An ad won’t fix your practice, but it can attract the right people. To draw in those awesome, future team members, your ad needs to stand out! To help you craft an eye-catching post, Kirk Behrendt brings back one of ACT’s amazing coaches, Miranda Beeson, to share three tips to write the best ad that applicants will find. Let the right people come to you! To learn how, listen to Episode 595 of The Best Practices Show!
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Links Mentioned in This Episode:
Register for ACT’s To The Top Study Club (July 28, 2023)
Register for ACT’s To The Top Study Club (August 11, 2023)
Watch How Should a Company Share Its Values? by Simon Sinek
Be crystal clear about your core values in your ad.
Utilize photos and videos to illustrate core values.
Share testimonials from current team members.
Use a call to action to weed certain people out.
Know which words and phrases to avoid.
Post your ad on social media.
“[The hiring challenge is] not just in dentistry, it’s everywhere. But we’re feeling it really hard in dentistry, especially a smaller practice when you’re not part of a larger corporation that has recruiters out there constantly interviewing. When you’re a private practice and you have a smaller team, or even 20 team members, and you’re responsible for filling those seats with the right people, we’re in a challenging place right now. I don’t think I have a single team that I coach that isn’t looking for at least one new team member. It’s a problem across the board in every industry, but it hits dentistry really hard and it’s ongoing. I don’t think it’s changing any time soon.” (2:17—2:53)
“One day, we’re going to stop talking about pre-COVID and post-COVID. But this is really a post-COVID problem. I really think it stems from that era of people being at home for a period of time and really starting to reflect on what they value, work-life balance, and where they want to put the effort in their life. There are a lot of people who stepped away and said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to step back in that game.’ And now, we have a lot of the newer generation — millennials, Gen Z. Those are the team members that are coming in and looking for new jobs and looking at these ads. We have to speak a little differently to those people than we’ve had to do traditionally in the past.” (2:55—3:33)
“We have to take a little bit of responsibility and look in the mirror at, traditionally, in dentistry, the auxiliary team members, business team members, hygienists, assistants, they were the workforce behind this game that we’re playing. We really rely on the auxiliary team members, and there was a different approach to how we managed. We didn’t really lead as much. We managed a little bit more. Those team members were hustling and bustling, and hustling and bustling. And there’s been this shift in work-life balance. There’s so much talk around work-life balance, toxic cultures, and nontoxic cultures. I think that a lot of auxiliary team members — and this doesn’t apply to every dentist and every dental office. So, I say that out loud first — they got run ragged. They got burned out. And when they sat at home for eight weeks, they were able to reflect on that. And so, coming back to the office, they’re looking for more flexibility. They’re looking for more work-life balance. They’re looking for stability. They really want to be a part of something and not just a cog in the wheel.” (4:18—5:25)
“I’ve heard dentists say to team members that, ‘I could work with a robot. You’re just a cog in the wheel.’ No one wants to feel like that. And so, really having to wrap our mind around the accountability of what traditionally we may have created within our industry and make a shift so that team members truly feel valued and that they’re a part of something bigger than just punching the clock.” (5:25—5:50)
“You don’t find the right people. The right people find you. I think that’s a Kirk-ism. And it’s so true. When I was a hygienist, I was that way. I knew I was an exceptional hygienist. When I was sifting through ads, which back then there weren’t that many to choose from, I was kind of like, ‘Ugh, no. No, no, no. Oh, golden nugget. They talked about core values. They talked about their team.’ It wasn’t just about the hours and how much they could get out of me. I knew I wasn’t going to be just a cog in the wheel, just a number, within that practice. I was going to mean something there. That was the office that I was going to reach out to. If you’re looking for a rock-star team member, you have to put out there something to let them know what they’re going to get, the intangibles out of working in your practice, and stand out from the crowd of ads that are all over Indeed, dental posts, and everywhere else that they’re living right now.” (8:28—9:21)
“Number one is building in your core values. We talk about core values all the time at ACT, but we don’t talk about them in jest. Legitimately, they’re the most important thing in your practice. If you’re looking for the right people to find you, you want to be really clear about what your core values are within that ad. It’s going to speak to applicants who are familiar with similar values or have similar values to what you have who are looking for that in a practice, and they’re going to be pulled and gravitate towards responding to that ad if they also believe in the same things that you believe in.” (9:29—10:05)
