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January 11th, 2023

Episode 167 – 3 Tips For Hiring an Awesome Dental Team

I haven’t had an easy time hiring, and I think that’s every business owner ever who is being transparent.” ~Dr. Chad Johnson

Every business owner can agree on one thing: we want to hire great candidates. 

But the reality is, actually hiring candidates is one of the hardest, most stressful parts of building an awesome dental team. 

But here’s the thing…it doesn’t have to be!

We’re always on the lookout for ways to make the hiring process easier for candidates and dental offices. So today we are bringing you tips that you can use in your next hiring cycle to make the process easy and painless. These are tools that Dr. Chad and Regan both use ourselves when hiring team members, and include:

  • The importance of listening to your intuition
  • Questions to ask in an interview to help ensure alignment of an employee with the practice culture
  • Backing the process with science by using personality assessments

Episode Resources

Interested in the podcast and supporting personality tests we discussed? Here are links for you to explore!

Listen to The Ultimate Guide to Dental Team Recruitment with Dr. Maggie Augustyn on the Investment Grade Practices Podcast

Learn more about Clifton Strengths Finding

Learn more about Predictive Index

Learn more about the DISC test


Doctors, are you unintentionally getting in the way of hiring great candidates for the practice. As business owners, it is all too common to get in the way of hiring great people for a variety of reasons. And that’s why co host Dr. Chad Johnson and I have this special podcast episode with tips you can use the next time you go into a hiring cycle in your own practice. That’s Dr. Chad Johnson. Welcome to the episode of Everyday Practices Dental Podcast!

Dr. Chad Johnson 2:38
Hello! You know, one of the last couple of episodes, we talked about core values. And something that we talked about before we started hitting recording is we don’t want another core values discussion. But I think what we’re going to do is build on that because one of the things that first came to mind is how we’ve changed. Our hiring strategy is first you had to backup and help yourself by defining as a team, what your core values are. So that way you could walk forward with a person and say do you align with these core values? And so I know it kind of gets straight to the point Reagan, but my premise being that you know, first you have to define who you are by as a team, not just yourself like not Who are you but who are you? Who are y’all?

Regan 3:23
No way. Okay, well, yes, defining and going into core values is exceptional. Have you made hiring choices in the past and felt like, Oops, I made a mistake, or do you feel like predominantly you’ve had a pretty easy time with hiring?

Dr. Chad Johnson 3:36
No, I have not had a good time hiring. And I think that’s anyone that’s transparent or has only hired two people ever? Because you I the way I look at it, and this might be healthy or not healthy. But it’s it’s very pragmatic. I view hiring, like dating, like dating in that, you know, someone can put on their best show. Yes. On the first date. Yes. Yeah. So in their interview, and basically, it’s just like, Okay, well, that’s neat now, like at least they’re not a train wreck on the first time you visit with them? Because if they are, it’s a one and done date, right? You know, the interview is over, okay, you know, or do you give them another shot, because for some reason, they had just gotten a car wreck and sideswiped, and their front quarter panel is all being dinged up and now they have to

Regan 4:24
I love where this is going because you do you want to cut through the chase, and you want to be able to see you want to be able to both show authentically who you really are. I think that’s what you’re getting at and so and so there is both of both the practice and the candidate are putting on their best suits, you know, great place to argue for there’s no drama at all, we promise you and vice versa. I’m a fantastic candidate for you. Look at all the shiny accomplishments I’ve had but but you just mentioned it too.

Dr. Chad Johnson 4:51
If someone says if someone says you know, I just hate all the drama around offices, I normally go red flag you’re the drama you know, I hate to say that But it’s just like, boy, if you’re overly concerned about the drama, it could be you. But yeah, so then you hire them. And then the honeymoon phase, then reality sets in. So like you said, the authentic self. And that’s that can be six or 12 months later I so I’ve had good hires that that have gone well, for a while, or some that I knew within two weeks, it was no good. So of course, they say, you know, be slow to hire quick to fire. Yes, and but I think a lot of dentists, especially the men, and this is a just a personal judgment statement. But a lot of men, which are a lot of, you know, Dentist owners, but that we don’t listen to our intuition. And so will like later on a year from now, we’ll be like, I knew there was something we should have. But so if we did a better job at listening to ourselves, listening to our intuition, we would be quicker to fire. But back that up, why even go so far as to be firing 10 people in a row, when you haven’t even defined who you are as a team. And then higher from that.

