Guide to Recruiting in the Dental Industry

November 16, 2021

The success of any dental practice depends on the competence of its team. Assembling a talented, professional staff is key for creating a positive atmosphere and comfortable experience for patients.

COVID-19 was hard on the dental industry, and finding the right employees can be a challenge. The pandemic has led to lots of problems in the dental industry, including high turnover rates.

Recruiting good candidates is possible. Here are some tips borrowed from other industries best practices for recruiting. Consider these to obtain the dental staff you need to help make your practice a success.

Take Time to Find Your Team 

If your practice is short-staffed, You may be in a hurry to remedy the problem. But hiring the wrong person is never a good idea. 

When a receptionist, dental hygienist, or another employee announces their departure, it's normal to panic and hire the first person who comes along. But hiring someone who isn't qualified or compatible with your staff is a recipe for disaster. You'll end up with a bigger problem to contend with down the road. 

You’ve heard the phrase, “fire fast, hire slow.” Take the time to advertise, interview, and find the best candidates. The goal is to have a winning team and successful practice.

Determine Your Staffing Needs

The patient experience is critical to long-term success. Having adequate staff is a top priority for patient care and employee retention. If you are understaffed it’s likely the team members you do have are taking on extra responsibility. That is a recipe for burnout and even more turnover. 

Consider the size of your practice and determine the number of team members you need. Then consider whether you want all in-house employees or if you may want to outsource some tasks. Outsourcing things like HR, accounting or even recruiting might make sense.

Write Accurate Job Descriptions

A job ad is advertising your practice and what you have to offer a future employee. You want your ad to stand out and grab the attention of talented job seekers. Your job ad should be concise and comprehensive about the job and responsibilities. It also should sell your practice and why someone would want to work for you. Include benefits like paid time off, health insurance, professional development, 401K, etc. to help your practice stand out.

In addition to the job information, functions, and benefits, you should include information about your dental practice and office culture. Share your mission or purpose, the attitude of your team, and the qualities you're wanting in an employee.

Your practice may be busy and growing and need an energetic person with great communication skills. Your mission could be to serve your community and help eradicate dental disease.

Being specific with your words paints a clear picture of what you want. The hope is that great candidates will recognize themselves in your ad and apply for the job.

Go Beyond Standard Screening Procedures

Working at a dental practice is a unique experience and unlike other types of employment. Employees have access to patient records, health histories, and financial information. You want discreet, trustworthy individuals handling this confidential information. You may want to run a background check before you offer an applicant a job.

Treat each applicant equally. If you decide not to hire someone based on the background check results, provide them with a copy of the report.

Consider Temporary Placements

You don't want to hire someone only to fire them soon after. If you need someone right away, consider hiring a temporary replacement while you search for a permanent team member. Perhaps temp-to-hire is an option. Seeking a temporary team member is better than hiring an unqualified employee out of desperation.

Choose a reputable temp agency. And be sure the person you hire has the proper license and skills for the job. 

Train Your Team

It's common for dental office employees to play many different roles. Your billing specialist may have to answer phones. Your dental hygienist may assist with ordering supplies.

Your team members should have a specific role to play in office operations. But it's a good idea to train them to handle other roles as well.

Beyond office duties, provide educational opportunities and ongoing training for your dental staff. Keeping your employees on top of the latest trends in the industry benefits your dental practice and your patients.

Advertise in More Places

Finding the best candidates requires a proactive approach. One of the best ways to advertise job openings is via social media. Many people, especially young job seekers, use social media every day. The goal is to meet them where they are.

LinkedIn and Facebook are ideal places to advertise job positions. You can target your search based on location and other criteria.

Post position openings on a variety of job boards and don’t forget to list job opening on your own website as well.

Ask for Referrals 

People tend to be friends with other like-minded individuals who share similar interests and ideals. Your current employees are the perfect source for referrals. Ask your staff and colleagues if they know someone for the job. The more people you reach out to, the more likely you are to find quality candidates. Consider offering a referral bonus.

Recruiting great employees is not something you do only when you have an immediate need. It's an ongoing process of looking for new candidates while retaining your best employees. 

Prepare for Multiple Interviews

The first person you interview may be right for the job. But it usually takes a while to find the best candidate. It's tempting to hire someone right away and avoid conducting multiple interviews. But for the long-term success of your practice, it's a good idea to take your time.

Prepare for multiple candidates and interviews. In addition to interviewing multiple candidates, consider having others at your practice get involved in candidate interviews. You may have a longstanding and trusted team member that could help with decision-making.

Note: If in-person interviews aren't practical, consider using Zoom or other video platforms. 

Recruiting for the Dental Industry

Nearly every industry is struggling with staff turnover and is in need of hiring. These tips utilized in many other industries apply to dental recruiting as well. We hope these help you recruit and retain the team members you need to continue a successful practice! 

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