Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interviewing Methods in Your Dental Practice: Traditional versus Behavioral Interviewing

How do you interview? Do you just let a conversation happen, or do you take the time to dig a little deeper? There are two regularly used interview methods: The Traditional Interview and the Behavioral Interview. I highly recommend incorporating both when you interview candidates for your associate dentist or staff positions, as each method offers valuable insight about a candidate’s professional and personal qualities.

Our friends at CEDR HR Solutions do a great job of defining both of these interview methods:

“In a traditional interview, the interviewer asks prospective hires a series of straightforward, open-ended questions like, 'How would you handle [insert hypothetical situation],' 'What 5 words best describe you,' 'What is your greatest weakness,' or 'Describe what customer service means to you.'

In contrast, for a behavioral interview, the employer identifies a vital skill set that they want the ideal person in that position to have and then develops a series of questions geared toward eliciting answers where the candidate demonstrated those skills in the past.

For example:

  • Tell me about a time where you had to use patience to calm down a patient.

  • Describe a goal you set for yourself and how you met it.

  • What do you consider your greatest work achievement?

  • How do you handle interruptions at work? Give examples .”

You can read the whole article at http://www.cedrsolutions.com/best-hiring-tool/.

Anyone can describe their skills in a traditional question and answer interview. However, the Behavioral Interview questions will allow you to gain insight into how the candidate applies those skills, which is much more important in your dental practice.

Here are some other questions that could apply directly to hiring in your dental practice:

To an associate dentist candidate:

  • Describe an instance when you worked with a patient to overcome their dental phobia to gain their trust.

  • How do you accept input from a dental assistant while in the operatory with a patient?

  • Tell me about a time when you did not agree with a treatment plan developed by another provider. How did you address this matter and still provide quality care to the patient?

To a staff member candidate:

  • Describe a time when you had to get a patient payment upfront but they did either did not or could not pay at that time?

  • How would you handle an employee who is repeatedly missing work or consistently late?

Take some time before your next interview and write questions that will help you to determine if the next candidate fits the needs and challenges in your practice.


Special thanks to Paul Edwards and his team at CEDR HR Solutions for allowing us to quote from BEHAVIORAL INTERVEW: An Employer’s Best Hiring Tool. CEDR is an HR firm specializing in custom employee handbooks and other HR resources for Dental practices across the United States.

Written by Carl Guthrie, Senior Account Executive and Recruiter for ETS Dental, cguthrie@etsdental.com.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dental Residents - How to Find a Job Coming Out of your AEGD or GPR

Congratulations! After spending your whole life in school and residency you can finally see the end in sight. Now it is time to start putting all that education to use, but finding a job is a lot different than applying to programs. Do you know how to get started?

This is an attempt to provide a centralized resource to help you land a job.
Step 1. Make a Plan.
As outlined in the following blog link, the key is to be flexible. It is best to determine what your options are before narrowing your focus on the best fit. Job Hunt Tips.

Obviously location is important, but don't waste the crucial first years of your career in order to live in the heart of the city. Here is an overview of area limitations on a job market: Where are the Jobs?, and a real-life example is outlined here: The Grass is Always Greener. If you absolutely have to live and work in a saturated market, here are some strategies to help you land a job: Saturated or Difficult Markets.

Step 2. Prepare Your CV and Cover Letter.
Generally speaking, CV/resumes are overrated, as are cover letters. Still, they are a necessary evil when breaking into a job market. It is important to stand out from the crowd, but make sure that it is for the right reasons. You likely gained many marketable skills in residency. Did you place implants, get sedation certification, and perform full mouth rehabilitations? Be sure to highlight those experiences.
Here is an example of a well-written cover letter: Cover Letter Sample.
And here are instructions on writing your CV/resume: Resume for Dentists.

Step 3. Applying.
Here are several online sources for dentist jobs:
Step 4. Interviews.

