How to Hire the Right People for Your Dental Practice

Hiring is much more than simply collecting resumes and asking clever interview questions. It starts with a recruiting plan, a commitment to invest in the future of your practice by hiring the right people, and on-boarding those people properly. If you don’t have a strategy behind your hiring you will inevitably end up with employees who aren’t a good fit for your practice culture (remember when we talked about culture here?), who don’t have all the skills you were looking for, or who create turnover issues.

Understanding your current office culture, your values, and your goals for the future is essential to helping you identify the types of people who will be a successful addition to your practice team. That means that you shouldn’t just focus on the short-term hole you need to fill but should think about how your new team member will benefit the office on a higher level. Do they have a positive attitude and an obvious love for dentistry and helping people? Do they express an interest in self-improvement and continuing education? Are they both technically competent and armed with the proper people skills necessary for a position as part of your dental team?

You should consider all these questions and not just confirm if what’s on their resume checks all the boxes with proper work and education experience—that doesn’t always show the whole story. Someone with the highest level of technical skill may have a poor attitude or lack the proper work ethic to be a true asset to your team. But someone who’s technical skills are more than acceptable to do the job safely and successfully (even though they may not have been top of their class) with enthusiasm for dentistry can be just the staff member you were looking for.

Consider our hiring strategy at Dental City for a moment. We’re constantly on the lookout for people we believe will enhance our culture and make us an even better company to work for and with—this helps us stick to our core values and continue to grow and be successful. That means we don’t always hire the people with the most dental experience. Instead, we hire people we believe will represent Dental City well and treat our customers (like you!) with the utmost respect and desire to be your supply partner. And we’ve got a proven strategy to help us achieve our goal of hiring the right people that we think could be applied to your practice, too.

  1. Build a relationship with local colleges, universities, and technical schools. In an age with shrinking unemployment, the available talent is scarce. Local colleges are full of unbelievable students with a drive for success, looking to be an asset to whoever they work for.
  2. Create paid internship positions that provide people with an opportunity to see what it would be like to work on your team—and give you a chance to see if they’d be a good fit before you officially hire them. Odds are if they enjoy working with your team and want to stay on board you’ll want to hire them full time, too. And if you don’t have it in the budget to hire an intern, offer a shadow program where interested potential hires can spend some time in your office, observing day-to-day operations and interacting with the rest of the team. This provides a great opportunity to see if they’re worth pursuing further.
  3. Don’t stick to an interview script. Nothing is more uncomfortable than the typical strengths and weakness questions, and what are you really finding out? Everyone is expecting those questions and has canned answers on the ready. Embrace the art of conversation. If your interviewee is able to hold an interesting conversation, tell you about themselves and their accomplishments, you have every reason to expect they will embrace conversation with other employees and patients—something that is so essential in a dental practice. Their true personality will shine through when you ask better questions, and you’ll have a better sense of how they’d fit in with your team.

Hiring the right person the first time every time may not always happen. But by having a smart strategy in place for hiring you’ll set your practice up for continued success.