Reference Checks – Do’s and Don’ts When Hiring for Your Dental Practice
By: Greig Davis CPA CVA MST – Dental CPA Nashville, Tennessee
Interviews can tell you a lot about people but reference checks and credit checks (for people that handle money) are a must! Most owner dentists/employers check references, but few check credit reports on people that handle money. As a Dental CPA for over 25 year, it is my opinion that is a huge mistake. Over 50% of dental practices experience an embezzlement at some point. The last thing you want is someone handling money that has bad credit and is in a bad financial position.
It all starts with placing the ad for help wanted. Make sure you are asking for what you expect to hear in an interview and from references. This will save time up-front. Some people will apply for positions they aren’t qualified for and in the beginning of the interview process you should review with the candidate what the job position entails and be up front about expectations and exceptions. Don’t waste your time just to be polite, your job posting should be clear.
Be sure you are asking questions about the employee and the employee’s experience. Many employers spend too much time talking about themselves and what they have to offer before they even hear what the candidate has to say. Don’t lead the candidate, try to find out more about them first.
Be sure to involve the team lead or doctor that the employee is going to report to. But be sure it’s not a “pass the buck” process. Be sure everyone knows what questions will be asked and what questions not to ask. Keep to business related questions, this will help keep you out of trouble. If you are unsure of what questions you cannot ask, hire a certified HR specialist. Many payroll companies provide this service and are very good at it.
Be prepared for your reference checks. Have basic questions outlined and know what information you need such as:
- What were the employees primary responsibilities?
- What were their best skills?
- What additional training would they benefit from?
- What were their weakness?
- Would you rehire them?
- What was their start date?
- What was the last day they worked for you?
- Did they work well with other employees?
- Could they advance if they had the opportunity?
- Where they always on time for morning huddles?
- Did they give proper notice when they left?
- Did patients like them?
- Did they dress professionally or as required?
Pick up the phone! It’s quick and easy to email people but most people don’t like putting this type of information in writing. Document your call. Listen very carefully to what the references don’t say and how they say what they saying. This can be a very big clue as to an employee’s real performance. Start with references the candidate has provided and then do a little detective work. The dental industry is very small and vendors and other employees can also add insight into an employee’s qualifications and attitude. But don’t just take the word from one of your current employees (or friend of the candidate). They may say “I worked with them at a prior job and they were great….”
Get expert help if you are not skilled in the interview process or are unsure what to do. Dental ROI Associates PC – Dental CPA’s can help you with the interview process. We regularly screen applicants for our clients. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
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Greig Davis CPA CVA MST – Dental CPA
Dental ROI Associates – Dental CPA’s
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