As specialists in the dental recruitment market we’re always having conversations with clients here at Blue Sky People – keen to recruit talented, motivated dental nurses, support or practice management staff to their team.
It is fair to say that there is rarely a budget set aside for replacing a key member of staff in much the same way that there are rarely funds set aside for replacing high value capital dental surgery equipment when it fails.
If your sterilisation equipment for example needs replacing, it is unlikely that dental business owners search for hours for the lowest possible cost replacement on the internet, albeit they would clearly shop around the main agents. And yet, that is what so many will do when recruiting a key member of staff.
Most recently, one prospective client spent several weeks, looking through well over 150 CV’s they had confidently received through cheap online adverts, rejecting over 90% of them in the process. Of those that they did invite in for interview and by the time they had, three had already secured other jobs and two didn’t even bother to turn up for their interview.
This is not a unique situation, we frequently see advice being given to “advertise on generalist job boards as you’ll get dozens of applications” – but do you really want to spend hours looking at irrelevant CV’s or schedule time out of your day to interview people who don’t bother to turn up?
As a specialist dental recruitment agency, we work through hundreds of CV’s every week – but then that is our job. We’re here to identify the gaps in CV’s, talk to the candidates and find out why they are moving or are out of a job. In short, we’re paid to sort through the less likely candidates, so that our clients don’t have to.
By no means am I suggesting that every time you need to recruit, you pick up the phone to a specialist recruiter such as ourselves (although it would be nice if we did hear from you), but certainly give sites such as the British Association of Dental Nurses job board a try first http://badn.dentaljobsgroup.co.uk
At least that way you are targeting people who work in the dental market and are likely to be interested in the CV’s you receive.
Value your time and that of your practice management staff when recruiting. It is easy to think you’ve recruited a member of staff for £50, but if you actually consider the wasted man-hours, that is rarely the case. Even more costly is the decision to recruit the wrong person, but that’s a conversation for another time!
Happy to continue this conversation in person, just email..
Blue Sky People
Despite “Dentistry” being removed from the skills list – potentially removing the opportunity for Dentists to apply for Permanent Residency in Australia – there are still a range of exciting opportunities for UK qualified dentists to live and work in Australia.
Alongside our Australian partners, Blue Sky People is recruiting UK dentists for a number of posts in particular throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
We currently have opportunities for UK graduate dentists who have at least completed their VT across a range of great locations including Canberra and the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
Opportunities exist within both the public sector as well as with well established and growing private practices.
Dentists up to the age of 30 are eligible to apply for a working holiday visa – which can entitle you to work on a temporary contract for 6-9 months. This type of Visa can be suitable for dentists who are happy to work within the Public sector – as opportunities within community dental hospitals are frequently available on a temporary contract basis. This is particularly well suited to dentists who want to work whilst in Australia, but who may opt to use the remaining time to explore the continent.
For dentists who are interested in a longer term commitment or who are 31 and over, we are able to offer via our clients – sponsorship for a 457 visa. The 457 Visa is tied to the sponsor – hence in the majority of cases, requires a professional commitment to the employer for a minimum period of 12-18 months.
We currently have clients throughout coastal Queensland, ACT and some locations in New South Wales – who will gladly sponsor UK graduate dentists with a minimum of 1 years post graduate clinical experience.
Dentists can work under a sponsored visa for up to 4 years in which time they can further explore avenues for permanent residency if their long term goal is to emigrate to Australia on a permanent basis.
Much like the UK market at present, Australian universities are offering more places on their dental courses, but there remains a genuine skills shortage for experience, motivated and ambitious dentists – happy to work outside of the Sydney and Melbourne catchment.
So, whether you are looking to take a trip out to Australia on a short term basis and fancy working for 6-9 months in a community setting, or whether you have a long term objective to experience the Australian lifestyle – the door is still open.
We’d be pleased to hear from any UK qualified dentists who might like to experience life and work in Australia.
Blue Sky Peopl
Dentistry is an analytical profession and at practice level it is right and correct that clinical decisions are made based on appropriate evidence and generally conservative in nature.
In business operations however, it sometimes pays to make quick decisions, particularly in attracting and retaining quality staff.
When recruiting, we all like to work to an ideal of say half a dozen or more applications, arrange perhaps 3-4 interviews and end up with two good candidates – the best of which is offered the job and accepts.
