Attracting & Hiring A-Players


A Win-Win Strategy for Recruitment Success

The most important task your office will ever undertake is the hiring of great team members to join you in growing your practice and serving your patients. Hiring new team members is an exciting opportunity but it also often comes with big challenges; especially if you are wanting to attract the A-Players everyone wants.

Finding great talent in todays marketplace is what everybody wants. But the process of recruitment can often leave people feeling frustrated and exhausted causing many potentially good employers to begin to believe that there is a shortage of good talent out there. For some employers this limiting belief can be quite strong and self-limiting. I recently met a practice owner and manager who were both convinced that there are no “A-Player” dental assistants in their city. “Your entire city?”, I asked. “Yes,” they proclaimed. Meanwhile, the practice just down the street from theirs was also looking to hire a dental assistant; yet they attracted several highly talented applicants from which to choose. The question is why? Or more specifically, how?

Experiencing these perceived scarcity challenges often drives employers to compromise their team development needs by settling on hiring applicants they like; but whom are not fully suited for role, the needs of the practice or the dynamics of team. These recruitment blunders can cost you years of frustration and financial hardship by having to constantly manage their less than ideal performance while paying daily for their underachievement’s. Only to part ways in the end, putting you right back where you started in the first place; having to find someone new all over again.

This is why taking a more strategic approach to the recruitment process is essential. In todays saturated employment market and diverse talent pool; taking a deeper approach to hiring is a must if you wish to attract and build that unstoppable championship team everyone dreams of. When initiating steps to attract high achievers to your practice; its important to realize early on in the process that A-Players are seeking much more than a job or place to work for an income. They are also seeking a great place to grow personally and professionally while being able to feel that they are valued and contributing in some meaningful way to their new environment. In light of this; the reality today is that you are more often than not competing with other potential good employers for a high achiever’s employment interests. Even when you find that perfect candidate, chances are you’re not the first. There are usually other practices out there that are concurrently reaching out and interviewing the same candidates as you. Unless you are clear on conveying early on how your practice can fulfill the highest professional interests of these great candidates you could find it difficult to cut through the noise to catch the attention and commitment of these great applicants.

I’ve heard so many complaints about hiring frustrations such as people not showing up for interviews. People committing to your practice then suddenly turning around and taking last minute positions elsewhere. Finding out that they are unqualified to do the job, lack of long-term commitment or unable to fit in to the culture of the existing team dynamic. Why do these things occur? Why can’t we hire that 7th one first? The best one first? What if there were a way to hone our recruitment skills so we can filter out the unsuitable relationships early on in the process allowing us to attract mainly “A-Players” everybody wants? The good news is there is a better way. It requires a shift away from the traditional one-sided approach to recruitment that is conducted by most employers/office managers. Tapping into the best talent out there; strategically begins by making your practice a more attractive and appealing place to be in the eyes of the high performers you seek to hire. You must conduct the hiring process with an entirely different outlook on the position you are looking to fill and employee you are seeking to hire. This change must firstly occur within your own consciousness to fully understand the value of your offering and deepest desires of the applicant. As the saying goes, “Your eyes cannot see what your mind has not taught you to recognize…when you change the way, you look at things; the things you look at change” … and then so can your underlying approach to the entire recruitment process.

It’s important for employers to realize that today our workforce has evolved starkly away from this traditionalist-era mindset.

Looking at this more closely; lets consider how today’s modern employee has evolved away from the days gone by? Back in the day people were hired and worked for the BOSS. They generally felt lucky to be chosen and lucky have a job and steady income. They entered the work force after school and quite often took a less than ideal job which they sometimes held until retirement. This is a stark difference from today where team members are much more opportunity oriented and much more likely to change their employment as well as their careers multiple times within the same decade or less. In the old days people settled for jobs based on what they could get and were much more willing to sacrifice professional fulfillment for the financial security of having a steady paycheque.

Its important for employers to realize that today our workforce has evolved starkly away from this traditionalist-era mindset. This is where your opportunity for a more effective recruitment process lies. If your practice wants to attract “A Players” you must begin to view it as a “Mutual Attraction Process”. A win-win mutual opportunity for both parties involved. Which means that the screening process should no longer be conducted as a one-sided interview where interested candidates have to prove themselves by responding well to interview questions. Today the most effective practices who are seeking the best talent will conduct a more a more collaborative two-way interview where both applicant & employer are each creating value for what they have to offer to the other; while concurrently exploring for mutual synergies that will fulfill each other’s professional and practice development goals. Simply put; “A PLAYERS” are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Being aware of this is a powerful step towards attracting the top talent that wants what you have and vice versa.

