Lesley Turner, looks at tips you can use when you’re interviewing candidates for your vacant position in practice …
The process of recruiting a new staff member can be difficult. With things getting busier as the demand for private dentistry increases, practice managers and principals have less time on their hands, so having to go through a recruitment process isn’t always a welcome added extra.
Over recent months we have given out tips and advice on recruitment including how to get the word out about vacancies, what to look for in the ideal team player and now, here are a few pointers on how to conduct good job interviews…
Asking the right questions
A lot of people associate job interviews with the same questions, so they prepare to be asked things such as, ‘tell us a bit about your background’, ‘how could you improve the company’ and so on.
However, to make yourself stand out as an employer and to discover more about the candidate sitting in front of you, you may want to consider asking some different questions.
Think about asking the interviewee about what the most important part of their career has been, or what aspects of their job they enjoy most. You can also ask them what sort of things make them enthusiastic, or how their friends would describe their personality. What these questions will do, unlike the usual questions, is stimulate a conversation and this is what you want.
How many job interviews have you been in where it is just question after question and it is almost too structured? By asking these alternative questions, the conversation flows and you can strike up a rapport with the interviewee and get more of gauge of what they are like as a person.
Let them talk
Someone once told me about a technique that can be used in job interviews, whereby most of the talking is done by the interviewee, rather than a host of questions coming from the interviewer.
The person who gave me this advice said that in a previous job, they would have to do about 17 interviews a week for a recruitment agency asking the same questions every time and it became a bit monotonous.
So, they learned that, to get better quality answers from interviews, they would ask a couple of questions and then just keep quiet for the rest of the allotted time. So, if there was a 30-minute interview slot, for 27 minutes they would ask the candidate to talk about themselves and talk for just three minutes themselves.
This technique puts the interviewee on the spot. However, what you will find out is how hungry they are, how much desire they have for the job and if they are good at communicating and striking up a relationship.
If someone talks for five minutes and then struggles to fill any more time than that, then maybe they aren’t the right candidate for your job.
Often you can gauge that from a CV if a candidate has a drive to get on. If they have achievements on there and have taken part in activities outside of work, then you will be able to tell who is driven and hungry, and who isn’t.
So, once you’ve chosen those people at the application stage, then you will invite them in for interview. When you do that, it is important to explore that hunger even further. Probe them on their achievements, why they decided to do different things and what was driving them?
‘How did their achievement make them feel?’ is another key question to ask and again, it will help you separate who is more keen than others, and who will fit better into your practice.
Also, explore their skills to make sure they have ample experience in the things you will need them to do in that role. You don’t want a situation where, months down the line someone working on reception says: “Well, I’m not very good with spreadsheets.” The interview is the time to go through their skills and make sure they not only have that skill, but also experience in using them.
Hopefully, these few hints and tips will help make the process easier for you next time you have to interview candidates for any vacancies at your practice.