5 Steps to All-Star Dental Hiring

Alex Nottingham and Robyn Reis discussed the importance of having a clear vision when it comes to hiring team members and creating job descriptions. They highlighted the importance of understanding the characteristics and key skills of the person who sits in the role, as well as their responsibilities and education requirements. They also discussed the importance of using the job description as a recipe for success, not only for existing team members, but for future behavior and performance evaluations. Finally, they suggested thinking about what you are looking to attract before getting started on the process.

Highlights

[02:20]  The Five Steps of Dental Hiring
[04:04]  Attracting the Right Team Members for Your Practice
[05:26]  Creating Job Descriptions and Postings for Dental Practices
[08:38]  Recruiting and Interviewing for Dental Assistants: Expectations, Skills, and Process
[11:36]  Five Steps to Successful Hiring and Onboarding in a Dental Practice
[12:57]  Integrating New Hires into a Practice
[15:43]  Interviewing and Onboarding Practices in the Dental Industry
[17:18]  All Star Hiring Service

Resources

About Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn’s personal goals are to make a difference in someone’s life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.

10:10 – 28:25
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Welcome to Dental Allstars. Our guest is Robyn Reis. She is the hiring director at Allstar Dental Academy. She is also a certified HR consultant with Ben Ericson and associates and a guest faculty at the Pankey Institute. She helps hundreds of practices with practice management, administration, marketing, hiring HR, and Team culture. We’re talking about the five steps to dental hiring.

28:26 – 29:21
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Please welcome, Robyn.

30:23 – 32:01
Robyn Reis
Thanks, Alex. Great to be here.

32:16 – 49:12
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Great to have you as always. The director, that’s your nickname? The director. So give me an overview. And I know we talked about this before and you said, oh, the five steps that can take me a whole day to go through. Give me 15 minutes. What are the five steps? The dental hiring? What do you. Because do some background.

49:12 – 02:19
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
As the title suggests you run our hiring department where we help recruit and hire team members. And these five steps are what we teach and what we utilize. So tell me about the five steps.

03:11 – 31:08
Robyn Reis
Absolutely. And you know, speaking about dental hiring, having a plan really is what is most important in a lot of dental practices. Don’t they’re very knee jerk in the moment, having to make some decisions. So it’s really having that plan in advance. So when your team does change that, you’re prepared and you have these steps in place and these are steps that have been proven over and over again to really work successfully in any size practice anywhere in the country.

31:26 – 58:02
Robyn Reis
Like you mentioned, we work with a lot of practices and each practice is unique to themselves. They don’t have a special description. Most dental practices have the basic functions, but what makes them unique is where they’re located. Their team and of course, the culture and leadership of the practice. So really, before we even jump into the five steps, we want to make sure that practices have their employee personnel manual.

58:19 – 02:20:22
Robyn Reis
And we’ve talked about this to Alex about the employee manual is really about the relationship of the doctor and the team members. And it really spells out expectations and benefits and perks and all of that good stuff. Much like your standard operating manual has the systems of how the business runs. So it’s the people behind the systems, it’s the people behind the business that make it so successful and so unique.

02:21:02 – 02:24:11
Robyn Reis
So that’s the foundational piece. Before we even jump into the five steps.

02:24:11 – 02:47:22
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
You’re right. You have to have the manual. But even stepping back further, is the CEO, the dentist? That has to be clear on what they’re looking to create in their office. And we’re going to do another podcast on recruitment versus hiring. Right, being proactive, thinking about your organizational structure, because that’s what we do here. And dental all stars and All-Star Dental Academy is bring the business aspect.

02:47:22 – 03:05:24
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
What does do businesses do not just dental offices, they are businesses, but often they don’t run like a business. It starts with the visionary. We were just reading a book called Traction. You’re the visionary, you have the integrator, and then you go into those departments. But if the dentist is not embracing that role as visionary, it doesn’t have a vision for a whatever practice do you want.

03:06:08 – 03:22:18
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
And I think many of them, if I push them hard enough, they want great customer service in their business. They want a process that that they can help people, that they can do the geeky dental stuff and that they can make money. And that’s fine. We have to articulate that then. What did the team have to look like to to create that vision?