The Telephone Interview:
  • Return your phone messages and emails promptly. It speaks to your motivation, interest, and courtesy. Don't let returning phone calls or emails become an issue or an obstacle to getting an interview. Even if you don't think you will be interested in an opportunity, return the call. On more than one occasion we have seen a candidate get a call from Practice B when he was already talking with Practice A. The candidate puts off returning the call to Practice B. Two or three weeks later, the opportunity with Practice A does not work out and now Practice B will not consider the candidate because no calls have been returned.
  • Your main goal in a telephone interview is to get a face-to-face interview.
  • Ask for the interview. Take the initiative to set a time. Say something like, "From what you have told me, I would be very interested in meeting with you and coming to see your practice. When would be good for you?"
  • Smile- even on the phone . You really can tell when someone is smiling.
Here is some additional reading on phone interviews: Tips for Phone Interviews.

The Face-to-Face Interview:
Don't go in blindly. Be sure to prepare in advance. Look over this article the night before: Preparing for the Interview.
  • Treat the staff with courtesy and respect. A practice owner often feels like his or her staff is like a family and will listen to their opinions, especially if they are negative. On more than one occasion, we have seen excellent candidates not offered an opportunity because they treated a staff member poorly.
  • Smile and show some enthusiasm. More candidates are hired because of their personalities and positive attitudes than because specific clinical skills. One high-end cosmetic practice told us they had interviewed six different dentists. They hired the candidate who smiled and appeared to truly enjoy being a dentist, passing on more experienced candidates with less personality and enthusiasm.
  • Show sincere interest in the hiring dentist's situation. Understand that the dentist needs to solve a problem. Maybe the practice just lost a key associate or partner. Maybe the practice is growing and cannot keep up with patient demand. Maybe the dentist needs someone to take over the practice when he or she retires. You need to get a clear understanding of the dentist's true motivation for adding an associate. Once you truly understand the needs of the hiring dentist, you can mutually determine if you are the solution.
  • Send a thank you note after the meeting. Here is a great example of a post-interview thank you: Thank You Note.
Still nervous? Here is a full blog post on interviewing: Interview Tips.

Step 5. Reviewing Contracts.
A good overview of contracts may be found here (the most relevant information is on the last page of the article): Compensation Considerations.
Do you have all the information you will need in order to make an informed decision? What to Know Before You Accept an Associate Position
Not satisfied with the offer? Don't be afraid to ask for more. Here are some tips on Negotiating Your Offer.

Step 6. What Can You Expect to Earn?
There are several good sources covering realistic dentist earnings. Here is our own: How Much do Dentists Make?
The ADA puts out its own numbers, also: ADA Income and Gross Billings.

Step 7. Plan Your Relocation.
If you need to relocate, be sure to plan it ahead of time. Here are a few key points to ponder as you plan: Relocation Tips.

Finding a job can be an intimidating process. I hope these resources will help make the process easier. Please feel free to call us should you have any questions. We are always happy to help. For more updates, tips, and helpful information, follow us onour Facebook fan page,Twitter, LinkedIn or on our blog.

Posted by Morgan Pace, Vice President and Senior Dentist Recruitment Consultant with ETS Dental. To find out more, call Morgan at (540) 491-9102 or email at mpace@etsdental.com .

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Importance of Selling Your Opportunity


While the financial aspects of any job opportunity play a significant role in swaying a candidate’s decision to accept an offer, a dental practice owner must take into consideration more than just salary when selling an opportunity. Since more than 60 percent of our placements relocate to the area after accepting an offer, the practice owner needs to put themselves in the associate candidate's shoes and start asking themselves questions about the opportunity before a candidate ever walks through the door.

What does the neighborhood look like? How are the schools? What are selling points of the community? If the candidate was interested in living in the city and the practice is located and hour or two out, the owner should talk about how easy it is to pop into the city whenever they want to. Is the outside of the practice presentable? Is the candidate welcomed with a smile from your front desk or office manager? Is the staff smiling and enjoying themselves while they work? Is the candidate’s name on the welcome sign? Do you understand any barriers the candidate may have to moving to your community? What’s the cost of living? What is their spouse’s career? Are their kids involved in sports, dance, academic, or other extracurricular activities? Have you noticed I haven't mentioned money or anything dental related yet?

It is also important to realize that there are going to be things about your practice or opportunity that the candidate does not like. Maybe it's being on call. Maybe it's working some weekends. Maybe your practice isn't in the most desirable neighborhood, suburb, or community. The best way to overcome these obstacles is by communicating your mission. Explain that you've developed a growing and loyal patient following by your absolute commitment to serving the needs of your community. You may not like working periodic evenings or weekends, but you would only be asking the associate to do this because it is consistent with your mission. If you sell them on your mission and ask them to help you serve that mission, many of the little issues disappear.