“When I talk with clients and if there are issues around certain team members, I go back to, ‘When was the last time you looked at that particular person, their behaviors, and how they relate to your core values?’ Because if an action or a person is consistently creating frustration for you, like you were saying, and you look back and say, ‘You know why? It’s because I can’t trust them, and “always tell the truth” is one of the most important values we have in this practice.’ And it’s like, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. So, if you put those in your ad and you start with that, you’re going to set clear expectations of what characteristics and behaviors are expected of team members in this practice. If you’re really clear about that in your ad, team members who don’t believe in those things who might create frustration for you in the future are so much less likely to even apply. Great. You keep looking for the practice that fits you, because I want to find that person who believes in the same things that I believe in.” (11:51—12:51)
“If you have people on your team who are all-in, they are all about your core values, they fit, they’re the right people, they’re in the right seats, they get it, they want it — ask them who they may know that also fits those core values that could come work here. Before you even place an ad, start there.” (13:51—14:09)
“If you’ve reached all the resources within your team, they’ve asked everyone they know, you’ve already gotten as many great friends as they could possibly bring on board, we have to put an ad out, at this point. You can still make that feel very personal and very word-of-mouth. That’s part of building in your core values. You take out that transactional view of what the ad looks like when someone is perusing Indeed, and it gives this more personable approach as if you’re on the phone with a friend learning about what this practice values. So, again, it gives it that personal touch versus a transactional touch of, ‘We’re a great practice. We work Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 5:00. We expect you to do these things by this time. Call me now.’ It’s a completely different approach to putting your business out there.” (15:31—16:17)
“Step number two is, share current team members’ testimonials in your ad. I think this is underutilized. I don’t see this very often at all, but I think it’s a huge, huge hit because just like patient testimonials help to provide that personal perspective from the inside out, you can have the same influence coming from existing team members who are sharing why they love working here.” (16:24—16:48)
“Let’s be honest. There are people, when they read these ads, that get a little skeptical. Right? Maybe you’ve had an ad out for three months because you haven’t found the right person yet, and someone has seen it over and over again, and they’re going to start thinking like, ‘Man, they can’t find someone to work there to save their lives. They must have a lot of turnover. This ad has been on here for like six months.’ No, we’re just being really careful about who we’re bringing on board and making sure we find the right person. So, if we can debunk some of that skepticism that maybe it’s a toxic place or, again, I mentioned people worry about work-life balance and, ‘Are they going to appreciate me? Am I going to be valued?’ Who better to shout that from the rooftops than the people that already feel valued working on your team? In quotes, ‘Here’s what Michelle, our hygienist of eight years, has to say about working here.’ And then, Michelle has in quotes, ‘I love working here because we’re valued as autonomous colleagues and partners in the hygiene department,’ whatever it may be. If you have someone from the actual team putting a quote into that ad and someone can read that, there’s automatically this shift in trust.” (16:48—17:56)
“[Sharing team members’ testimonials] also shows potential team members that you value your team. This isn’t just about me. This is about our whole team. We’re bringing someone into our family over here, and we value them so much that we ask them to be a part of writing this ad, to be a part of bringing someone on to the team and being a part of it. That way, they also know in the future, if there’s ever another team member that comes on board, they get to have a say in that. And a lot of people have worked at places where they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they hired Suzy.’ Well, wouldn’t it have been great if the team had had a voice and had felt value in any part of bringing someone new on board?” (19:27—20:03)
“[Step three is], use photos and videos whenever you can. If the platform that you’re posting an ad on allows for images or video content, use it. What do they say? A picture paints a thousand words. So much emotion is evoked from photos and videos. Being able to see someone’s eyes, seeing this group of individuals having fun together inside and outside of the office, it’s so important to demonstrate as much as you can the emotional buy-in of what it’s like to work here. So, if you can evoke emotion through adding team member photos, maybe photos of the work that you do too, if you do a different type of work, comprehensive approach, something that’s not typical and you want to show that off, awesome, because you’re going to want people who are eager to learn innovative new things to be able to keep up with what you’re doing.” (21:07—22:00)