03:23:01 – 03:44:16
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
And then once that’s created and so we’re in the recruitment mindset of how you set your department up and you’re talking about making sure your HR Human resources is properly provided, i.e. the manuals or SOP standard operating procedures. And then we get into the tactic. That’s why I was right out the gate. The tactic called hiring and we work with a lot of dentists, probably most of it.

03:44:17 – 04:08
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Most of them are like freaking out. I need people and hire, hire, hire. And we do that very well. That’s a tactic. But we try to encourage them to think a little bit. That’s why there’s questionnaires and discussions and think, What are you looking to attract before we even put pen to paper or fingers to the typewriter or the keyboard?

04:16 – 04:04:21
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
We have to have in our mind what we’re looking to create. Are we in the same page here?

04:05:03 – 04:23:08
Robyn Reis
Absolutely. And Alex, you mentioned the key word vision. Having a vision for your practice you that really helps drive every decision you make. Is this taking us closer to our vision or further away? And it’s even more important when we talk about getting the people on our team. We use the analogy a lot about you know, the dentist is the bus driver.

04:23:12 – 04:39:18
Robyn Reis
And we want to make sure that people who are getting on our bus and heading in the direction that we want to go, that we have them in the right seats. So let’s talk about those tactics one by one. We talked about the employee manual, having that vision in place. So step one is to develop the job description.

04:39:20 – 05:02:27
Robyn Reis
This is what I call the recipe for success. You can use it not only for existing team members to get really clear about expectations, roles, responsibilities and those elements of the job description. But it also helps for future behavior and future performance evaluations, where you get to say, How well are you performing in this position? Where are their learning opportunities?

05:02:27 – 05:26:07
Robyn Reis
Where are the mastery pieces? And that really sets the stage for how you bring somebody into your practice. Is understanding truly the person who sits in this role and performs these duties, what what do they look like? What characteristics do we need? What key skills and responsibilities and maybe even special education will they need? And what is the job in our office?

05:26:07 – 05:52:02
Robyn Reis
What does that entail? So that is about not only essential job duties, but are their physical and environmental requirements. What are the key attributes that you’ve heard? People skills, right? Versus technical skills. So what are those people skills that we want? What are the technical skills that we want? And interestingly enough, 67% of hiring managers will always lean more towards people skills versus technical skills.

05:52:07 – 06:15:04
Robyn Reis
And Alex, we’ve had this conversation a gazillion times about how you always want to hire for enthusiasm and attitude versus skill, because we can train the dentistry. We can teach people the terminology and the and the techniques and how to pour a model and how to answer the phone. What we can’t teach is that innate ability to want to be of service to people, to really want to enjoy the job that they do.

06:15:09 – 06:40:21
Robyn Reis
And dentistry really is about people. It’s, you know, dentistry is what we do, but it’s the people that we work with and the people that we serve. That is really our guiding principle. So when we think about job descriptions, again, we’ve had several discussions lately with clients about, you know, they just have a one sheet piece of paper that describes come in, turn on the lights, turn on the computer, you know, make sure that the compressor is turned on and the waterlines are on.

06:41:10 – 06:59:03
Robyn Reis
That is very much a step by step. Here are what are the things that you need to do to start the office? But it really doesn’t give you a sense of what is the job itself. And so we talk about elements of that job description. It’s the title. It’s the classification. Are they a nonexempt or an exempt employee?

06:59:04 – 07:19:29
Robyn Reis
What does that mean? Who do they report to? What is this job summary as a dental assistant in our practice? This is the expectation. And then we list the job duties. Then we list those key skills and abilities. We talk about any special educational requirements. Some practices want an accredited schooling certificate. Other practices say we are happy to train you on the job.

07:20:17 – 07:52:04
Robyn Reis
What are the environmental and physical requirements and some of those pieces that the key skills and the environmental and physical responsibilities or entire what somebody can expect in this role. Those actually meet the Americans with Disabilities Act and the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, those requirements for every job description. So it’s a fair and an across the board playing field that anyone who meets these criterias, these qualifications, has an opportunity to compete for the for the position.

