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If your name is on the door, you’re more than just a dentist: you’re also head coach, recruiter, decision-maker, ruffled-feather-smoother, and more. The best ones are the glue that holds everything together and the oil that makes it run smoothly.

Efficient leaders must rely on an entire arsenal of skills and talents, but they also need to be able to rely on their second-in-command; in the case of running a practice, that person is almost always the office manager. From making sure the schedule is spaced and filled all the way to keeping work spaces decluttered to reduce stress, everything that happens in your practice can be helped or hurt by the effectiveness of your office manager.

But how does one go about recruiting top talent to ensure growth and stability? What’s the best way to find a future leader? We have some suggestions that may help.

Look Everywhere…but Start at Home.

When searching for a replacement for a successful office manager, there tend to be two camps: on the one hand is a tendency to seek out candidates that will serve as their predecessor’s clone. On the other hand are those who automatically jump to searching for candidates outside of the organization. Your best bet is to run simultaneous internal and external searches, judging all candidates against the same criteria.

Selective hiring, particularly in periods of growth, is essential for stability and sustainability. Hiring decisions may be influenced by what has worked in the past, but make sure you’re keeping the future needs of the business in mind. There’s something to be said for knowing the company well from Day One, but new ideas may be exactly what your organization needs.

Interview Professionally, Not Formally.

When it comes time to start the interviewing process, taking a more casual approach allows for a natural, free-flowing conversation…and that’s truly the best way to get to know an interviewee on a real-life basis. Going beyond the resume, as it were, provides a greater opportunity to tell whether the person will be a strong match with your practice’s needs … and with the office culture.

Although a strong work ethic is one of the most important traits you should look for in an office manager, being organized is also reflected in one’s ability to balance work and personal lives. Employees who can strike this balance are less likely to burn out, increasing the odds of them staying with the position for the long-haul.

Look for Organization.

We can’t really stress this enough: Organizational skills are essential for the office manager role:

  • Time-Management. Knowing how to manage time is critical when it comes to keeping everyone on task. The best OMs are keenly aware of the appointment schedule, striving to keep it full enough to maximize revenue but still retain flexibility. This allows everyone to stay busy but not overwhelmed.
  • Physical Skills. As we mentioned earlier, a cluttered workspace causes stress. Loose papers lying around, pens and markers without a proper place, personal items strewn about haphazardly: these not only lead to misplaced items, they can also pose a safety risk. Look for candidates that can present themselves and their work neatly and professionally.
  • Resource Handling. When it comes to smooth operations, knowing where and how to use resources is paramount. The organized office manager will have a history of knowing how to delegate tasks to others, rather than trying to handle everything solo. The best candidates will be able to demonstrate they know who to trust with what tasks, to take things off your plate and make sure that everything is handled in an efficient manner.

As a leader yourself, you should constantly be on the lookout for candidates who are adaptable and exhibit strong organizational skills. Such abilities are vital to an efficient and productive workforce, but they are absolutely critical when it comes to your office manager.