Today; great team players want more than just good pay or great hours. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember that the best most qualified and most talented applicants are interviewing your practice and your team as much as your practice is interviewing them. Knowing what these high performers are looking for and what they want in order to thrive and feel fulfilled is an empowering step to improving your overall results. Its up to employers to recognize their deepest desires and to strive to create an environment that will fulfill the passions of the “A” players everyone wants to hire. If you want to attract “A” players you need to be prepared to make your practice an exciting desirable place to be. One that is filled with opportunity for the passionate career minded growth-oriented potential employee. You must focus your efforts on connecting with the applicants while conveying your most desirable practice attributes.
These power team members a seeking much more than a mere job. They want to feel challenged and stimulated with meaningful work that makes them feel their life has significance and that their contribution is making a difference in the lives of the people they serve. They want to have a valued voice in the direction and growth of the office. They want the freedom to use their strengths and creativity with minimal micromanagement. Most of all they want to feel appreciated and want to feel that they are part of a practice that is growing and allowing them to thrive professionally.

The top candidates can afford to be selective; and they are! They will often have multiple offers to choose from and are likely to accept the most fulfilling most attractive and most competitive option.

This is achieved by attending courses together, having regular team meetings and by developing a shared leadership culture where the practice becomes fertile soil for self lead team players who are creatively engaged in the service, growth and retention of each patient.

Below is an ad similar to the one that was written by the office that recently hired that assistant, while the practice down the street was concurrently struggling to find anyone close to suitable:

Exciting career opportunity is waiting for you! Are you passionate about your personal growth and about contributing to the growth of your practice? Are you wanting to feel that excitement and passion that says I love what I do and who I do it with and the people we serve? Our Growing practice is seeking a highly motivated dental assistant who loves dentistry and enjoys people. If you are ready to fall in love with your professional career all over again come interview us for an exciting opportunity to join our championship team and help us move to the next level. Must poses strong leadership and organizational skills and must enjoy contributing/working in a supportive caring team-based culture. We provide an environment for you to use your voice, your strengths and your creativity. We look forward to meeting you and exploring our mutual synergies.

Even if your practice is not at this level, as long as you are headed that way and want to find people to join your growth and development movement, just say so in the ad. That is very exciting and attractive to people that want to grow and contribute. Place your ad on all the social media platforms and recruitment platforms available in your area and you will be surprised how many “A-Player” high achievers there are who are looking for you or in many cases who are working in environments where they feel completely stagnant and underutilized. They would love the opportunity to join a growing team that has greater purpose opportunity and direction and that wants to benefit from their superior talents.

The following is a good strategy to take when seeking high achievers, whom are most likely receiving several concurrent job offers. I would respectfully remind you that the demand for these highly motivated and qualified workers is high. The top candidates can afford to be selective; and they are! They will often have multiple offers to choose from and are likely to accept the most fulfilling most attractive and most competitive option. This is where employers must go through the selection and screening process with a careful sense attraction and urgency. You might put a lot of time into moving a candidate through your recruiting pipeline, only to find they’ve accepted a position elsewhere. When candidates receive several offers at once, it can be easy to lose good talent to another great hiring team. If your top candidate chooses another job, you might need to go back to previously declined candidates. Those individuals have likely moved onto other opportunities as well, so you might need to start the process over. The solution is to stand out from the competition right from the onset and focus on creating an attractive good-candidate experience. Start with writing an interesting and exciting ad (job description). As long as its accurate; be sure to note the great team, great quality care, modern facility, professional growth opportunity, and any other working perks or benefits they will experience. Be clear about the necessary skills and job duties and hours. Listen to your candidates throughout the recruiting process and negotiate a fair wage based on the potential value their skills and contribution will bring. If unsure of their value you can agree to institute a performance observation period with preestablished expectations during which time it will be up the them to perform and show their full value and impact on the practice. When it comes to a fair wage its important to remember that in life you get what you pay for. Which means that you have one of two choices; hire high achievers and pay them well or hire low achievers and pay them poorly then pay (much more) daily for their under achievements. If you extend an offer, be enthusiastic and explain the next steps. Once hired you must on-board them into the team and into the practice culture. Equip them with everything they need to do their job well; then as needed TRAIN, EMPOWER and RELEASE them to do what their good at.

Building an unstoppable team is a skill that starts with making your practice an attractive place to be. Then inviting new talent to join you in making it more and more attractive while you grow. Practices that are hiring and wanting to grow must remember the adage: “You don’t grow a business, you grow the people within your business, then together you can take your business anywhere”. This is achieved by involving the everyone in goal setting and in the tracking and celebration team achievements. That’s when the magic happens. That’s when a group of highly skilled individuals becomes a high performing team that achieves collective results. This spirit of “WE” is quite empowering because it will ignite the chemistry of your championship team which is very attractive and desirable to the “A” players you seek as you grow your practice. The reality is “A-Players” Want to Find “YOU” as Much as “YOU” Want to Find Them.

Published in Oral Health Magazine • January 2019 • Practice Management