“The people that are looking for jobs right now are primarily looking for being a part of something, feeling valued, some work-life balance. It’s not just about punching the clock. It’s about being a part of a group or a family that really means something and does something for the community. So, if you have pictures of your team with patients, if you have pictures of your team at a team-building event together out and about, if you have pictures of your team doing CPR training or iTero training, those types of things speak much louder than words can in an ad — and not many people are doing it. It will stand out amongst the crowd.” (22:05—22:43)
“[Sharing team photos of taking out trash] has actually got some subliminal messaging in there too. Like, ‘We’re going to expect you to do things even as simple as taking out the trash here. We need a little humility in whoever comes on board. But we’re going to support each other and have fun while we’re doing it.’ I actually love the idea . . . [of] showing team members taking out the trash. That’s actually a big topic when you hop in Facebook forums and groups online, people complaining about, ‘I just started at this new office, and they expect us to empty the trash in our operatory every night and take it out to the dumpster. Can you believe that?’ And you’re like, ‘Okay, teamwork makes the dream work. Pull out your trash bag and take five steps outside.’ Could you imagine if that person had seen a photo like that in the ad before they came on board, to say like, ‘Oh, but we can do it. And it’s a team expected activity. We can still have fun doing the things that we have to do to keep the business running.’ I think that’s a cool concept.” (23:15—24:13)
“If you had somebody who had a, ‘That’s not my job,’ mentality, they’re not applying for the job for that ad that had that picture [of taking out the trash] there. But if you had someone who doesn’t mind teamwork, pushing up their sleeves and doing what they have to do to get the job done, and if that’s what you want on your team, they’re going to apply for that job because they’re not going to be deterred by something like that.” (24:39—24:57)
“[Videos don’t] have to be doctored up and edited. It can be the doctor saying what they love about being in the practice, or what they love about dentistry, and a couple of team members doing the same thing, and then, ‘Come work with us!’ Something fun. Just the energy — show who you are. That’s what people want to know. That’s what’s hard about even applying and going in for the interview, is you’re sitting there across the table — everyone is on their best behavior. We’re asking what your strengths and weaknesses are . . . You’re asking these questions, and it’s this very formal environment. You can’t really get a feel for what this practice is about. You may or may not even get to see any of the other team members while you’re there for that initial interview. So, if you can have some little insight about the vibe of the practice and what people are all about, what the energy is through photos or videos beforehand, that’s a win already.” (25:06—26:11)
“If you have something like that in your ad where you are showing that you take CE, you’re automatically going to attract — the right people find you — people who are like, ‘Oh my gosh, they do CE together? I want to be part of a practice that is putting CE in front of me.’ It’s going to make your life easier, weeding out the people who don’t fit, because the ones who don’t want to learn something new aren’t going to apply for your ad.” (26:50—27:14)
“After interviewing hundreds and hundreds of team members over the last several years as a practice administrator, when you mentioned resumes, even before AI, I don’t really trust the resume too much. I also don’t trust calling references very much. You don’t know who’s on the other end of the line. They’re only going to add people on their reference list that are going to give a positive recommendation. No one’s dumb enough to put people on there who might say they’re not a good candidate. Right? So, the most important part of bringing someone on board is meeting them face to face.” (28:17—28:49)
“Here are a few things maybe not to do, stand-outs from being in this profession for a long time and knowing a lot of people who are in this profession. Avoid using things like, ‘Busy practice looking for . . .’ Like, how stressful. I read that and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to be so stressed out working in a busy, fast-paced practice.’ That is not what someone wants to read. It’s not screaming, ‘We have a healthy work-life balance,’ when you hear busy and fast-paced. Another one is multitasking, ‘We need a good multitasker.’ We actually learned together at our last To The Top Study Club event about switch tasking and when you’re trying to multitask, how you’re not nearly as productive. But what that means to a reader of an ad is, ‘They’re short- staffed, and I’m going to be doing more than one person’s job,’ or, ‘They don’t have good systems, so it’s crazy and chaotic in there. It doesn’t sound like solid work-life balance, structure, clear roles and responsibilities. It sounds like, ‘This is going to be a little crazy, and I’m going to be running around on roller skates every day.’ So, I’m probably not going to apply for that ad.” (30:12— 31:28)
