In 2008, based on his experience of having to fill key positions in his previous businesses, CEDR CEO Paul Edwards began teaching the maxim “Always be hiring.” He says:
“I was standing on stage giving a talk about hiring and I wanted to share an instance where I hired someone, not because of the ad I ran for the position, but because I was paying attention to what was going on around me in a Kinkos. As a result, I hired one of the best employees I could have imagined. My gain was Kinko’s loss! And then I heard the words come out of my mouth, I learned to always be hiring.”
While “always be hiring” has since become the rallying cry among HR specialists, those same experts rarely elaborate on what that means exactly. It is easy to see the “why” of always be hiring. After all, once your employee tells you they’re resigning, you normally only have two weeks to source, hire, and train a new employee, but the “how” of “always be hiring” can feel, at times, elusive. Keeping in mind that, unlike large conglomerate practices, our readers do not have the means to dedicate entire teams to just hiring, we wanted to share a few tips and tricks for you to consider using in your own quest for sourcing better people. It starts with, “always be hiring,” even when you are not! It’s a mindset that requires some work on your part and your team.
Rather than interviewing candidates year-round, what “always be hiring” involves is a shift in mindset. It means thinking of yourself and your entire team as both a recruiter and an ambassador for your practice, even when you are outside of your office. It also means assessing your current team, actively networking and thinking about your sourcing needs long before an employee hands in their two weeks notice. Here is what it means to maintain a recruiting mindset and what “always be hiring” looks like in action for a small to medium size practice.
Know what your team is missing right now
When you’re fully staffed, it’s natural to turn your attention to more pressing matters. Even if you are completely staffed, keep in mind that there is always room for improvement and that your practice’s needs are always evolving. Once an employee announces they are leaving or the need to add more talent arises, it’s time to perform a thoughtful evaluation of your team and the specific needs of the position you need to fill. To that end, we created the “Difference Maker Inventory.”
The Difference Maker Inventory Toolkit included in our Hiring Guide can help you determine the skills your practice needs. It can also determine what a former team member was missing and what traits you should be looking for in your next set of candidates. Don’t forget to evaluate soft skills that might help create a more harmonious workplace and make sure that your candidates are a good fit for your company culture. Maybe you have several team members who are empathetic and kind, but nobody is great at explaining insurance to patients. Perhaps you need someone who is way more systems-oriented to lead everyone towards innovation and software adaptation. Knowing the qualities your team is currently lacking before you begin looking can get you one step closer to filling those dream team spots that open up on short notice.
Always be networking
Let your front desk and anyone that fields calls know you don’t want them to turn down any job inquiries outright. Instead, ask them to say, “We are always looking for good people, and we have an always-hiring mindset. You should put in your resume right away, and here is how.” After all, those applicants who are seeking work, who fill out your online application, and who answer your filter questions are already showing you they are a step above the ad clickers on the major job sites.
Be focused on growing your network any way you can. Stay in touch when you meet professionals who you might hire or who may know someone looking for a good job. It is also a good idea to keep an open mind when it comes to sourcing needs. While you might find your next receptionist on a job posting site, you may also find them working in the produce section of your local grocery store. Perhaps the outstanding waiter at your favorite bistro, the one with years of customer service experience, is looking to find a job where he can get off his feet while using his phenomenal people skills. The fact of the matter is, you might find your perfect hire through chance rather than traditional channels, but only if you and those who work for you are in an “always be hiring” mindset.
Recognize that what once worked, does not often stay that way
When you find yourself short on crew or need to add good people, reach out to your entire network and group of applicants that you felt good about. Who knows? One of those past applicants might be unhappy at their current job and looking for a change. Even if they aren’t, remember that old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together?” Well, dependable and organized people usually prefer to be around other reliable people. If you reach out to that person who impressed you and they aren’t ready for a career change at the moment, they might know someone who is. If you make an effort to keep your network growing, when an employee gives you their notice or walks off the job, you will have a large pool of talented applicants as well as a wide net of potential referrals.
Be a good ambassador for your business
Do you have a local study club or regular group meeting of your peers? Commit to helping one another by referring good candidates you’ve met that you currently have no room for. Do you think if you refer a great person to them, they will keep you in mind and help you out when you have a critical hiring need? Yes, they will!
At the time of writing this, one of the most persistent complaints we see in the media and hear among our peers is that “people just don’t want to work anymore.” Even if the complaints are 100 percent true, without the proper context, constantly complaining and failing to do the work is not going to help. Building multiple avenues for good people to find you and apply for your openings, however, will! The negative manifestation that people are not good and don’t want to work could also prevent your employees from buying into your positive “always be hiring” mindset.
Speak well of your work environment in public, highlighting not only what makes your practice the best, but what makes you and your team great people to work with. On that same note, keep in mind that as there is a huge shift happening within the workforce in America. Landing a job in a dental or medical office, or any great professional environment is exactly what people are looking to shift towards.
The time to think about your next hire is, not when an employee turns in their notice, but always. As painful as it feels to have to search, filter, interview, and hire someone, it is also an opportunity to add and make tweaks to the job requirements that can have profound positive impacts on your team and business. Adopting a recruiting mindset involves knowing what your team is missing before a team shortage occurs. It also means being ready to take advantage of an opportunity at the moment it presents itself, even if that opportunity arises through nontraditional channels. That way, when an employee does turn in their two weeks notice or you need to make a change for the sake of the team, the manager who has successfully adopted a recruiting mindset will have a wider pool of potential candidates as well as a network of referrals to choose from that you may not have otherwise had.