What size team do you have at Tyler Crown & Bridge and what types of staff do you employ?
There are 10 of us – 2 ceramists, 3 acrylic technicians, 2 on CADCAM (including the manager) and 2 admin, plus a driver.
When you’ve recruited in the past, how difficult have you found it to find good quality candidates?
Very difficult - at times almost impossible!
How long does it usually take to fill a role at Tyler Crown & Bridge?
We are at a size that we are comfortable with and do not have a great turnover of staff, so we haven’t need to recruit that often. So it's difficult to be exact, but months usually - I think over the years what we've tended to do is wait for the right person to come along and then reorganise the lab to incorporate them. Rather than having somebody leave and saying "right, we definitely need to replace that person". Although we had someone leave just before lockdown, and would have tried to replace them immediately, but because of the uncertainty we waited. Once lockdown #1 ended, we started looking for a replacement and found someone through a Facebook ad. We would have taken them on full-time, but they only wanted part-time, so we could do with someone else now.
And what methods have you used to fill roles in the past?
We've used a recruitment agency once and we've used Facebook. Social media seems to have worked better than anything else. In the dim and distant past before social media we used dental magazines.
Have you tried using recruiting through Indeed.com?
We’ve not used Indeed for recruiting Dental Technicians. We've been in business over 30 years, and I don't think it's ever been easy to find employees. Over the years, we've used numerous ways, and I don't think that any 'one' method works any better than the others. I think part of the issue is that we're not near a college. When you're in Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and London where the colleges are, there tends to be a greater pool of technicians. Where we are based, Gloucester, out in the sticks, that's not the case.
Typically, how long does it take to embed a new team member into his/her new role?
From two days to two years! We've got one member of staff that came in and within 2 days and it's like she's been here all the time. It depends on the candidate, on their personality, it depends on a lot of factors such as what job you're asking them to do, what expectations they've got of the job and what expectations you've got of them.
What makes somebody a good fit for your team (e.g personality, technical, behavioural, work ethic)?
Personality, work ethic, flexibility and technical skills. Within dental technology there is a tendency for candidates confine themselves to "a role". For example, they will be "a ceramist" or they'll be "a CAD/CAM technician" or they'll be "a metalworker", yet the ones that are most valuable to us are the ones that can actually turn their hand to numerous skill sets. For example, our latest recruit that came to us just before Christmas when we advertised for a Dental Technician had worked for the last 8 years as a ceramist. We said that we don't need a ceramist. She told us that she had done acrylic work before that, so she is now doing that for us. She's not come along and asked to specifically do ceramics, she's just done whatever we wanted. We told her there's digital work as well, she understood our needs went to the computer and said, "I don’t know much CAD/CAM, but teach me and I will do it!" That is what we need, someone who is a dental technician albeit with particular strengths and interests.
In your experience, what do you think are the most common mistakes that candidates make in an interview?
Just being unaware of the fact that flexibility is key in this industry, and not having done any research into what we do, and want we are looking for from a candidate. Also, coming into an interview and thinking that they're the answer to our needs, rather than being open, asking questions and finding out what the lab needs.
And finally, what’s the best thing about working for .... dental laboratory?
It was funny because just as we were reading this question, the lady that does our admin walked in, so I said "Right Karen, what's the best thing about working for Tyler Crown & Bridge?" Her answers were "the boss, convenience" (because she lives just across the road!), "friendly atmosphere, variety of work, flexible hours and ...but definitely the boss, lol!" I don't know what the best thing about working here is, but I'd like to think that Karen’s hit the nail on the head. One of the best things about working here is that no two days are the same. We're designing wonderful things, and figuring out how to do more. It's a very interesting profession, and actually I think in the next few years it's just going to get even more interesting!
Blog post by Andy Foster