Regan 6:11
There’s a framework for there’s a framework, I think, for supporting your intuition. And that’s what you were talking about with core values. So on this episode, I know it’s really important for both of us to share tools that we use ourselves in that hiring process. So tell me, Chad, how you how you tangibly apply the core values in an interview process.

Dr. Chad Johnson 6:33
So now my office manager does more of the hiring. So she’s doing the interviewing, and the actual hiring, and the onboarding, HR process all together, start to finish, I give my blessing on it. So I want to meet the person. And you know, it might even just be for five minutes. I’m easy enough going that I can get along with most everyone and if they’re willing to work, because listen, in this time of market listeners, you know very well, you might not have 20 candidates, you might have one. And right, you need three assistants and you got one application over four kids

Regan 7:11
all over the board right now. So one of the fellow podcasts that we have Dr. Maggie Augustine on Victoria Peterson’s investment grade practices podcast, you can check it out. And it’s the ultimate guide. I think the hiring team is what the episodes called. But she had a copious amount of candidates apply. And she used her particular tip and tactic and it was how she wrote the ad. But it swings wildly. So you can have an abundance or you can have crickets. Correct. And the past two years has really, it’s really shown quite a bit. I think it’s swung much more than it has in previous years. Yep. Yeah, yep. We

Dr. Chad Johnson 7:50
all know it. So Dr. Bruce, you had mentioned, spoke on this before on one of his podcasts, the productive dentist podcast, he spoke about hiring based on personality. But what we wanted to discuss was, well, whose personality and what makes for a good personality? And is it personality alone? Or do you just mean, you know, you hire primarily on personality, like, okay, they’re outgoing, they’re a go getter? Because I get what he’s saying. But it’s also good to help us, you know, kind of hash out and define what does that mean? Because I’m a more extroverted kind of person. And I would not be hired in someone else’s office that’s, you know, more extroverted if they were looking, sorry, more introverted, if they were looking for a position for someone that, you know, was in accounting, I don’t know, or something like that, where it’s just like, Oh, that guy should be, you know, doing podcasts, but not, you know, accounting or something. And so then they’re judging me based on that personality trait that they’re looking for. But it wasn’t just based on charisma per se.

Regan 9:02
Now, well, there there’s a big difference to between hiring Dental, clinical team and hiring Dental, non clinical staff. So I yeah, I think that there’s I think there’s both personalities will will vary and what’s required of each each position so so when you’re asking what would what questions do you ask that pertain to knowing your team and your core values? And how to interview for that?

Dr. Chad Johnson 9:27
So our core values attentive, compassionate, optimistic, reliable, efficient, those are things that we’re looking for. So we might offer in the interview, say one of our core values is when people are attentive. Can you think of an example in the last week or the last month when you’ve been overly attentive or when you’ve been spot on with your attention your attentiveness and, and give someone as long as they need to find that out and kudos to to my coach for For, you know, helping me that through that process too, and I mentioned her often, but Joanne, you know, has helped us shout out to Joanne Yes, has helped us process that quite a bit.

Regan 10:10
So you know what I love about that, though, here’s what I really like. But I’m into definitions. And so I think somebody’s the term attentive can mean different things to different people. And we did talk about that in the core values episode, go back a couple episodes, listeners if you are interested in a deep dive on core values. But what I love about this is you’re allowing them to define how they interpret attentive, correct, I, that’s brilliant, and then you can you’ll know right away, whether or not that’s going to be a fit or not.

