or patients (with their permission of course) are another great way to visually tell the story of your office culture. Resist the urge to take your photos and videos. It’s worth spending a little extra to hire a professional photographer/videographer who understands lighting, positioning, interviewing techniques, and so on. The extra effort and stellar work show candidates you value the recruiting process and want to get it right.
- You’ve created the perfect job description, you have a dedicated web page, and your team is putting their best feet forward in video testimonials. The next step is determining where you should advertise. The days of posting positions in the local newspaper are long gone, but the good news is that you can advertise across the country to attract the very best candidates.
Recruiting options for employers are quite impressive and prevalent, so you’ll want to do some research to make sure you’re using the best channels for your unique practice. Here’s a headstart with a list of some of the more popular avenues:
- Employee referral programs allow you to work that word-of-mouth magic.
- Industry-specific job boards, like DentalNachos.com or GroupDentistryNow.com, are great places to spread the word and make your practice shine.
- Local medical networking groups or dental schools can also support you in your recruiting efforts. You can offer a mentorship program to help further introduce the practice to a pool of potential candidates.
- Recruiting agencies are in the business of tracking down and presenting good candidates to employers. Go ahead and give them a try.
- Job posting boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, Google Jobs, et al. are also great resources for finding the perfect fit.
- Social media is another effective avenue to help spread the word. Use your accounts and encourage your staff to post open positions on theirs, too.
- You’ve determined where to direct your recruiting efforts, so now it’s time to figure out how you should advertise. Recruiting is a calculated process. It’s important to pace yourself and collect data on the channels that are presenting the best candidates. Don’t expect to post one week and hire the next. Your ads will run for weeks, and this is the time to record performance and the quality of applications you’re getting. Adjust the description as needed if you’re not quite hitting the mark. You can always try A/B testing on different channels and compare the results.
Your competition is also playing the game. Monitor their ads, the frequency of those ads, and the content to help you better tweak yours as you move forward. Is there anything you can adjust in the description that makes your practice more appealing? Switch things up if need be.
- Things seem to be going well with your ads, and you’ve received some promising resumes. Feeling confident in the pool of candidates, it’s time to contact, interview, and manage those applicants. This is where your HR team needs to establish a clear path for potential new hires. HR software programs are handy for keeping track of resumes, interviews, team feedback, and so on.
Maintaining a clearly-defined interviewing process with time for your team to provide feedback will help make the hiring process run smoothly. It’s ok to take it slow and call candidates back for second interviews. Between those meetings, you can continue to engage applicants through LinkedIn, your practice newsletter, and other networking opportunities.
Create a database or file for applicants who aren’t immediately hired but still show potential. This will give you a solid foundation to start with once you determine you need to grow your team in the future.
- You’ve reached a decision and have the best candidate in mind. Now it’s time to make them an offer they can’t refuse…but let’s pump the breaks for a moment. If this ideal candidate knocked your socks off, chances are they knocked somebody else’s socks off, too. This means you’ll need to create an offer that is customized to their personal preferences so you can edge out the competition.
Review your interviews, your thoughts, your team’s thoughts, and consider the following questions before crafting that offer:
- What is this individual looking for in a career?
- What are their goals for the next few years?
- What drives them outside of work? (think priorities/obligations)
- What are they motivated by—money or more time with their family?
There will be some give-and-take, so be prepared to be flexible. Establishing some basics in the offer will help get you both on the same page, with room for negotiating. Including these elements in the offer will help things move along:
- Official job title
- Start date and work hours
- Salary (make it competitive from the get-go)
- Bonus path
- Growth path
- Non-compete clause
- Sign-on bonus if applicable
- The expiration date of the offer
Review the offer with your other stakeholders to be sure you haven’t missed anything or if there are other ways of making it a more solid presentation. Stay in communication with the candidate to show them you’re serious and willing to meet in the middle or negotiate to create that perfect fit.
Phew! There are a lot of steps involved when looking to build your team, but it’s important to do it the right way to retain great talent. Your efforts should pay off when you land your ideal candidate, but let’s not stop there. Your last step is number 10. Keep up the momentum with thoughtful onboarding.
An established new-hire plan will help new team members hit the ground with a comfortable run and benefit the entire practice—including your bottom line. Here are some things you can do to help make the transition delightful:
- Work with your existing team to create a training schedule and training buddies, and pull together any training materials.
- Set up a company email account before their arrival. (It’s beneficial to send it to the new team member before they start.)
- Set up an account for any software you use (charting, scheduling, so on).
- If you use business cards, have cards ready for new team members on day one.
- A “welcome” box full of goodies is always a great way to make your new team member feel welcome.
Hiring is a process, a marathon of sorts. But once you have a clearly defined position rolled out, you can attract, and keep, the right candidates who might bring some unexpected talents to your team. Go forth and hire!