Hire the Employee You Want to Keep
Let’s face it: hiring is hard. And at a busy practice, you’re always hiring. So it’s terrible that taking on each employee feels like a shot in the dark, with no certainty as to whether you’ll get a great addition to your team or a new set of problems.
Luckily, life is about to get easier! The rock star employees you’re looking for are out there, and there is a strategy you can use to attract and identify them. And it all starts with you, because knowing exactly what you’re looking for increases the odds that you’ll find it. By envisioning your ideal employee walking through your door, you can help create the circumstances to make it happen.
This may sound like positive thinking to the extreme, but it works. Here’s how.
It All Begins with Closing Your Eyes (Seriously!)
OK, so hiring is not as simple as thinking happy thoughts, squeezing your eyes shut, and picking a random resume. But better hiring really does begin with closing your eyes. Think about the job you’re hiring for and its essential duties. What positive, measurable attributes would your “perfect” employee for that position have? Now, visualize that employee walking through your door.
Sound like a useless game of make-believe? Bear with me, there is a point. You only stand a chanceof hiring your perfect employee if you set up the conditions for attracting and identifying them. So, figure out what you’ll look for. What specific skills will this employee possess? What work ethic and work style? How do you see them fulfilling their job duties and integrating into your team and the practice?
Now, get more specific. What education or certification do they need to have? Which duties are non-negotiable? How will success be measured? Keep asking these questions until your dream employee is so well-rounded that you expect to see them at their workstation when you walk by.
Got it? Now open your eyes, put your fingers on the keyboard or pick up a pen. Note down each and every detail. Put your vision onto the page.
From Dream to Reality: Job Descriptions
From this point onwards, it’s all about fulfilling your vision. First, revisit the job description for the position in question. This is the road map for your perfect employee – the route they will follow to achieve success in their position and in your practice. But this map is as much for your sake as theirs. A good job description will help you hire better, set expectations, manage employees and even defend against unfounded disability discrimination claims.
As such, you should have an up-to-date job description in place for every position. If you don’t, now is the time to implement one. Use the “ideal employee” notes you just made to describe all job functions that person would be so skillfully enacting.
Good job descriptions include the position title, the responsibilities, to whom the job reports and how success is measured, the skills and education/training required, and all essential duties. However, keep it legal! Don’t unreasonably or illegally exclude candidates in your wording or requirements. For example, you can ask a dental hygienist to have completed certification, but cannot require that a receptionist have a bachelor’s degree.
Once your description is comprehensive and up-to-date, you’re ready for the next step: job ads.
Job Ads and their Secret Superpowers
Job ads are written directly from your job description – they’re the next level in transforming vision into reality. And your “perfect” candidate won’t know to apply until you make it clear this is the job they’re looking for. Your goal is to set up a “match made in heaven” scenario.
Remember: When it comes to amazing applicants, you are competing for them. You want first pick of the best and brightest. The more your job ad speaks to and excites the “perfect” employee in your vision, the greater your chances of getting that person to apply.
Include the usual components: a catchy header that includes the job title; a clear, direct and legal description; essential duties and skill/education requirements; and pay and schedule info. Plus, add extra enthusiasm and a sense of urgency to make applicants act today.
One last thing: you need to tell job-seekers how to apply. That’s where you’ll deploy your secret weapon.
Eliminate the Weakest Links…Automatically!
How can you effortlessly identify the top 5% of your candidates? Use this secret weapon in all job ads: provide simple, yet multi-step instructions for candidates to follow when applying for the job. That’s it!
Why is this a great trick? 95% percent of unsuitable applicants will skip this step. Weed them out ruthlessly. If they are not paying attention to following directions now, they won’t improve once hired.
Here’s an example: “In the subject line of your application email, type: ‘Detail-Oriented Applicant for Dental Hygienist Position.’ Then in your cover letter, describe two situations where a patient was upset, and how you handled it. One should demonstrate how you were able to turn a bad situation into a positive experience for the patient.”
And You’re Off to the Races
From your vision to job descriptions, to job ads and weeding-out tasks, these steps admittedly require a bit of up-front effort. However, you’ll end up with a higher quality pool of applicants to choose from before you even hit the interview stage. Over time, that will result in consistently better hires.