The reality for many practices is more likely that they receive 25 CVs, 20 of which are wholly unsuitable. 5 are okay but only 2 are worth interviewing – one of which has accepted another job by the time you ask them in for interview. Sound familiar?
If you are looking to recruit, it helps to have a plan in place to enable you to respond to any quality applications that you might receive. If you work with a good agency, they’ll work with you to discuss appropriate timescales for receiving/reviewing CVs, arranging interviews etc. But if you’re recruiting directly, make sure you have time available to bring candidates in for interview and you’re not off on holiday for 2 weeks just at the adverts go to press. Even better, why not include suggested interview timescales within your adverts.
If it is appropriate to do so, speed up the decision making process at interview stage as well. If you know you’ve found a cracking candidate you’re really keen on don’t let them get away. They could well be going to other interviews, so why not discuss potential packages and possible start dates with them at the interview. You don’t have to make an offer there and then (although you could), but you could certainly gauge their interest and assess whether they’re likely to take the job if they were offered. At the very least you should conclude the interview knowing whether they have got other interviews/offers, when they could start, when they might be looking to hand their notice in and with a very good idea of whether they would accept an offer at a salary/package which you can afford.
There is nothing more wasteful than investing time, money and effort in to the recruitment process to find a great candidate and enthusiastically offer them the job after you’ve interviewed everyone else – only to find out they’ve found a new job elsewhere.
Blue Sky People
At present there sometimes seems to be a surfeit of dental jobs out there but the market for choice dental associate jobs is becoming very competitive.
Many young dentists aspire to work in the private sector and we are often asked for advice on how to be able to compete for these types of positions.
Jan Clarke BDS is a Business Mentor/Coach with Rose & Co and was a Practice Principal for 17 years. We asked Jan for some pointers on what Principals might be looking for when comparing CVs or throughout the recruitment and interview process:-
- Keep up to date with CPD and not just core CPD, you should start to invest in yourself by attending good quality courses that show an understanding of career and self development.
- Qualifications matter but are not the be all and end all. A good depth of knowledge and being able to demonstrate that, is more valuable.
- With that in mind invest in some good photographic equipment and start to keep a portfolio of cases. This will help with patient education anyway, but it is no longer accepted to expect a practice to supply you with all the equipment for photography. It will be an expense you will not regret.
- Join a study group. Peer review is essential for growth and development as a clinician and a dentist who can show he regularly shares his cases, successes and failures, is a dentist who can show he is learning and growing.
- Find a mentor, someone you look up to and admire and ask them if they will help guide your career. Most older dentists are delighted to support younger colleagues. I know I have enjoyed seeing my young vocational trainees move on to buy their own practices or specialise in their chosen field.
- Network, attend local meetings, participate in social media sites. Some of the best jobs never get to be advertised or are being discretely marketed by specialist agencies.
- Get involved with your practice. An associate who helps within the practice and can be seen to be a team player will stand out. Consider taking responsibility for audit or help train the rest of the team in a new procedure you may have started. This will also help you get more out of the job you are already in. Participate!
- Don’t get involved in any team gossip/politics. Team members may come to you with gripes about the “Boss”, try and help them see the problems and the solutions and encourage them to go to the Principal with solutions. A happy, proactive team is a productive team and will generate a better working environment for all. Sometimes associates forget they can help improve this and you might just learn some very useful skills for your next positions.
- And of course, register your CV with a specialist recruitment agency such as Blue Sky People, so when the perfect job comes on the market you can be one of the first to be contacted about it.
We would be delighted to hear from you and discuss your employment requirements so when the time is right….
We’ve recently undertaken a number of recruitment assignments with dental practices or small groups specifically undertaking searches for business management & marketing expertise from outside of the dental sector.
Clearly there are significant changes going on within the dental market at present with greater consolidation, on-line marketing and social media and with the recent acquisition of DPAS by Weslyan, changes are also taking place within the Private/Plan space.
I took the time to have a conversation with Kevin Rose of Rose & Co about some of the challenges facing dentists and what they’re doing to meet those challenges.
Q Paul – Kevin, it’s well documented that dentists are facing what to some might seem like a perfect storm of increased regulatory burden, staffing/HR issues and overall business costs at the moment, what’s your view on some of the biggest challenges faced by dental practices today?
