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Dental Consultant Hiring Interview Tips
The trick is to be able recognize fairly quickly you made an error and cut your losses if you do get fooled. Don't feel bad if it happens as it has happened to nearly everyone more often than we would like.
Also never overpay. Whatever you do don't blow out your payroll percent with a high paying "free agent". It rarely works out in sports let alone in the management of dental practices.
1) Engage in social conversation to make the job candidate feel at ease and to observe their ability to small talk. Are they too serious or too nervous? If so, they are probably going to be the same with patients.
2) Ask them about their job history. What did they like most about their last job? What did they like the least? Why? Get them to give you specifics about both to see if they will complain or criticize their previous employer or are they complimentary of their previous employer and concentrate on the positive?
3) Go over the concept of an employee producing a result. For example the results of an dental appointment book secretary are patients arrived on time for the proper amount of time; not just a name in the appointment book. Then ask them what results they produced on their previous job(s). You may have to help them out on being specific by guiding them but not putting words in their mouth. One of the things you're looking for is their attitude when they finally get the idea of producing a result and when they look at whether they've ever produced results or not. If their attitude worsens you may be looking at a nonproductive individual which gives you your answer. If their attitude improves and they get more enthusiastic you may have a winner.
4) Find out what they think about dentistry. Have they been good about their own dental health? It's amazing to see how many people applying for a job at a dental office will tell you they "try to avoid going as much as possible" or some such thing. Ask them if they think a person should spend thousands of dollars to have a healthy mouth and nice smile? Could they ask somebody to pay $5,000 in full today to start their treatment? Be very direct when you ask this question to see if they flinch or suppress their shock or disagreement even though they may be saying "no problem".
5) Put them on the spot by doing some instant role playing to see how they handle it. It's OK if they get nervous or fumble around with this part because it's a tough thing to do when you're not prepared. The ones that do it, don't object or don’t get "totally flustered" are good candidates. If it's a dental receptionist, role play something like greeting a new patient and asking them to fill out the medical history or collecting money from a patient at the front desk or calming a patient down that's a "fear patient".
6) Finally, tell them that you emphasize training, having written policies (I hope you do!) to correct staff when they make a mistake and that you are “result” oriented and expect staff to be accountable for their areas.
The main thing you're looking for is their ATTITUDE and COMMUNICATION ability. In other words does their attitude stay interested and enthusiastic and do they talk about positive things, laugh when appropriate and react positively to the concept of written policies, getting results and accountability. Attitude is everything.
Just remember you still won't know what you really have until you see them in action.
Dental Practice Analysis
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
New Patient Phone Call
New Patient Experience and Patient Education
Daily and Weekly Checklists
General Policy Manual
What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner. Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.
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