Hiring Outside of The Box… Thinking beyond the ‘We’re Hiring’ Sign and Newspaper Ad

It’s a beautiful Monday morning, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the schedule is full, no one has called in sick, and I got through the drive-thru at Starbucks in less than five minutes…life is good! At this point, what could possibly go wrong? Quickly our sunny skies turn gray and the birds stop chirping as you are approached by your Rockstar employee, Cindy, the minute you walk through the clinic door; that can’t be good! As they say, if a picture was worth a thousand words, you should have seen her face. Cindy lowers her voice and tells you she needs to talk. At this point you have a feeling that you know what she is going to say; please let your gut be wrong. Sure enough, Cindy tells you that she has decided to accept a position elsewhere. You are totally caught off guard and quickly go into panic mode. Your mind starts racing and you begin wondering just where the heck you are going to find someone to replace her – there couldn’t possibly be another Cindy out there? The good news is there are plenty of ‘Cindys’ in the world, we just have to know where to look!

First, let’s get one thing straight, it is completely natural to panic (at least a little bit), when an employee gives their notice. Have your moment of panic, the key is MOMENT, not week, then move on. Regain being calm and take this moment to gather your thoughts while dusting off the job listing that you were hoping you wouldn’t have to use for a while. This also is a time to remind yourself that change can be a good thing. Along with change comes opportunity and a chance for a fresh start, so embrace it and consider it a stepping stone to launch you toward a new level of success!

Most of us have gone about hiring in the traditional sense over the years, putting an ad in the local newspaper, a sign in the window or on the door, or worse yet, did nothing but hope a seemingly decent resume would magically appear on our doorstep. Remember me mentioning change, well the world has changed in countless ways over the years, as should the way we find quality candidates to add to our team. Not only has the process changed, but the mentality has shifted as well, lessening the emphasis on a particular skill set but rather honing in on a candidate’s attitude and willingness to learn. While I realize that it’s important and, in most cases, required that candidates have minimal levels of education or training to work in our offices, it should still go without saying that attitude is everything. Yet when it comes to hiring most of us have tunnel vision and have chosen to focus solely on what is presented to us on a sheet of paper (resume). This as we all know from experience, and it can lead us astray.

Start by recognizing you have a talent pool literality at your fingertips. This is where I want you to step outside of the box and open up your thought bubble. Remember the local eatery that you frequent at least two to three times a week… why do you frequent the place? Is it the décor (probably not), the food (ah, maybe), or is it the service? You probably frequent this particular eatery because the prices are reasonable (sure), but more notably, you can’t beat the friendly and fast service that you get from John every time you sit at your favorite booth. This is the intangible piece that you can’t box up and get it to go. Instead, you need to start paying attention to these memorable interactions and you will quickly see you do indeed have a talent pool at your fingertips; shift your thought process for hiring.

An easily accessible talent pool can be found through networking. Remember all the meetings you have attended, continuing education courses, alumni banquets, conventions, etc., those are all resources ready and waiting for you to tab into. Start asking this network of colleagues, friends, reps, and so on. These are people in your inner circle that are typically more than happy to help with any leads, you just need to ask. Another benefit is that this group of individuals knows you and will typically have an idea of the ‘right’ type of candidate when making any recommendations or referrals. You can then use social media sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, when interviewing a candidate that you don’t know, to see if there are any mutual connections who may be able to offer feedback on the candidate.

Another avenue for sourcing candidates is taking networking a bit further by reaching out to local and state associations or organizations, as well as vocational / trade schools and other area colleges. These associations and organizations usually keep an ongoing list of active and inactive dental team members that are either looking to get back to work in the offices or want to move from part time to full time status, thus leading them to find a different office to meet those needs. Trade schools are an excellent resource for locating qualified dental assistants that have completed a program, essentially guaranteeing the graduates will have a dental specific skill set, as well as launching them towards any needed certifications for radiograph exposure and such (varies from state-to-state). If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has a dental college, you can reach out to them to see if they have a hygiene program. Also, don’t forget to see if the trade school or college has a Placement Office that helps students find jobs in their field. They will usually let you post a job listing on their Placement Office / Job Sourcing website for free.

Lastly, don’t forget the online avenues that are available by a click-of-the-mouse. You can easily post a job listing on Indeed.com (there is a paid & unpaid option for employers), Craigslist (free except for listing in certain locations and can work well for localized searches), LinkedIn.com (more professional minded job seekers and is sort of an ‘instant resume’ at your disposal), and yes, even Facebook can be used for posting job listings (you would probably want to post these listings through you office’s Facebook page over your personal page). No matter which one of the above you might decide to try, be prepared for several resumes to pour in; you can literally receive 100s! Do yourself a favor and be proactive in terms of combatting this by being as specific as possible when listing the required and desired skills you wish an applicant to possess. Also, be sure you use a separate email address to receive applicant resumes and exclude your phone number from the job posting unless you want to receive tons of applicant calls… trust me on this one!

Okay, so let’s think back to Cindy, your Rockstar employee who unexpectedly put in her two weeks’ notice… You were devastated, remember? Now, with all the ‘outside-of-the box’ hiring options at your fingertips, it should be easy to find another Cindy (or even an upgrade)! Finding a qualified candidate isn’t difficult, you just have to know where to look.