A Kevin – I think that we could be heading towards some kind of ‘super regulator’ such as that we have seen in financial services. The implication will be that smaller independent dental practices will have to outsource large areas of their supervision and regulation to third parties. We have seen how well this can work and I don’t think it’s anything to be scared of. In the meantime, remember that a regulator has to deal with the lowest common denominator who in turn will always try and find a way around the regulation. My advice is to lead and run your business in a way that is congruent with your own values and integrity. It may be that you will then have to fill more forms in to prove that you are on the right side of the regulation, but at least it just be confirming your position rather than requiring a fundamental U turn in the way that you operate.
Q Paul – Given that there is so much going on in the Private Plan sector with Denplan looking to move in to practice ownership, Bupa acquiring aggressively and recent acquisition of DPAS by Wesylan, do you have a view on where things might be heading?
A Kevin – We are seeing all of the signs associated with a market that is maturing and by that I mean the small and independent practice. You have a choice to either differentiate away from the corporates or try and compete directly. This reminds me of how we have seen independent retailers wiped out by high street chains. For many it has been too much to handle and yet we are now starting to see independent retailers thriving in the high street again. The formula seems to be to focus on differentiation rather than to compete on price. Competing on price is a downward spiral to failure.
Q Paul – While there is no one size fits all solution, what do you think practice owners can do to take control of their own destiny in the face of a still challenging marketplace?
A Kevin – You are right, there really isn’t a one size fits all solution and often I think that searching for one can send dental practice owners along the wrong path, where misguided quick fixes do at first look tempting but rarely work in the long term.
I think that we have to brave enough to ask bigger questions. For example, at a local level I hear loads of dentists asking how they can get more patients and sell more treatment plans and to a point I understand this, but in doing so they risk not asking the bigger question. The bigger question is to look at overcoming the memes and prejudices that people have about seeing the dentist. How come we hear phrases like “I have never met a poor dentist” and yet many dentists are searching for answers to “fill white space’. Something doesn’t stack up. We have to look at the cause of this problem first and great business owners, great leaders, apply this principle in all areas of their businesses, recruitment, marketing and planning for example.
Q Paul – Finding the right staff continues to be a challenge for practices particularly in urban areas and we appreciate not every practice wants to retain an agency to recruit. Can you lend an opinion on staffing and retention?
A Kevin – Well, unless you have the time and resource to recruit yourself why wouldn’t you outsource this? It is a specialist role within any business and not something that you can do in a hurry. If you get it wrong once or twice then you have a recruitment issue, but if you keep getting it wrong then you have a leadership issue. Think about why somebody would want to work for you and again focus on differentiation not money. Then think about recruiting for talents not skills. By talents I mean those ineffable qualities that set apart the good from the great within your team.
Q Paul – A number of our practice owners would consider selling their practices but are often cautious to market their practice – despite many potential buyers out there?
A Kevin – When I have bought and sold businesses in the past, I think it is always attractive to see that the business had a plan and then is able to demonstrate how they measured performance to that plan. This allows a purchaser to understand in what direction or trajectory the business is heading.
If you would like to discuss any of these matters with Paul or Kevin they would be delighted to hear from you.
A month ago, we received a marketing email from a company specializing in marketing. My initial reaction was to delete the email as spam marketing, but having read it in more detail I was actually quite interested in what this particular marketing firm had to offer.
I duly replied to their email and also left a brief message on their answer service suggesting I would be interested in a more detailed conversation – particularly as their MD was in the area the following week.
A month later and nothing! No response at all. No phone call, not even a courtesy email to suggest they’d been “overwhelmed by the positive response” (or similar marketing speak) and would get back to me soon.
Day to day many small businesses and dental practices in particular do exactly the same thing. Spend time, effort, and money on marketing their business or services, promoting themselves on Google with SEO, or Adwords with very little thought given to how they might actually handle new enquiries or monitor their return on investment (ROI).
Often their reception and admin teams aren’t aware the practice has adverts or promotions running, are not able to appropriately handle calls and enquiries and very often don’t convert the enquiry in to revenue as a result.
More and more we’re being asked to recruit customer service management or business management professionals for our dental practice clients as they realise the merits of moving away from a patient centric to a customer/consumer led approach.
