Getting the right person for the job can be a challenge.
Each role within a dental practice requires a different set of skills. The nursing role requires a comprehensive knowledge of dental materials and up-to-date awareness of infection control protocols. The receptionist role needs someone who is proficient with the dental software of the practice and has strong administrative abilities.
However, choosing someone based only on their learned skills is the wrong approach.
A better method is to choose the right characteristics, and then provide training to fill the skills gap.
Choose a nurse who has a natural enthusiasm for helping people. Someone who is patient and exhibits kindness.
Choose a receptionist based upon their natural rapport-building ability. Someone who gains satisfaction from building strong relationships with patients, with great customer service being a natural consequence.
Discovering the right characteristics is easy if you are focused on what you are looking for. Initial meetings with someone will reveal whether they are a good communicator, their friendliness and how effective they are at building rapport with you. Asking people to provide examples of how they managed challenging scenarios in the past will provide you with information about their sense of responsibility, problem solving skills and teamwork.
Once you have chosen someone based upon the set of characteristics you feel best suits the position, keep your expectations around this employee in check. Many times I have seen happy employees become disenchanted when their role description changes and they are expected to perform in a manner that is inconsistent with their character and personality. For example a receptionist who provides the perfect first impression on front desk and is very engaging, who is then transferred to a back office to manage administrative duties. Suddenly this normally enthusiastic employee is discontented because the reason she enjoyed her work (engaging with people) has been taken away.
Getting the best performance out of people is about harnessing their strengths, not trying to covert their weaknesses.