07:52:11 – 08:17:00
Robyn Reis
So we want to make sure that job descriptions are written to meet record retention requirements and also compliance issues. So then once we have our recipe, then we get to develop our job posting. And again, research has shown what what is the sweet spot? How many words, whether it’s a mobile side or another job site that has an engine that blasts it out to the different job boards.

08:17:10 – 08:38:03
Robyn Reis
So when you use your job description to create your job posting, we want to answer some key questions that an applicant is looking for. We want to first identify what is the practice? Who who are you? Where are you located? And you know what makes you special? Then the next component is What position are you looking for? And we want to describe for that potential candidate.

08:38:10 – 08:58:24
Robyn Reis
Here are the expectations. Here are the key skills we’re looking for to and what we find to be an ideal. I’m using dental assistant as an example. What are the requirements? Do you have to have that accredited schooling certificate? Do you have to have x ray certification? So we’re going to identify those things in the job posting as well as here are the benefits.

08:58:26 – 09:19:24
Robyn Reis
Here’s what you can expect as a member of our team. Here’s the schedule. Here are the benefits. And if it sounds like this might be the opportunity for you. We use a call to action. Submit your resume. Submit a cover letter. Tell us a little bit about you. And that’s what our hiring team really does. They focus on creating those job posts that will attract the talent that our client is looking for.

09:20:00 – 09:46:29
Robyn Reis
So it’s really important that you understand, too, when you write that job post that it’s not generic. And we’ve talked and laughed about different examples that we’ve seen out in the world that really you can get a sense of the culture and you can get a sense of the practice simply by how they advertise for a position. The third step in dental hiring is now that you have the post and you’ve gotten some resumes, you now start identifying and interviewing those candidates.

09:47:04 – 10:05:00
Robyn Reis
That could be a fit for your practice. And we do it in stages. We do a phone interview, a Zoom interview, and then we help the doctor in the team interview, that candidate in person. And each step of that stage, it’s a screening process. I mean, ultimately recruiting, interviewing is a process of elimination. We have this idea that we’ll have a unicorn.

10:05:06 – 10:31:13
Robyn Reis
And, you know, we’re looking for that unicorn. And we know in today’s war on talent that those unicorn unicorns are few and far between. So we want to make sure what are the basic skills and abilities that we’re looking for? What is the attitude and the behavioral characteristics that is going to fit really well in our culture? And I know culture is a completely separate discussion, but it definitely influences how you interview as well.

10:32:14 – 10:56:17
Robyn Reis
So doing that interview process, there are questions you want to get to understand who they are pretty quickly. Asking situational questions, asking behavioral questions, and ultimately getting to the point where, wow, this sounds like this could be a new team member for this particular practice and everybody is different. Everybody is unique. So we want to make sure we are asking those questions every step of the way to eliminate potential people that aren’t a good fit.

10:56:24 – 11:14:26
Robyn Reis
We want to do our due diligence on the front end so that hopefully the doctor will choose an applicant that’s going to stay there for a long time. So let’s get to that step two. Step four is once you’ve interviewed, we’ve narrowed it down. You found the candidate you wanted. Now you get to make the offer and we help create that offer letter.

11:15:02 – 11:36:07
Robyn Reis
We help do the homework behind that. And that’s another thing that a lot of practices don’t do, because they don’t have the time or they’re short staffed is checking employment references. We joke about this all the time, Alex, but the idea that 85% of resumes out there, according to an Ink and Forbes article, are falsified or embellished in some form or fashion.

11:36:07 – 11:57:15
Robyn Reis
So saying that they were a lead dental assistant at a dental practice may or may not be true if they were the only dental assistant at that particular practice. So it really is verifying that information. You want to trust people, but you must verify to make sure that you are bringing someone on into your team that is going to fit well and also is going to get along with well with others.

