Finding and hiring exceptional dental staff

Open up the Cloud to take your practice to the next level.

Picture this: you’re a dentist running a successful dental practice with a great team of front office staff, assistants and hygienists that keep the business in tip-top shape. One day, your senior hygienist requests a leave of absence from six months up to a year.

Your challenge: to advertise for, interview and hire a capable, competent individual whose personality jives with the rest of your team — ASAP.

You have two weeks to bring someone new on board. A task of this magnitude is best undertaken using all the most efficient resources you have on hand: you, your team and an effective and efficient online platform — Cloud Dentistry. Keep reading to learn more…

First things first: Waste no time, but no rush

Certainly a busy and reputable practice such as yours cannot afford to cancel appointments because you’re short one vital person. While time is of the essence, it’s important to be mindful moving forward in finding your new dream employee. Rushing to fill a role can result in new hires who are underqualified, inexperienced or who are mismatched to your office culture.

Know what you’re looking for in a new hire

Have a good idea of the character traits you are looking for in an employee. Depending on the size of your practice, have all the staff in that department compile a list of qualities a new team member should possess. Examples could include:

  • Highly organized
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Effective team player
  • Possess high emotional intelligence
  • Caring chairside manner/friendly personality
  • Computer-literate
  • Neat and tidy in appearance

Your list can vary in the number of traits you seek, and the level of importance for each. Collaborating with your team and getting their input about what they envision in a new team member could help you create a clear and concise job ad and find the perfect person for the position.

Be clear about credentials and the level of experience you seek in a candidate. Some practitioners are happy with finding new program graduates, while others prefer people who are more seasoned. Regardless of which route you choose, be sure to conduct licensing and background checks for all candidates you shortlist (more on this later).

How to hire dental assistant?

Deck out a detailed job description

Take your time in crafting a detailed advertisement that describes the specifics of the available position. Consider all the job-related responsibilities and be sure to include:

  • Expectations around using equipment or technology
  • Clinical expertise
  • Clerical demands
  • Communication skills
  • Other soft skills as necessary

Be clear about employee classification, too. Is the role you’re looking to fill a contract or permanent position? Is it part-time or full-time? Also, indicate remuneration classification: is the employee hourly or salary?

Finally, while it’s important to list all the traits you seek in a new employee, it’s equally important to state clearly why your practice is the best place to work. What do you have to offer? Catered lunch once a month? Attractive benefits? Great workplace atmosphere?

Make your practice look like the professional “catch” your next employee as been searching for — but be sure to refrain from advertising salary and details about benefits. Doing so can run the risk of applicants only interested in the pay and perks rather than the ethics and passion of the role.

Look for dental staff professionals

professional avatar
Afsheen Mohammad Khan
Dental assistant

$20/hr

Afsheen EDUCATION Present Tamping with cloud dentistry . I have 3 years experience. International Air and Hospitality Academy - Vancouver, Washington 2018 - Airline/Travel Specialis...

professional avatar
Cynthia Myers
Dental assistant

$23/hr

I have been a general assistant for over 20 years. I live in the Katy area. I'm very good at packing cord and making acrylic temps. I take excellent impressions And can pour them up and trim them i...

professional avatar
Maria Reyes
Dental assistant

$22/hr

Cerec trained, cross trained in Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, Front desk. CPR Certified also certified in Phlebotomy, and Nitrous certified.

professional avatar
Hong Nhung Tran
Dental hygienist

$42/hr

Dental Hygienist for 11 years. I had worked for Periodontist Doctor office for 4 years. I am looking for full-time or part-time position.

professional avatar
Andrew Ebrahimian
Dental assistant

$20/hr

Since obtaining my license I have worked with over a dozens of dentists; while working full time, temping, and volunteering. I have worked with general dentists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and p...

professional avatar
Autumn Ealy
Dental assistant

$20/hr

I have worked in the dental field for 6 years. I have training in Light Pedo, light ortho, general, oral surgery, perio, and cosmetic. In currently in school so Cloud Dentistry is giving me the fle...

Hire now

Get the word out

There are numerous avenues to shout out your professional vacancy.

Posting in the classifieds could be effective is you live in a densely populated area and are looking for an older and more experienced demographic.

Word of mouth is another effective strategy, particularly if you have a great working relationship with your staff — let them spread the word among friends and colleagues, and if your stellar reputation precedes you, you may just get lucky and find the right candidate.

Temp agencies are another option, and there are some that specialize in dentistry to narrow down the search.

However, many people feel like print media is “old news,” hiring from friends of employees is limiting and temp agencies are merely “middlemen” that still take up a lot of your time than you have to spare and there are fees associated with using them. In contemporary hiring practices online outlets are the most up to date, have the farthest reach, and cost less than an agency.

That’s where Cloud Dentistry can help. We allow you to post job ads that are viewed and responded to in real time, allow you to peruse candidates’ profiles before you post, and message candidates directly to cut out wait times. Additionally, our sign-up and user fees are lower than any ad pricing or temp agency you will find.

Create your shortlist, and get down to interviews

When you have a two-week window to hire someone new, plus run your practice, time is of the essence. Another time saver is involving your staff in the hiring process, somewhere along the way.

Linda L. Miles, author of Dynamic Dentistry, recommends getting your staff in on the pre-interview portion. Miles suggests: “If you’re hiring a dental assistant, have your current assistants and office administrator ask the preliminary questions and review the resumé. If hiring a second RDH, have your current RDH and office administrator do the preliminary interview.”

Actively involving your staff is an inclusive process that can increase the likelihood of finding the most appropriate individual in skillset, ethic and personality type to add to your team culture and practice integrity.

Miles also suggests that, “schedules permitting, have the top three applicants volunteer to spend two to eight hours in the office for an on-site, final interview. The applicants should sign an agreement stating that the hours worked are not a working interview with pay, but a volunteer visit to observe. Referring to the time as a working interview may hold you liable for unemployment benefits to the applicants in some states.”

References, background checks and licensing

We cannot stress this enough: ask for three references, and conduct background and licensing checks. Also, be transparent with potential candidates that you’ll be doing so to keep the process simple.

Candidates who have difficulty providing three professional references on the spot are likely unqualified to work in your practice. Depending on your patient list — for example if you run a pediatric dentistry practice, or are otherwise working with a vulnerable section of the population — background checks are mandatory. However, they’re a good idea anyway.

Some practitioners have found when conducting random checks that licenses are lapsed or are on hold pending updates or investigations. Even after your hiring is complete, conduct the occasional screen to be sure your team members are accurate in their accreditation and current in their licensing.

Bringing your new team member on board

By now you should have gleaned your shortlist down to two or three candidates. Whoever has made the cut are potential hires, and the next step is testing them out with your team.

A good idea to see how your new person performs is to bring them in for a day to shadow. That way they will be able to see your team in action and can get a better idea of how you operate to see if they are good mutual fit. Be clear that you are not conducting a working interview, as different states can treat these as paid hours or hold you liable for unemployment benefits to the candidate.

All of these responsibilities when hiring someone new can seem like a daunting task. Make it easier on yourself with a little bit of help from the Cloud Dentistry platform to take some of the stress out.

Happy hiring!


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