Dr. Chad Johnson 10:38
After we’ve asked that more open ended way, then we can go into some of our definitions of attentive and ask if they can describe those. But sometimes you just know, and I have to admit, a certain percentage of the time if you hire enough, you’re going to be fooled. Around that it’s gonna Yeah, so don’t don’t get beat up about it either. If it’s just like, Oh, she seems so nice. And then she came in and was all catty and stuff. And it’s just like, listen to happens. It’s, I mean, what do you do?

Regan 11:16
I? Well, the tip that I’m bringing to the table today is there’s two different personality assessments. So I like to put the science with it to tell me they’re saying that they’re attentive. This is how they’ve described a situation where they’ve been attentive. So. So that, to me is face value. And that is really, I mean, you’re going to have to trust that to an extent. I mean, that’s where, you know, both sides are going to have to trust each other in the hiring process. Two personality tests that have been brought forth by our CEO Victoria Peterson, I think are amazing. One of them Clifton Strengths Finder, gonna say that right Clifton, Strengths Finder, and predictive index, predictive index is my personal favorite. And it looks for all the key characteristics that would make up attention to detail attention, attentive to me is attention to detail, paying attention, making sure that you’re on task that you’re present. So there’s a lot of different words that can make up of attentive, those. They just put in there. If you haven’t ever taken a personality test before, it’s not it’s not necessarily just fluffy and woowoo, it will really tell you does this person carry the trait of consistency? Does this person carry the trait of being a strategic thinker? Do they value connectedness. So for example, if I’m hiring for the front desk team, in a dental practice, I’m going to want to have someone who values connectedness because they are going to be front facing, they’re going to be dealing with people an awful lot. So that’s going to be important. And if I’m hiring clinical, obviously, consistency is going to be very important. We all know how consistent I hygenist job has to be in order for it to be successful time and time again. So that is going to be a trait I’m going to look at so they will answer it a certain way. You give them this test, it doesn’t take that long to fill out it doesn’t cost that much. And what comes back is to me the test to what they’re saying. It’s like kind of giving yourself a little bit of extra insurance.

Dr. Chad Johnson 13:21
What was that last one called? Not the Clifton Strengths

Regan 13:23
predictive index. Sounds so sciency it’s it’s been my Elf, there’s, I’m gonna have to put this in post notes. So I will follow this up because there is it is accredited in some way that no other personality test is but no, it feels different.

Dr. Chad Johnson 13:42
These sound more psychosocial in a good way than for example, the Enneagram. Let’s just I’m gonna throw that out there. Because yeah, it would be that would be a hot button issue. But in my, in my liking what that one does is it says, you are more like this. And so you should behave like this. And and because you’re in this group, you so it’s I mean, the for all the purposes, it’s a horoscope,

Regan 14:12
the Enneagram Yes, I’ve taken the Enneagram as well. I feel like I’ve taken every personality test under the sun, I’ve taken the Enneagram and, and to me, it it, it felt more like a relating tool. And something for myself. This is my group. I’m a if I’m a peacemaker, like they title it. And then so if I’m a peacemaker, I will want to look for this type of group. So it’s more of like a puzzle matching piece and they all have puzzle matching pieces. To them to a certain extent. What I like about those two particular personality tests is it gives me traits so so you know, like PDA for example, when I’m working with someone to build an authentic or authority marketing strategy for the dental practice, I will go into the core values and then I will ask the team what key characteristics and behaviors make up that specific core value. So I think it’s really good because it gives us in a test those key characteristics, those those behaviors that that person has, that would point to being attentive or being compassionate, or whatever, you know, your other core values are, I would be looking to marry the two together.

Dr. Chad Johnson 15:22
Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, Joanne had us go through and do the, the code of ethics, where we defined out two, three, and sometimes four, you know, things that we came up with, and then using that in our interview, and then also then verifying with the new hire, you know, what are some ways that you demonstrated this this week, and if you knock down, you know, your three or six core values, you know, that you’re that are most important to you as a team, then the other stuff will just be kind of falling in place, you know, like, hey, I need you to take out the trash. You know, like, it’s just

Regan 16:02
what is trainable. That sounds to me like, like, the things that are trainable versus personality.

