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Hiring Rock Star Employees: The Power of a First Impressions

In the last installment of this series, I recommended that you give equal weight to the first impression of a candidate by your current staff.

Now that your staff has had a chance to weigh in, it’s time to consider your first impression of the candidate.

At this point, I suggest that you trust whatever your gut tells you – any initial like or dislike.

Much of the information you gain during an interview is based on nonverbal communication: posture, eye contact, facial expressions etc. However, it is wise to mix in some calculated judgments.

What does your initial glance tell you?

Take a good look at your potential new hire. Is he or she put together well? Or are you dealing with someone who just rolled out of bed?

Do they appear to take good care of clothes and other belongings? Would he or she match the culture of YOUR office?

Also, pay attention to the details of how he or she interacts with you in the first few moments being in the room together.

Does the candidate make appropriate eye contact and offer a warm smile?

What immediate thoughts do you have about his or her personality?

First impressions may not always be 100% accurate, but they do provide useful information to round out the total picture of the candidate later on, when you are weighing your hiring options.

Remember that this person is going to represent you and your office, so make sure you aren’t trying to just make the person “fit” even though your gut feeling is that they don’t.

Too often offices wait too long to hire someone or they get so discouraged with the candidates that they lower their expectations and hire the wrong person, even though they knew at this point that this person wasn’t a fit.

Now, with a clear head, honestly evaluate the fit.

The last step in hiring a rock star employee is to discern whether this person is truly a great fit for your office. It’s easier said than done, though.

After taking the time for multiple phone and face-to-face interviews, you’re probably eager to end the hiring process and seal the deal by making an offer. But don’t jump the gun! It’s not enough to like the candidate personally. Think honestly about whether this person is truly who you need on your team.

Does she or he have the skills and personality to serve your team and your patients effectively? If you hesitate, that’s a sign that you need to move on and keep looking. Forcing a round peg into a square hole will only hurt everyone involved—your team, your patients and even the job candidate!

When a candidate is a great fit, it will be obvious.

Here’s how you’ll know:

  • When you think about this person joining your team, you feel excitement and relief—no ambiguity.
  • You look forward to the candidate’s first day at the office and you have 100% confidence that this person will be up to speed within a short time.
  • Your response to “Should we hire this person?” isn’t probably or maybe, it’s DEFINITELY YES.

That’s when you know that you’ve found the rock star employee you’re looking for. Congratulations!

Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson, BS, MS, FAADOM is the founder and driving force behind Front Office Rocks, and the leading provider of on-demand virtual training and resources for dental practices.