November 15, 2018

3 Common Hiring Mistakes Stopping Your Team From Winning

Most practices have several team members working together to move the production needle. From the front desk to the back office, every person has a key role in achieving the objectives. If you want to build a thriving practice, you have to build a winning team. It all starts with your hiring process. Let’s take a look at the 3 most common mistakes practices make that prevent their team from winning and the practice from thriving.

What is the Definition of a Winning Team?

Well, in my experience, a winning team is:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Passionate
  • Solution-seeking
  • High-performing
  • Self-motivated
  • Loyal
  • Optimistic
  • Team-oriented
  • Possesses an ownership attitude
  • Committed to personal & professional growth

Of course, I know what you’re thinking—that’s pie in the sky and entirely impossible to have! I say, these are qualities that are not only realistic, but they are also the qualities, the attitude, and the team you can absolutely build and must build to achieve a thriving practice.

A thriving practice starts with building a winning team, which begins with the hiring process. So, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest mistakes most practices make in the hiring process.

The 3 Most Common Hiring Mistakes

In my experience of working with teams, I have witnessed many challenges offices are facing in the area of hiring. Here are the 3 common mistakes that I see:

  1. Hiring to “Plug Holes” - this involves hiring someone (anyone) on the spot just to fill the opening. And what the doctor is telling him/herself is, “we can always look for someone better once we have someone in place.” Which by the way, never happens.
  2. The Doctor is Managing the Process - this is not only unproductive, it drains the doctor of valuable energy. I believe the doctor should focus solely on patient care and doing what he/she does best.
  3. Hiring Someone Who Doesn’t Fit the Mold - Hiring based on skill set and experience rather than attitude and congruence, can destroy your company culture.

When these mistakes are a habit in the hiring process, it leads to a history of disruptive and expensive turnover, over and over again.

The True Cost of Employee Turnover

The actual cost of employee turnover seems to be a mystery in dentistry as well as in most industries, for that matter. There is certainly no budget allotted for it and while there are some hard costs that can be identified, the overall cost remains hidden.

The reality is: employee turnover has a broad impact on the practice!

Turnover leads to the remaining team members being overworked as well as loss of engagement from others, overall lower productivity, an increase in errors, and missed opportunities. Not to mention, a decline in cultural and team morale as well as recruiting and training costs. While the calculation to determine the actual cost may seem daunting, I think we would all agree that costs are high.

The Hiring Formula for Success

According to Mark Murphy, author of Hiring for Attitude and the CEO of Leadership IQ, of the 20,000 new hires he tracked, 46% of them failed within the first 18 months.

He found that 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for lack of skill. He concluded that those who failed, lacked motivation and temperament, scored low on the emotional intelligence scale, and were considered uncoachable.

Interesting, but not at all surprising.

Have you seen this within your own practice or perhaps that of a colleague? Personally, I’ve seen it in our industry with many clients over the years. Also, I’ve seen those same offices make a complete turnaround by simply implementing a hiring formula for success.

So, how do you make the shift and create something new, something exciting and begin the process of building your winning team? Well, let’s take a look . . .

A Closer Look at the 3 Common Hiring Mistakes:

1. Hiring to “Plug Holes”

Instead of seeking potential candidates only when a role needs to be filled, take a proactive approach by actively seeking high-performing individuals to join your growing team. This involves networking and, as a friend refers to it, ‘knowing who’s who in the zoo.” Be active in the community, introduce yourself to others, get to know who is serving you when you’re in a restaurant, at the juice bar or in the gym. Do others know who you are and do they know about your team? Have you built a reputation that others know you and want to do business with you as well as be a part of an exciting team of positive and friendly people?

You can shift from the desperation of “plugging holes” to having an abundant pool of incredible potential candidates from which you can build a winning team. Not to mention, new patients! You can take the lead and enroll your entire team to participate and have fun. It’s an empowering place from which you can make a huge shift.

2. The Doctor is Managing the Process

Okay, I cannot express it often or clearly enough: doctors need to focus all their energy on patient care. You should be performing the procedures you do best and be engaged in what you love most. All other tasks need to be delegated. The hiring process is no different and should absolutely be delegated to the HR or administrative manager of the practice.

The doctor should be brought in only once the application and interviewing process is complete and the decision for hire is being weighed from the selected 2 or 3 top candidates.

3. Hiring Someone Who Doesn’t Fit the Mold

Look, I know an attractive resume with a list of impressive skills and experience can tempt even the most discerning to hire on the spot. However, keep in mind, a resume is the candidates marketing tool. It’s essentially their “sales pitch” and reveals nothing about their personality, attitude and communication skills. Surely, it reveals nothing about whether or not they are coachable, fit with your practice culture or your winning team members. Skills can be trained and experience comes in time. However, personality and attitude cannot be trained.

A successful hiring process involves a series of strategic steps in identifying those essential traits in an individual. It should be taken seriously and carried out precisely.

How to Build a Winning Team

In my next article, How to Build a Winning Team, we will take a deep-dive into the steps of a successful hiring process. Be sure to subscribe to receive it straight to your inbox!

In the meantime, I will leave you with this -- the number one place to start is with you. You must believe it is possible to attract and build the winning team of your dreams. Write out your definition of a winning team and hold a solid vision of what it will take to create that. I promise you, it is more than pie in the sky, it is real.

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money.But, if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you
with blood and sweat and tears.” -Simon Sinek

About the Author

Christine Brooke Headshot

Christine Brooke is a dental hygiene coach and founder of Hygiene by Design. Christine is committed to empowering dental teams to extraordinary performance and creating a life and practice you design. Get a complimentary 45-minute Discovery Session to identify and game plan areas of growth for your practice. Reach out by phone or email: 866.809.4890 or

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