Dental Practice Growth: Recruiting Practices And HR Insights

The new year is upon us and now is the time to start planning the changes you need to make in your dental practice in order to meet your growth goals this coming year.

Putting together a budget and reviewing marketing goals is a piece of that planning, but we’ve found many dentists don’t spend enough time focusing on dental HR and staff recruiting practices.

two people sitting at a table with a laptop, tablet and phone discussing dental HR practices

I had the opportunity to sit down with Suzin Sciabarasi, Senior Human Resources Consultant of VCFO in Austin,Texas, and discuss:

  • Hiring frameworks and processes for dental practices
  • How to identify and hire the right people for your practice
  • What can make a practice "attractive" to potential hires
  • Key mistakes made in the realm of hiring/recruiting - and how to avoid them

Click below for the complete 20 minute interview with Suzin

The Primary Takeaways From My Interview With Suzin

The successful dental practice takes hiring and dental HR issues very seriously. They see it as an integral part of their business’ success. The owner of a practice needs to have a clear structure developed in order to hire great people into your practice.

Key #1: Have Someone Manage How Your Practice Appears To Potential Employees

Simply put, someone in your dental practice needs to be in charge of “branding”. Branding is a term often used when developing marketing plans for your dental practice. In this context we’re talking about how to successfully communicate your practice’s brand to potential employees.

There needs to be one person in your practice, whether it’s the owner, CEO, office manager, or or other employee, who makes sure your practice’s brand appeals to the right potential employees.

This person needs to identify what it is that makes employees want to work for you. If you don’t have that story to tell potential employees, you’re going to miss out on hiring the right people and run into dental HR problems.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at these factors to start to understand how potential new employees see your dental practice:

  • Online reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and other employee-based review sites
  • Comments and reviews on social media about your dental practice from current and former employees
  • Referrals from current employees, are you getting any and if you are, are they the level of high-quality employees you’re looking for?

Key #2: Make It Clear Who You Want To Hire

It sounds simple, but this is something that is often overlooked or rushed in the hurry to find a new employee. Take the time to sit down and clearly identify exactly what your ideal employee looks like.

Make a list of the key competencies and requirements that need to be met, along with any specific character traits you want to look for to ensure they fit well into your dental practice’s culture.

This list can get you started:

  • Technical competencies (software, equipment, etc.)
  • Required degrees and continuing education
  • Ability to show empathy toward anxious patients
  • Have soothing demeanor and calming chairside manner
  • Systems competencies
  • Strong work ethic, willingness to pitch in and help when needed
  • Attention to detail, someone who practices their skill with focus and pride.

Key #3: Make Sure Your Practice Is Attracting The Right Employees

There are certain things your practice should offer in order to be attractive to the type of employees you need.

Every practice and every employee is different, but many have similar expectations of their employer, such as:

  • Consistency in scheduling
    Be as consistent as possible, especially when asking employees to cover later shifts or weekend hours.
  • An employee benefits package
    This should include health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, paid time off, paid holidays, and any other benefits you can offer to your employees.
  • An exceptional, approachable manager
    Millennials in particular are looking for an approachable manager they can respect and trust. The workplace culture needs to be open to dialogue.


5 millennial employees discussing dental HR insights

If employees, especially in the millennial age range, don’t feel heard or valued in the workplace, they will feel stunted and unheard, which leads to a negative work environment and the inability to retain talented employees.

Key #4: Ask The Right Questions

Once you’ve outlined the type of employee you want to hire, how do you find them? It comes down to asking the right questions during the interview.

The biggest mistake any employer can make in a job interview is to as “yes/no” questions instead of open ended questions.

Open ended questions focus on identifying if this prospective employee has the type of behavior and characteristics you’re looking for, not just the technical skills.

Don’t Ask: “Do you have experience dealing with anxious patients?”

Do Ask: “Tell me about a time you had to help a really anxious patient who could hardly open their mouth. What did you do to make that person more comfortable?”

Key #5: A Good Interview Doesn’t Guarantee You’ll Hire The Right Person

Unfortunately just because a potential employee interviews well doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be right for the job. So how can you lower your chance of hiring the wrong person or having dental HR problems down the road?

Any type of on-the-job simulation will help. Have a prospective employee come in and assist your dental assistant for the day, take note of how they interact with patients, how comfortable they are chair-side, and how they interact with your other employees.

If that isn’t possible in your practice, try a role-play during your interview. If you’re hiring someone for the front desk, have them role-play with a current employee who pretends to be an irate patient, an anxious patient, or someone calling to schedule an appointment.

Any type of real-life on the job type of simulation will give you more insight into the person you’re considering hiring, so take the time to make sure they’ll be the right fit.

Are you ready to take on 2018 and make it your dental practice’s best year yet? Making sure your practice is hiring the right people is an important piece to your continued success and I understand it can often be overwhelming.

That’s why we partner with dentists and practices like yours to help give them the support they need to meet their growth goals.

Take a step forward and schedule a 100% FREE practice growth assessment with our team to let us take a look at your practice and help you create your personalized plan for success in the new year.

Click Here To Schedule Your Free Assessment NOW


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