Tips on What to do Before You Hire [Part 1]

by Lori Garland Parker
jigsaw puzzle MC900434854The ability to attract and retain talented employees is the most reliable predictor of overall excellence in business.  Observation in orthodontic offices has shown that two weeks isn’t enough to properly find, hire and fully train a new employee in today’s high quality orthodontic office.  When a valued employee gives notice, many orthodontists admit to "hiring by fire," hoping that this new person will magically work out perfectly in a very short period of time. Panic hiring frequently results in a poor choice, causing frustration and chaos within the team. Even if they were lucky enough to hire the right person, many new employees quit due to lack of quality training, not feeling like “one of the team”, or lack of feedback on job performance. How can a practice prepare to hire wisely and integrate a new team member properly and keep them a motivated member of the team?

Commonly, we think of effective hiring as the obvious first step. However, to hire the right person, you need to be the right person to attract the right people to your team. Why would people be proud to work for you? Are you a motivating leader? Do you provide high quality new employee training and ongoing continuing education? Do you provide timely feedback on the work your employees are doing? Do you sincerely appreciate every person that works for you? Is your current team honored to be working in your practice?

You can utilize the most scientific approaches available to determine how to hire, however an ideal employee is only as good as the rest of the team. If the right employee joins an energetic, successful, productive team, there is a high likelihood this person will succeed. However, if this individual finds a low motivated, unhappy team, the chance of successful long term employment is low.

Another consideration when hiring is the alignment of values. It is important to recognize and clarify your critical work values, demonstrate your commitment to those values then hire those with similar values. Can you clearly articulate what each value means and what behaviors demonstrate those values? Do your key personnel also articulate these behaviors? Are performance discussions and reward programs designed with your values in mind in addition to the tasks on their job description? For example, one orthodontist may highly value how fast an employee can complete their work; another orthodontist may place a higher value on a warm interaction with patients and parents with speed being of secondary importance.

There are many articles referencing the top values employers look for in employees. Examples include:

  • Strong Work Ethic

  • Dependability/ Responsibility

  • Adaptability

  • Honesty and Integrity

  • Self – Motivated

  • Self Confident

  • Positive Attitude

  • Professionalism

  • Loyalty

  • Team Spirit

What is on your list?

About the Author

Lori Garland ParkerLori Garland Parker is a Orthodontic Clinical Consultant, working with teams to maximize their talents to achieve clinical efficiency and effectiveness, develop systems for continuity of care, and enhance communication skills with patients and parents.  She has developed several tools to promote highly skilled teams including a customizable clinical training and procedures manual, a performance review system and clinical coordinator and  train the trainer programs.  Lori can be reached at: (805) 552-9512 or

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