11:57:23 – 12:26:24
Robyn Reis
And we want to make sure that they’re giving us the most accurate and correct information. And lastly, the fifth step, of course, and again, another often overlooked step in the dental practice, and that is an onboarding program. There was a Gallup poll that said six 9% of applicants who had a structured onboarding program were more were 69% were more likely to stay three years or longer in that particular organization.

12:27:06 – 12:57:02
Robyn Reis
Now, that speaks volumes. And knowing that when they first started interviewing and saw the job post, they’re already creating in their mind what this practice and environment and culture is going to be like. So now that they’ve gotten to the point where they were chosen and you’re now bringing them into the practice, it’s up to you, the doctors, the team, to ensure that successful integration with this new hire, that they have structured onboarding, they have a training body, there’s a plan, and part of that plan is those regular check ins.

12:57:07 – 13:19:12
Robyn Reis
How’s it going? Here’s the list of duties that you were reviewing this week. Where where are you? How well are you integrating? And are you are they asking questions? You know, the expectation would be if we use the 90 day orientation and training period as an example, that first 30 days, they should be asking a ton of questions and taking a ton of notes that second, 30 days into 60 days.

13:19:23 – 13:52:04
Robyn Reis
Those questions should be minimal. They’ll still need some direction, but those questions should be minimal. And by that 90th day that they’ve been in your practice, they should certainly have a full command and understanding of the role, the expectations and be able to function very well with minimal supervision by that 90th day, because at any stage that you find that somebody is not getting it, not retaining that information in that training, you want to, you know, press pause and make sure, is this still a good decision?

13:52:11 – 14:16:25
Robyn Reis
And those check ins really will prove valuable in helping somebody integrate into a new team, especially early. If you have in this an established and seasoned team that has worked together for a long time, you can imagine the intimidation, a new hire would feel coming into that. So making sure that they are getting the training in the way that they will use it the most and maximize it the most is important.

14:16:25 – 14:28:11
Robyn Reis
And that’s where you get that check in. That’s you where you get that feedback. That’s where you understand, is this person getting the information that they need to be able to function at a high level with our team in a specific period of time.

14:28:26 – 14:36:27
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
What are these steps that dentist typically do and what do they typically skip that you find when they do it on their own?

14:36:27 – 14:54:26
Robyn Reis
When they do it on their own, they’re typically going right to let’s created an ad. Let’s describe what you know Betty Sue just did and put it out there and start interviewing people. They go they skip the job description. They really don’t sit down and decide, hey, what worked well with Betty Sue? What didn’t work well with Betty Sue?

14:55:03 – 15:14:16
Robyn Reis
Let’s see if we can avoid that. Most often they hand it off to the office manager or the administrative leader and say, hey, put an ad in on indeed and let’s hope for the best. So there’s really no plan. That’s what I think they skip is is gathering the troops in and figuring out what worked, what didn’t, and what can we avoid next time.

15:15:02 – 15:21:09
Robyn Reis
The other part of that is, you know. Yes, interviewing. Another podcast, I’m sure is, you know, the ghosting and would.

15:21:11 – 15:21:25
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
A good one.

15:21:25 – 15:22:04
Robyn Reis
Showing.

15:22:04 – 15:24:15
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
That would be a good for that you get to get ghosted.

15:24:19 – 15:43:11
Robyn Reis
Like yes and you know not showing up after they’ve gotten the job and all that good stuff. But that’s another thing, I think for for the interviewing questions, oftentimes it’s, you know, some standard basic questions not really getting to the heart or the meat of what makes a person successful in this role and asking those behavioral or situational questions.

15:43:28 – 16:03:13
Robyn Reis
And most often, doctors and team leaders and I understand this, it’s human nature is they just want to hire somebody they like. They they want to hire somebody that they, you know, enjoy talking to and they think will be able to do the job. And oftentimes, again, that doesn’t work out too to either person’s benefit and the due diligence part after they make the offer.

16:04:03 – 16:27:23
Robyn Reis
They don’t do the homework, they don’t check former employment verifications, they don’t do a background check or they don’t do a personality profile. Because, again, when we think about H.R. and the dental industry, most practices don’t have the ability to have a separate, dedicated H.R. department. So it’s often left to the office manager or some administrative person to take on that role, which they may or may not know about.