“We have to be careful about what we’re putting out. Certain words will start to push people away instead of pull people in.” (31:50—31:57)
“Clinical roles, listing out every role and responsibility of, ‘I need a hygienist. You need to be able to do cleanings and provide fluoride applications.’ Like, yeah, duh. I know that. That’s what I have a bachelor’s degree in. Right? So, we don’t need to have so much focus on the tasks that we’ll be responsible for. Maybe for a business team role, because if you’re specifically looking for a hygiene coordinator, you want to make sure that someone who loves insurance doesn’t apply for the role. But when it comes to the clinical roles in particular, that trade is what it is. Most of the skills that we need to have to apply for that are built in. So, instead, let’s take the time and space on that page focusing on some of these other things we’ve talked about, like team member testimonials, some photos, or building in our core values, and less of the task list.” (31:58—32:50)
“I love adding in an extra step. So, having a survey, ‘Please don’t send your resumé. Instead, click this link and fill out a quick survey about what you would love about working here,’ and having something that’s built in that’s that one extra step that the person has to follow to see, how eager are they? Are they going to follow directions well? Are they a robot? Are they AI? Same thing with a video. When I started working with ACT, one of the things was, ‘Hey, shoot us a two-minute video about why you think you would do well as a coach here.’ I thought that was the coolest, and really smart move on your part. You’re hiring someone who thinks that’s the coolest, and it’s probably going to be someone who fits in with what you’re looking for.” (32:58—33:45)
“You want someone who’s got work ethics, and self-driven. We need to call the one who made the video, the one who put the effort in that you asked them to put in. You can also just do something basic like asking them to, when they submit their resume, also include three questions that they’d like to know about the practice. If they don’t have any questions, red flag. But if they have really insightful questions, awesome. I can’t wait to answer those when you come in for an interview next week. So, just that little extra call to action to see if they’re willing to go the extra mile.” (34:19—34:49)
“[A video from applicants] gives you good insight as to how they’re going to communicate with your patients, because that’s such a huge hang-up in nearly every practice, ‘How do we get our team communicating well with our patients? How do we get the verbiage? How do we get the language? This one’s not professional.’ You immediately know, within two minutes, what the experience will be for your patients interacting with this potential team member.” (36:08—36:31)
“Share [your ad] to social media. Make it public. And then, a call to action like, ‘Hey, we’re hiring. Please share.’ The more people that share that, that reach expands so much further than someone who’s actively on Indeed. The people on Indeed looking for jobs — and I keep saying Indeed, but there are other forums as well — they’re actively looking for new employment. But there are people out there who could be enticed to transition, and they aren’t actively searching on these sites. But if they see a really cool one-pager or a video come across social media that stands out, it’s different, it’s a team that looks like they enjoy working together, inviting someone to come apply to be a part of their team, they might, for a moment, consider and reach out. And they never even would have known that you were hiring because your job was just living in a hiring platform somewhere. So, use social media to your advantage, for sure.” (37:32—38:25)
1:57 The hiring challenge, explained.
3:33 Your people determine your success.
6:02 Why you need to stand out in your hiring ad.
7:29 The right people will find you.
9:21 Step 1) Build in your core values.
12:52 Do this before you place an ad.
16:21 Step 2) Share team members’ testimonials.
21:03 Step 3) Share photos and videos whenever possible.
27:32 Don’t always trust resumes.
30:05 Words and phrases to avoid in your ad.
32:51 List a call to action.
36:31 Use this Google phone number tip.
37:10 Post your ad on social media.
38:44 More about ACT’s To The Top Study Club.
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH Bio:
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH, has over 25 years of clinical dental hygiene, front office, practice administration, and speaking experience. She is enthusiastic about communication and loves helping others find the power that words can bring to their patient interactions and practice dynamics. As a Lead Practice Coach, she is driven to create opportunities to find value in experiences and cultivate new approaches.
Miranda graduated from Old Dominion University, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chuck, and her children, Trent, Mallory, and Cassidy. Family time is the best time, and is often spent on a golf course, a volleyball court, or spending the day boating at the beach.