team members

What do you look for in a candidate when you are hiring for team members?

That can be a difficult question to answer in a few words. There are many qualities that come into play when assessing candidates as potential dental team members: Are they efficient, confident, positive, and dedicated? The list goes on. In fact, I have asked this of many dentists in the past - giving them a list of descriptions and asking them to pick the top three qualities they look for in team members.

What I have found is that three qualities seem to be prized the most: intelligence or education, compassion and likeability. In other words, do they know their stuff? Do they have what it takes to work in a patient-centered environment? Will they be able to get along with me and the rest of the team members?

Those are all important indicators, but if you ask me, my top three would be a little different.

What to look for in dental team members

Are they passionate? Do I get a sense of their honest desire to be a part of what dentistry can be about, and are they excited about their role in it? Does this seem like someone who commits fully to something they believe in?

Are they trainable/adaptable? Can I shape them with the skills and responsibilities I want them to take on without them being attached to past roles or affected by their ego? When I introduce new strategies in the practice, can I count on this person’s enthusiastic support?

Are they driven? Do they have a natural motor that keeps them moving forward? If they do, that means I don’t have to keep explaining the why behind everything. They have the natural intuition and self-discipline to achieve objectives that I set for them.

These are the three qualities I look for above all others in team members. Almost everything else is either something that can be taught or something that can never be taught. If I identify these three qualities in candidates, I know I will have team members that are results-oriented and easy to motivate. And as long as I keep showing them their results,giving them progressive goals and supporting them in achieving those goals – they will always be focused on the best interests of the practice and patients.

(Click this link to read more dental practice management articles by Imtiaz Manji.)


Commenter's Profile Image Dee Dee Meevasin
January 20th, 2015
It's uncanny Imtiaz how we are so in sync with your posts. Last week we started looking for a new team member and actually updated our interview questions. When you talk about passion and drive, one of the questions we added to the interview was in fact "What are you passionate about?" The follow up question after that is, "How does this position help you get to what you really want to be doing?" The responses from these questions are quite telling. A couple other questions that we get great insight from are: - If you were having a dinner party and could invite 3 famous people, who would they be? - Where DON'T you want to be in 5 years? - At this point, what's more important: pay or career satisfaction?
Commenter's Profile Image Wayne Kerr
January 20th, 2015
I've always recommended that dentists "hire for attitude," and "train for competence!" Thanks for the great advice!