16:27:27 – 16:54:16
Robyn Reis
They may or may not know about employment compliance in the laws that pertain to their particular practice. And they’re they’re doing their best job that they can because that’s what their doctor asked them to do. And often, again, it’s not to their strength. And then, of course, onboarding most practices, you know, their onboarding consists of here’s how you clock in, here’s where you put your your your your work stuff, your lunch, and then go answer the phones or, you know, jump right in.

16:55:02 – 17:14
Robyn Reis
And we hope again, we cross our fingers and hope for the best. And that’s really not considered a structured onboarding program.

17:21 – 17:18:10
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
And then, you know, by listening to this, it explains why they may wonder, why are so many people either ghosting me because it wasn’t set up properly or they get hired and they quit very early, or they’re not the right person because they didn’t do your due diligence. There’s a quote If you don’t have the time to do it right, when would you have the time to do it over?

17:18:12 – 17:21:12
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
And that’s what this is all about. So tell me about the hiring service.

17:21:20 – 17:47:01
Robyn Reis
So all star hiring service was born out of the need for clients calling us and asking us, you know, Hey, I need help with finding a front office team member. And we have since expanded it to into the clinical positions. And what makes me most proud is that we have an amazing team of hiring specialists that have all worked in a dental practice, who all understand the business of dentistry, who all understand what teams go through when they have somebody missing.

17:47:19 – 18:11:19
Robyn Reis
And, you know, there’s a lot of transition with practices nowadays, people moving practices being purchased, new ownership coming in. And so there is a lot of turnover, there is a lot of transition. And so our hiring specialists connect with a client and we create those questions, we create those job postings, and we will even help create the job description if they don’t have one.

18:11:27 – 18:33:21
Robyn Reis
To really make it a successful hiring process is possible. And so each hiring specialist becomes an extension of the client that we work with. So we get to know the practice, we get to know what makes them special, what makes them unique. We have a questionnaire. We have some, you know, steps that we we involve to make sure that we do understand that practice as best as we possibly can.

18:33:22 – 18:52:24
Robyn Reis
Then we go out and and function as if we were working in the practice. But we do a lot of it behind the scenes. We get those phone interviews scheduled, we get the Zoom interviews scheduled. We have constant connection and communication with the doctor and whoever is working with us to to do the interviewing process. And once that happens, we arrange for that in-person interview.

18:52:25 – 19:13:24
Robyn Reis
We help with the job offers, we help with the personality profiles, the background checks. It is a all done for you service so that dentists and office managers and assistants and hygienist, they all get to do what they do best and that’s take great care of their patients. We get to do the behind the scenes heavy lifting. On getting ghosted and talking to amazing people.

19:13:24 – 19:39:06
Robyn Reis
There are such great, amazing talent out there and they’re getting snatched up pretty quickly. So it is moving very quickly and that is probably the key to our success, is those practices that stay in constant communication with us email, text messaging, calling before hours after hours, during hours. All of that keeps that potential for that talented person to be the one that we we get to snatch up and we get to to integrate with the client’s practice.

19:39:23 – 20:09
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
It really is a no brainer because I’m thinking about because of the nature of the economy. Hiring was tough before. It’s even more difficult now that you have to armor up, you have to have the resources available to compete. Well, and not only is this process being done, but you’re being educated throughout to do it strategically. To learn more, go to all star dental academy dot com slash hiring and you can learn more about the hiring service.

20:21 – 20:05:24
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Robyn, thank you for the in-depth discussion about the five steps that dental hiring.

20:06:05 – 20:13:29
Robyn Reis
My pleasure, Alex. As you know, it’s something I’m passionate about and I hope people will take a look at all star hiring service and see how we can help you.

20:14:27 – 20:34:20
Alex Nottingham JD MBA
Please remember to follow us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and the more that you follow and like and comment, the more that we can help all your dental buddies. And when you follow, you immediately get these episodes once they’re launched and you can digest them at your convenience. Until next time, go out there and be an all star.

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