Dr. Chad Johnson 16:07
Yep. I mean, so we all love someone that has a great personality who’s gonna hire a bad personality, but it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. I

Regan 16:16
don’t know, maybe an insurance adjuster. I’m trying to think of a job where emotion Ness doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It doesn’t, you know, personality, it’s an analytical thing.

Dr. Chad Johnson 16:26
Yeah, well, I mean, just think about this, like, if someone was looking to this is just macabre. But like, if someone were like, well, we’re looking to hire a CIA killer. And we need to, I’m just saying, you know, like, it’s weird, but like, and so when we’re like, We need someone who’s emotionless, you know, it’s just like, I suppose.

Regan 16:44
You know, I was like, a CIA killer. Yeah. But you

Dr. Chad Johnson 16:47
know, it’d be like, Okay, that’s the kind of person that we’re, you know, looking for. Graham. Yeah. And assassin, then it’s just like, Well, that and then you want a someone who blends in? Doesn’t have any personality? No guilt? No, you know, kind of like,

Regan 17:03
you make me want to Google predictive index for assassin.

Dr. Chad Johnson 17:07
Right. You know, but so in other words, someone could say, well, I thought you said hire on personality, where it’s like, Well, true for the job, right, your point for each job, but the you know, front desk person is going to be different than the dentist who you want to act and be authoritative, you know, as opposed to receptive to, you know, people coming in and whatnot. But I think my take home message was, you know, what are your core values, then with your team, you know, define what those core values are? Explain them through examples with your code of ethics. A sidenote like the I like the DISC profile, I find a lot of people that are actually in the study column work well with me why? Because I’ve fired so many people over, you know, 17 years, that don’t fit into a certain little niche within the DISC profile. It’s easily Yeah, or they quit. I don’t want to make it sound like, you know, like, it’s something

Regan 18:04
it’s not a right fit is what it sounds like. So, you know, outside of this personality parameter, yes, it tends to not be a great fit within the DISC profile.

Dr. Chad Johnson 18:13
Right. And yet, they could go to the office down the street and be and that other dentist might, you know, click with that kind of person. Yeah, man, Chad fires all the wrong people. He keeps all the ones that are in the study column. And I love all the compliant people

Regan 18:27
do you interview and ask scenario type questions. So like demonstrating being attentive works? That’s a good, that’s a good example of that. But do you demonstrate like, do you ask them to talk about a situation where they were working with other team members that would demonstrate whether or not they were kind of leaning towards the stable or the compliance side? How does that come out?

Dr. Chad Johnson 18:50
I like that staying as a rhetorical question, because that’s a really good question. Personally. I don’t I almost wonder if my office manager Sally does. Yeah, you know, but but at the same time, I don’t micromanage which is weird for a lot of dentists, who will admit, you know, every a lot of dentists will admit that they’re a micromanager. I do not. And that’s one problem with not micromanaging is, you know, like, you could be like, what, what are the 10 questions that your office may address? I don’t know. It’s just seemed like a good fit. And, you know, and I looked it over and I was like, yep, do what do you think?

Regan 19:29
That’s typical above the line talk right there. That’s big picture vision. Yep. Yes.

Dr. Chad Johnson 19:34
I mean, that’s a nice way to put it, but you know, micromanagers as a derogatory, you know, they’re gonna hear that and go, That’s so stupid. Why does that guy but it’s like, just hear me out. You know, like, it’s just, it’s my personality. And so it works well for me, if you want to know and have a written discourse on on all 10 questions that were asked or whatever, whatever the answer is, I haven’t done that in the wall on time. Well,

