Last updated on September 24th, 2020 at 12:26 pm

Dania Williams
Practical Director MGE


Hiring Dental Staff Doesn’t have to Give You an Ulcer! - The MGE Blog“I wish I had a perfect staff…. I wish I had a perfect staff…. I wish I had a perfect staff….”

How many times have you said (or wished) something like this?  If you’re like any of your colleagues – I would bet quite a bit!

Hiring can be a headache…you’re missing key positions in the office, there doesn’t seem to be any good applicants—or the good ones you do get don’t show up (or don’t seem so good after a week or two)!

In fact, about 95% of the new clients (dentists) I speak with wish they would never have to deal with finding, hiring, and training staff…ever again. I’ve interviewed doctors who would rather pull their own teeth….without anesthetic…than get involved in the hiring process (really, no joke). Only a few really seem to actually enjoy the process.

That said, it’s an enormously important subject and mastering it is virtually a requirement for a productive, growing practice.

With that in mind, here are a few tips that can make the hiring process a bit easier on you:

1.      Have a good attitudeHiring Dental Staff Doesn’t have to Give You an Ulcer! - The MGE Blog

I mentioned earlier that a few dentists seem to enjoy the search for new employees. They have fun interviewing new candidates…and guess what—they never seem to have any problem adding great new employees to their team. It can almost seem like magic!

If you hate the subject and try to avoid it, you’re not going to get good results. Think about it: in dentistry, don’t you get the best results with the procedures you’re most interested in and enjoy the most? Because you love doing it, it usually turns out to be some of your best work!

Apply this concept to hiring. If you don’t like it, inevitably, you’ll end up waiting too long to interview candidates, not doing enough outreach to potential candidates, giving off a bad impression in interviews, or doing something to shoot yourself in the foot.

So, if you don’t like the hiring process, you’re going to have to change your attitude about it. Find something you can be interested in or have a little fun with. Maybe you drum up some enthusiasm about meeting new people or searching for right resume. At the very least, have a positive outlook about building a great team.

2.      Run more ads

One of biggest mistakes I see is a person placing maybe one or two ads and that’s it. Sometimes if never occurs to them that if they’re not getting enough response, they should do more promotion.

When a client isn’t getting enough applications, I usually advise that should run five or more ads simultaneously. You can advertise on craigslist.com, Monster.com, careerbuilder.com, LinkedIn.com, ihiredental.com, dentalworkers.com, and so on.

Now, I know what you’re going to say, “But that’s expensive!”

Yes. It can be expensive…but how costly is it for you to have that position unfilled? I’d be willing the bet that the cost of operating without that assistant or receptionist or treatment coordinator is MUCH more than you would spend on ads. So bite the bullet, promote, and get the position filled quickly so you stop losing money.

You can also use social media. Post about it on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You can reach a lot of people for little (or nothing) that way.

3.      Search for resumes online

Websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and even Craigslist.com now allow you to sort through and read resumes online. Spend a little time on this and then call or email the candidates that fit what you are looking for.

4.      Use your connections

Your network in the dental industry is larger than you think it is. I’m sure you have a supply rep, CareCredit rep, accountant, specialists you work with, colleagues, classmates from college or dental school, etc. Send them emails or give them a call and see if they know anyone who’s looking for a job.

5.      Keep some business cards on you Hiring Dental Staff Doesn’t have to Give You an Ulcer! - The MGE Blog

Dentistry is a people business.  You can run into good “people” in any given situation (at the bank, the store, etc.) When you do, tell them you’re looking for people like them to give you a call if they’re interested. Keep an eye out when you’re out at restaurants or the supermarket. Some of our best receptionists and service personnel have been waitresses, retail workers, or acquaintances that were bright and handled people well.

6.      Look within your office

Your staff and your patients are bound to know somebody who’s looking for a job. Check with your staff during morning meetings, and let your patients know you’re hiring. Keep a sign up that says something to the effect of, “We’re hiring, inquire within.”

When Dr. Winteregg was in practice, he very rarely ran hiring ads—all of his employees came from his patient base. Chances are your staff have friends just like them, which is why your best staff members’ referrals are often good. (Don’t skip the usual interview and hiring process with these candidates, though, even if they come with rave recommendations.)

7.      Don’t fret when applicants don’t show up

The truth is, not everybody shows up after applying for a job. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong. When people are in a job hunt, they often apply to a bunch of places, meaning they might accept another job or change their mind before their appointment with you comes. Of course, it would be nice if they’d call and let you know they took another job, but that’s not always going to happen.

So just keep promoting and realize that not everyone will show up. And—this is important—act fast. The longer you sit on an application before calling them in for an interview…the most likely it is that they’ll end up getting hired somewhere else—especially the good ones. Great employees usually get snapped up fast.

8.      It’s a numbers game. Don’t expect to hire the first person you interview—or even the first ten

Hiring Dental Staff Doesn’t have to Give You an Ulcer! - The MGE BlogFinding the right employee for your practice can take some patience sometimes. If that right person shows up right away—as one of the first couple applications you get—then you got lucky. Sometimes that person comes along after you’ve already interviewed twenty or even thirty others.

Of course… interviewing thirty people one-on-one can be pretty time consuming. That’s way too much time for the doctor to spend.  That’s a big reason I recommend scheduling the initial interview in group format—so you can see 5-10 candidates at a time, then narrow that down to the best ones for individual interviews. We have a specific procedure for doing group interviews. Contact MGE if you’d like to learn how.

9.      Not everyone you hire will work out long-term

The last tip I’ll leave you with is not to hold onto a non-performing employee for too long because you don’t want to have to replace them (and go through the hiring process again). Sometimes, after a few weeks, you realize this new employee isn’t performing like you thought they would. That’s okay. Let them go and keep hiring. Don’t beat yourself up about making a mistake by hiring them in the first place. Some people interview well but don’t perform well. We do what we can to get as much insight as possible during the interview process, but it’s very unlikely you’ll bat 1000%. Make sure you are training new employees correctly and giving them a chance to succeed (for advice on how to do this properly, read this blog post), but if that’s alright, then just move on and find a great new candidate.


I hope this helps ease some stress for you. If you really implement all the points I mentioned, I’d be very surprised if you don’t receive an abundance of good candidates. So keep a positive outlook and build your team!

If you feel you could use some more help with this subject, give MGE a call. We are always willing to help. Good luck!


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