When recruiting for a new position within the practice, finding the right candidate can be just as much about the process you follow as the applicants who apply. In order to find your next potential employee, who fits the job description and ethos of the practice, it is crucial that the interview goes well.
As an employer there are certain questions that can be asked and avoided to ensure the interview process, at your end at least, goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.
The immediate questions that whittle down the numbers and highlight those with the most potential are about the clinical abilities the candidate possesses, what their current position is and how this puts them in good stead for your vacancy.
Once you know what their past employment, experience and qualifications are, it opens up the floor to find out more about their future plans and aspirations. Do they want to specialise? Are they studying for any additional qualifications or plan to in the foreseeable future? Ultimately these decisions could affect the time spent in the role and the availability of the candidate, so what might be good for them may not be good for you or the practice.
It’s at this point that you are likely to find out just how flexible and reliable they really are. You need to feel assured that they can adapt to any alterations that the practice may go through – if they aren’t versatile where you need them to be, the applicant probably isn’t the one for the job.
Other useful areas to ask questions on include current and previous UDA targets – if they have achieved them, barriers and reasons behind non-completion – as well as specific treatments or procedures they aren’t keen on performing or inexperienced at and any particular areas where they excel. By looking at these aspects of their career and abilities, it offers you a chance to gauge how they might fit into the practice or fill a much-needed role.
Naturally, you are relying on the honesty and integrity of the applicants to answer truthfully and accurately, and when you start to delve into topics surrounding complaints or malpractice, they may not tell the full story. If the candidate does choose to withhold information on a complaint that has been made against them or fails to admit to the severity of it, there is no way of getting an accurate picture unless the case is closed and made public by the General Dental Council. What I would advise is always check published cases just in case and ask for a detailed reference from the current/previous employer.
What to avoid
When it comes to the importance of equality, diversity and discrimination laws, it goes without saying that diligently remaining politically correct throughout the interview process is absolutely critical if you are to maintain the reputation of your practice. Remember, applicants are interviewing you as well as vice versa. All it takes is one badly conducted interview and one unhappy interviewee for word to spread.
Another tip would be to avoid any questions that pry into their private life or could be misconstrued in any way. Instead use open-ended questions that allow the candidate to elaborate about themselves freely without any suggestion. Examples of questions to avoid include:
• Where are you from?
• Do you have children?
• Are you married?
• How old are you?
What to look for
Ultimately you can ask a thousand questions and have a perfect response, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If a candidate arrives late without informing you or going through the right channels it doesn’t bode well. Even basics like presentation and choice of outfit can make an impression, all before the interview has even begun.
Your role as an employer
Though the main aim is to find a suitable candidate, the interview process is also an opportunity for you as a prospective employer to make the position and practice sound as attractive as possible. If your role isn’t the only one the applicant has applied for and they have to decide between several job offers, your demeanour and interview technique could be the deciding factor for them.
So talk about future plans, your mission statement, practice history and what it would mean to be an employee at your practice. You have just one short interview to narrow down your candidate base, so why not make the most of it?
Luke Arnold is recruitment manager at Dental Elite. Luke has more than 10 years’ experience working in the recruitment sector, and has developed his skills specifically within the dental industry since joining the team at Dental Elite in 2011. He is currently the recruitment manager for the company, where his chief responsibility is to find the job vacancies dental professionals need to achieve their goals and truly excel.
Tel: 01788 545 900 www.dentalelite.co.uk