Keep in mind the best candidates have many options. Treat every candidate like he or she could be your partner or the buyer of your practice, even if you initially think of them as your second or third choice. Many make the mistake of only treating their initial first choice candidate well. Unfortunately, many practice owners find out that candidate is also the first choice of two or three other practices. Sometimes the first choice candidate turns out to have baggage, a negative attitude, or simply isn't able to accept your opportunity. In the meantime, a practice owner has likely ignored equally qualified candidates. Having multiple candidates interested in your opportunity is a great problem to have. It also strengthens your negotiating power. You've heard the saying that most interviewers make up their mind about a candidate in “x seconds.” The same is true for candidates. Let's face it, you are in competition for the best candidates with regional and national practice management companies. Many can offer more money, better benefits, more training, or newer facilities. What these organizations can't offer is the things that set your practice apart. Your practice has a special place in the community you serve. Play that up.

If the technology or equipment in your practice needs some updating, use this to your advantage. Let the candidate know you've been holding off on updating until you locate your new associate. Since he or she is going to be a big part of the practice’s future, you want them involved in selecting the next generation of equipment and technology. Signal you are willing to teach, but you are also willing to learn. Many early career dentists have received specialized training that simply wasn't available previously. Make sure you are signaling that you want this to be a win-win opportunity. Show you have a genuine interest in their career, their interests, and their family. These are things that practice management companies often miss.

During the interview, you expect a candidate to be personable, confident, and organized. You expect them to keep commitments, stay motivated to constantly improve, and always have the best interests of their patients in mind. Did you know candidates are looking for the same qualities in you as a practice owner? If you aren't prepared, you are late, the office is a mess, and you speak poorly of previous or current associates and staff members, expect to watch your candidate turn and walk away from your opportunity. Interviews are a two lane road, so remember that the candidate isn’t the only one on the spot.

Finally, remember that paying attention to the little things will save you money. Although money is important, it often isn’t a candidate’s top priority. We use the acronym CLAMPS: Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, People and Stability/Security. If you score high on Challenge (always improving clinically) , Location (your community is appealing to the candidate), Advancement (possibility to buy-in), and People (upbeat team environment), you stand a very good chance of landing an associate who is also considering a position in an impersonal corporate environment with higher income potential.

ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States. www.etsdental.com

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Importance of Career-pathing and Mentoring in 2015

2014 came to a strong close, with U.S. employment reaching a 12-month average of 246,000 new jobs and unemployment dropping to 5.6 percent. Confidence is growing in the labor market and as a result, many companies plan to hire throughout 2015. With all of this positive news on the job front, employees might have expected to see upward movement on salaries and wages. However, most recent surveys and reports indicate employers are planning modest pay increases, comparable to what was awarded in 2014. In light of this, how will companies retain their best talent, when below-market salaries are one of the top reasons employees decide to leave?



According to Towers Watson commentary regarding their 2014 compensation survey, the projected 3 percent pay raise in 2015 is a bit disappointing as the average employee is barely keeping ahead of inflation. However, we realize that many companies are being conservative with pay, because they are still concerned about the stability of the economy and the labor market.

Despite this reality, the most recent MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, found that although improved compensation and benefits are a leading factor for candidates considering changing jobs, the top reason that candidates leave is because of clear advancement opportunities elsewhere.
So what does this mean for employers?

Companies may be at greater risk of losing their top performers, but the wage issue can be averted by focusing on career tracking, mentoring and training programs. After all, advancement to a more senior role not only connotes greater responsibility, but also higher pay, or at least the long-term potential to earn more.

"The days of requiring employees to take on the workload of people who either resigned or were laid off, without additional pay, are behind us," says Nancy Halverson, vice president of global operations for MRINetwork. "Today's workers want recognition for their contributions, and they expect to see a clear path for how added responsibilities will enable them to advance within the company."
Ultimately the salary discussion has more to do with an employer's culture of coaching, mentoring, training, recognition and evidence of upward mobility, in addition to how well the organization communicates and sells these attributes, both internally and externally. "The goal should be more about creating a 'best place to work' environment that is highly desired by candidates in the marketplace," adds Halverson. "This is really what the future of recruitment and retention is all about."

