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  1. Engage in social conversation to make the job applicant feel at ease and to observe their ability to engage in social conversation. Are they too “serious” or nervous to do so? If so, they’ll likely 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, concentrating mainly on the positive?
  3. Go over the concept of an employee producing a result. For example, the results you want from a Scheduling Coordinator 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 front desk job, role play something like greeting a new patient or collecting money.

Attitude is everything. 

The main thing you’re looking for is their attitude and communication skills. Does their attitude stay interested and enthusiastic and do they talk about positive things, laugh when appropriate, etc.

Before you hire anyone be sure to check their references. When checking, just ask if the employee did in fact produce the results you were told in the interview and was the employee dependable.

I also recommend basic math testing and a background check for anyone at the front desk handling money, insurance, etc.

Some people interview well but are disasters as employees. Ultimately, even if they pass your initial hiring protocol, the only real way to know if they are going to work out is to hire the person and watch them in action.

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