Hiring on résumé alone is a poor way of getting the right person for your practice.


I received some feedback after posting my last blog.

The blog was Promises Promises… and it warned against making promises to new employees that you may not deliver on.

The feedback I received asked what to do when the tables are turned. This dentist has experienced candidates making promises of their abilities and positive character traits, only to have them fail to materialise upon employment.

Some of the more common untruths candidates claim in their resumes are:

  • exaggerated length of employment at previous jobs
  • inflated hourly rate they have earned
  • falsifying credentials and further learning documents
  • reason for leaving past employers

Other elements of a résumé that may be exaggerated are a candidate’s soft skills. That is, their levels of enthusiasm, loyalty, hardworking, friendliness etc.

The hiring process presents the challenge of discovering who a candidate is beyond (or despite) what is detailed in their résumé.

Taking the following steps will strengthen your chances of hiring the right person. If you look for short cuts to reduce the time it takes to hire your team members, you are taking a big risk. You think you are saving time, or you think you don’t have enough time to do it properly, but the time you lose in dealing with a poor choice is far greater than the time you invest in an effective hiring process!

1. Don’t hire on the résumé alone. Presume there are exaggerations. Call all references and confirm dates of employment, job descriptions and reasons they left the company.

2. Ask revealing questions. If a candidate claims they completed customer service training, ask them what key insights they learned during this training and how it changed their performance. If they state they have trained new staff members, ask them to describe their process and any training aids they developed for the trainee. When interviewing younger, less experienced candidates, you may be looking for a friendly, compassionate person with a strong work ethic. Rather than asking “do you think you are a caring person?” “are you punctual?”, ask them to describe past scenarios where they have displayed such behaviour. For example:

“Tell me about your work ethic. What kind of employee do you strive to be?”

“Describe a time that you felt you truly made a difference in someone’s life.”

“Within the workplace, describe what a stressful situation is for you and how you cope with it.”

“What gets you excited at work?”

(Read my blog Get The Questions Right! for further insights.)

3. Implement a trial period. The most effective way to gauge a candidate’s performance is to have them work with you. You can then see them in action.  However, if the candidate leaves their previous place of employment in order to commence a trial period, you may feel compelled to hire the candidate even if they prove to be a bad fit for your practice. It is your responsibility to perform a thorough assessment prior to this step and avoid leaving a candidate without a job. If possible, have the candidate come for a series of trial days while still maintaining their existing employment. That way, if you decide against hiring them, they have not lost their ability to earn a living.

Hiring on the contents of a résumé alone is a risk that you can easily avoid. Deepen your experience of the candidates and you will more easily find the right person for your practice.