Advancement opportunities and career-pathing will additionally become more important as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials become the majority in the workplace. This generation is especially focused on gaining experience that can be leveraged to make the next career step, which is why job changes after 2-3 years are more common. Companies that provide the mentoring and training that Millennials crave are not only working toward retention of their brightest talent, they are grooming the future leaders of the organization.

Halverson provides the following tips for establishing and promoting career-pathing and mentorship programs:
  • Brainstorm how your organization can develop these programs, if they don't already exist. Consider how they can be leveraged to support various groups within your workforce including minorities, women and junior to mid-level management candidates.
     
  • Begin discussing internal mobility programs during the interviewing and onboarding process.
     
  • Promote the programs through multiple internal and external channels to create stories about employee advancement within the company.
Although career growth is what's most important to candidates, it doesn't mean that companies can make wage increases a last thought. Salaries are going to have to come up to attract top performers. "However, no amount of money will make them stay in a role that appears to have no future," concludes Halverson. "That's where the power of career-pathing kicks in."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Resumes That Give You the Edge

A resume or a curriculum vitae (CV) will serve as a vital and necessary tool in your career as a Dentist. I have seen thousands in my time as a Search Consultant of dentists across the U.S., and I would like to share some tips on what to do when preparing yours.
  1. Know the difference: Resumes are a summary of your employment and educational background and experience. CV’s are meant to be very detailed, and should outline everything associated with your field of study including: education, research, publications, continuing education, employment, etc.

  2. When to use Resume versus CV: Resumes are more appropriate for gaining employment in clinical practice. When practices are hiring for new Associate Dentists, they want to quickly review a candidate’s background. An easy to read-at-a-glace resume is what you want to provide. A lengthy CV would not be appropriate in these situations. CV’s are used primarily in the areas such as academia and research.

  3. Resume content: Again, a resume is a summary. Keep it to two pages if possible, three at most. I advise all job applicants with lengthy resumes to cut back on the “fluff” such as hobbies, personal statements, family info, or other personal info not relevant to the job search. For a very simple yet effective layout visit our sample at http://etsdental.com/articles/curriculum-vitae.html

    Note to new graduates: one page is fine. Don’t create content that doesn’t really help you just to get a second page. Highlight your achievements in dental school.

  4. Don’t include personal data such as marital status, age, national origin, social security number, etc. This information can lead to possible discrimination or worse, identity theft. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sets rules for what information employers are allowed to use when making a hiring decision. Learn more at http://www.eeoc.gov/.

  5. Make your resume readable and proof your grammar and spelling. I don’t recommend using complicated resume formats or layouts. Often times these layouts hurt you rather than help set you apart. Most employers and recruiters use databases and software that will scrub for information, and if the format is not straight forward it may not get seen as you would hope.

    Follow this order:
    1. Name and contact info
    2. Education
    3. Work History
    4. CE

  6. Measurable achievement sets you apart. Share facts when possible. The questions I get from employers generally are: A) How well did he/she rank clinically in dental school? B) How much does this doctor produce monthly in his/her current role? C) How many molar root canals does this doctor perform weekly/monthly? D) Does the doctor speak Spanish?
    Success and ability are measurable. Make a point to know and share what you bring to the table.

  7. Skip the fluff: As stated in point 6, measurable data is best. I will give you some insight into nearly every resume and interview I’ve seen or done: Every doctor is “great with patients and the staff”. They all say it. When I ask, what set’s you apart? They tell me their “patients want to follow them wherever they go.” If you’re a nice doctor, we’ll get that in the interview by meeting and speaking with you. The points that get you into an interview are the measurable ones.
The information I have shared above is very basic, but so often I see doctors overcomplicating what should be a very simple summary of their careers and education. You should know what employers are looking for when reviewing resumes. They are looking for work experience, education, and measurable achievement. Give them that information in order set you apart from other applicants.

Written by Carl Guthrie, Senior Account Executive/Dental Recruiter at ETS Dental. For more information, contact Carl directly at 540-491-9104 or cguthrie@etsdental.com.