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How to Hire Great Dental Staff: Part III – The Onsite 30 Minute Interview

The following is a guest post by Jill Nesbitt of If you are interested in guest posting for Dental Heroes, please sign up here.

A quick review of our hiring process so far:

In Part 1: Where to place ads? – We reviewed how to attract candidates for your dental position. In Part 2: Telephone interview – I shared the questions and approach to eliminating unqualified candidates. Today, we will discuss how to do an onsite ½ hour interview.

Give Candidate Patient Brochure

When your candidate arrives, give them your patient brochure or some information about your practice. It’s best if you create a one page profile of your practice to answer the standard questions: what are the hours? What is the job description and career advancement opportunity? Give this profile page to your candidate to read – that also gives you a few minutes to wrap up with your patients and get to your interview.

Introduce Yourself and Discuss Your Interview Process

When you meet your candidate, introduce yourself (and your role if you’re a staff member) and shake hands. Invite your candidate to come to a private room and start out by letting her know that you’ll plan to spend 30 minutes together where you will ask a handful of questions, she can ask some questions and we’ll see if this position looks like a fit for her. This starts the meeting off in a positive manner.

Ask to See Copy of Candidate’s Resume

First, ask to see a copy of her resume. Read through her resume to look for a logical path of jobs and find out why she left each position and why she accepted the next one. If something doesn’t make sense in her explanation, ask follow up questions. Does accepting your position seem like a reasonable fit with her background and skills? By reviewing her resume, you can find out if she is a job hopper or if she has negative things to say about all her past employers – both warning signs.

Analyze Candidate’s Fit for Your Practice

Your next job at this interview is to make a decision about the appearance and professionalism of your candidate. While you were asking questions about her resume, how was her speech? Political correctness aside, this is your practice and you get to set the appearance guidelines for staff. If you decide that this person doesn’t match the professionalism you expect from your staff, then you can speed up the interview by asking a few questions and then letting the candidate leave.

Ask Questions

Now it’s time to ask a handful of questions. We ask:

1. What prompted you to call us regarding this position?
2. How would your present employer/co-workers describe you?
3. What’s the most important thing you’ve accomplished at work this year?
4. What did you learn from your last job?
5. What do you see as the next step in your career development?
6. Have you ever read a book that had a deep and lasting effect on you? Tell me about it.
7. What have you done in work situations to improve teamwork?
8. Tell me something you have recently done for yourself.
9. Have you ever committed to a class or project that required one evening/week of your time? What was it? When?
10. To build your career at HealthPark, it will take 2-3 hours/week of your own time to complete our training. It will take 3 years of this time commitment to move into level 5, how do you feel about that?

On to Step 4

Step 4 in the hiring process is the observation day. If you’ve handled the onsite interviews well, then you should have no more than 3-4 candidates coming in to observe. The telephone interview and the onsite interviews usually happen in the same week. So although this seems like a lot of work, it drastically improves your hiring process and it can go quickly. Here’s to hiring successfully in 2012!

Your Onsite Interview Tips

Do you have any tips for the onsite interview that you’ve seen work especially well in determining a candidate’s potential fit with your practice? Please leave them in a comment below.

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