Not So Obvious Places to Look for Great Hires

Have you ever wondered where to find the perfect employees – terrifically suited to a particular job?  Or even how best to think about this topic more generally?  We recently had the opportunity to do some intensive market work in the dental practices space. What became obvious to us was that great dental assistants may be worth their weight in gold (literally). Why? Two reasons really stood out: First, they are critical to customer/patient retention and; second, they can significantly leverage dentists’ time thus facilitating significantly higher revenues in a dental practice. So, we wondered what type of background would you look for to get great hires?

It turns out that former bartenders might be one of the best places to look (assuming that they either have or can then get the appropriate dental assistant technical education).  When we first heard this assertion – although it came from one of the best practitioners that we interviewed, we were a bit skeptical.  Sounded a bit odd?  However, upon reflection, turns out it makes a lot of sense. What are bartenders known for? A few very relevant characteristics come to mind: the ability to read people, confidence in serving and engaging with customers, patience, time and task management, attentiveness to customer needs, and a certain eagerness, just to name a few. Ironically, these happen to be the exact same attributes that a dentist would love to have in a dental assistant.

When you take a step back, it all makes a ton of sense.  Makes you wonder.  In how many other hiring situations, might you find that a highly unorthodox approach can turn out to be ‘just what the doctor ordered?’