Regan 19:59
I have I do I hire so and I’ve hired for not 17 years, but I’ve hired for long well, maybe I’ve heard for a long time. And and I’ll tell you, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make it easier for both candidate and company because I think it’s it’s an investment of time on on everybody’s behalf. So my I mean, my quick tip is, I think I think you’re spot on, I think asking questions that are core values related is essential. And you must do that so that you can have a great understanding once the skill set is aside, because you can train so much in that, in that particular realm. I like to put the science with it, have the test if possible. As a tool, I think that’s a great way to kind of check and balance in addition to references and kind of see what their potential is, what their their proclivities will be, where they’re going to end up swinging one way or another, I think that those two things together are, are very helpful, you know, what it sounds to me like, what you’re saying is you want, you want someone that’s invested in the outcome of the practice, yeah, and you are looking for someone that goes beyond the nine to five punching and punching out. So you want to make sure that they are aligned with you in such a way that they can be authentic. And what you don’t want is someone who shows up to do the job, who leaves and has a completely different way of approaching the world. And that gets to internal marketing as well, because your team is still your business card as well. So if your team is not aligned with you, like they fake aligned, and then they go off and then they trash you you don’t nobody wants that. Nobody wants that. But and that’s you know, I think the community size can vary people people will know pretty quickly whether or not someone’s being authentic or not. But I think I think you asking about the core values, and I think pairing it with a with a Strengths test to be able to see that checking the references I think that’s about the extent of what you can do and asking pattern interrupting questions that are HR compliant that give you that third level of why do 100% agree on on being able to shed some of the surface tendencies of putting on my best suit and my best foot forward to impress you and instead really getting down to below the surface so that you can get a picture and a glimpse of who that person really is. Yep. I like that’s what you’re at saying yeah, that’s

Dr. Chad Johnson 22:23
good synergy good synopsis and and good understanding of each other and core values matter making sure that in the interview that those line up not only business, you’d like your business but personally and then you know going into some of the science stuff that might help give you some objectives a standards on on finding that person. Yeah. And whether you know, they’re they’re the right fit for you.

Regan 22:52
And you know what I would also do okay, my bonus tip for this I would test out the the Rockstar team members that you love. So pick you know pick your personality profile they like might be disc, it might be Clifton Strengths Finder, it might be predictive index, there’s tons you can go find one play with it, doctors have fun, figure out which one kind of speaks to you, I would go directly to the team that you love and test them and see what competencies show up. And that’ll give you an idea for when you’re scaling. And when you’re bringing on another hygienist when you’re bringing on another front desk team member, you can you can know what you’ll be kind of on the lookout for in that role.

Dr. Chad Johnson 23:29
Do you know something else I do is I either for the second interview or whatever if it’s a hygienist for example, I’ll have my four hygienists go to lunch with them. And then they get to decide. I don’t need to really decide so much. And of course I have the final say, but if they come back and 5050 they’re like, We love her and then the other two say,

Regan 23:52
whoo. Sure,

Dr. Chad Johnson 23:55
right. She didn’t she left without paying or something like that. Yeah,

Regan 23:59
I don’t know. Whatever it is, whatever. I’m just whatever the indicators are. No, I like it. I like that. I think that’s the that’s a really great and appropriate venue for being able to have somebody let their guard down a little bit just so that you can both share with each other and it gives the candidate time to see the team dynamic as well because it could be on the flip side the same for them they could go they could walk away from that that luncheon and say whoa, too many red flags about these team members. Or vice versa. I think that’s a great idea.

Dr. Chad Johnson 24:29
Yep. So yeah, along your lines was my bonus. It’s like starting to become this PSs repost post postscript.

Regan 24:37
We have a lot of post scripts here.

Dr. Chad Johnson 24:39
I know. So sorry. But yeah, you know what, it’s because you had a good point. And I was just like, Man that yeah, we do that, you know, go to lunch and, and I don’t choose, you know, like if it’s the assistants or the admin or the hygienist or whatever. I have them come on board. Even when I’ve had associates and stuff. I have my existing associates go with them and say what do you think? Are they good fit? Based on what we’re about, do you feel like they’re what we’re about? Yeah,

Regan 25:04
I think that sums it up.

Dr. Chad Johnson 25:06
Thanks for listening. We’ll we’ll discuss more at a later podcast.

Regan 25:11
We’ll see you soon. Thank you for listening to another episode of everyday practices podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you, and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share? Or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at podcast at productive And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from productive dentist Academy at productive See you next week.

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