There are thousands of talented practice managers within dentistry, however very few have customer service or management training and in modern dentistry many are now expected to be marketing experts and social media gurus with little or no training and support. Thankfully there are some great businesses out there specialising in the dental sector who can help, whether you are after a comprehensive business support through Rose & Co or simply want some fresh training through the likes of NBS Training.
Whilst there are literally dozens of marketing companies who’ll gladly take your money to put together an attractive and eye catching campaign for your practice, before you look to attract more clients – or share a promotion, you should give some thought to whether your team is appropriately geared to handle a positive response.
The particular marketing company we were keen to do business with clearly weren’t prepared at all. But by making sure you’re geared for a positive response to any practice marketing campaigns – you can deliver that brilliant first impression which can, and often does lead to long standing customer loyalty.
We regularly talk to clients and candidates with pre-conceived ideas of what an agency does often resigned to the fact that having tried everything else to try and recruit a candidate, or having searched all the usual media to find a job – end up talking to a recruitment agent as a some what last resort.
It is fair to say, I understand the frustration and spend a lot of my time reassuring practices and candidates alike, that all is not lost.
As a principal of a practice, you’re likely to have spent your money placing an advert, your evenings reviewing countless CVs only to realise that there isn’t a single candidate worth interviewing. Recruitment can prove not only frustrating, but hugely time consuming.
Likewise as an enthusiastic, driven job-seeker, you can spend countless hours looking through the hundreds of adverts out there (many of which are out of date) only to find the same old jobs advertised again and again, or nothing in the locations you are keen to work in.
Now, we certainly wouldn’t profess to being able to solve everyone’s recruitment problems, but where recruitment agencies can offer a genuinely valuable service is giving you some of your time back.
If we’re marketing your job, we’ll advertise across a multitude of different media as well as to our extensive database of candidates and when we do send a CV, you should expect each candidate to be worthy of consideration.
Over 40% of the people we place in jobs, were not actively looking for a new post when we made contact with them about a new opportunity and frequently the very best jobs we have on our books don’t even get advertised. They are simply filled from contacts within our existing network, or from our CV database.
Fascinating opportunities like a Locum in the Cayman Islands or a stint in the Falklands or even a specialist role in London’s Harley Street district might not be for everyone, but interesting and varied opportunities come across our desk daily and you’d need to be registered with us or be part of our social media networks on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ to be updated on some of the terrific jobs we get to recruit for.
We would be delighted to connect there so do join us and let us help get your workload to achieve a better work life balance for you.
How comfortable are you really talking about your dental practice?
Todays dental practices are often modern, well equipped, air conditioned, with digitised surgeries, staffed by experienced, qualified dental nursing and support staff – many of whom benefit from ongoing training and development well beyond the minimum expected for their CPD cycle.
When advertising for staff, particularly for Associate Dentists, practices frequently have a fantastic story to tell about their working environment, the contract on offer, access to great labs and materials. But like the majority of dental business out there, the job specs which are being advertised all tend to blur in to one another.
With huge numbers of associate jobs being advertised across the web, significant numbers of jobs are simply ignored as the pattern is so familiar. Even if the job spec is highly detailed (which many aren’t).
With more graduates coming out of our dental schools, surely that should have had some bearing on a practice’s ability to recruit high calibre, enthusiastic associates – even if they are less experienced?
And yet, vast numbers of jobs are simply being ignored by younger dentists in rural or semi-rural locations in favour of city or town based opportunities. Someone even told me recently that a practice was “too far away” for them to consider. As it was only 25 miles from their home address, what they really meant was it was “too far out of town”.
Where we believe you can significantly improve your chances of recruiting the right people, is to spend some time communicating what your practice really has to offer. And we don’t mean how many UDA’s or the new digital x-ray system.
Where is the practice? Is it close to a train station, making it easy for people to use public transport for their daily commute.
Are you surrounded by coffee shops and other local amenities. What about the people who already work at the practice? Do they get on with each other socially and organize any out of work activities (for example – one of our clients actually has a 5 a side football team that plays).
Do you attend international conferences and reward your staff by taking them along?
Is the annual staff bbq or Christmas do well attended because you’re such a great place to work.
It may all sound trivial, but some thought given to who you are as a group of people and the community in which your practice thrives, could – if accurately described – be the difference between you hiring your next associate or not.