Staffing issues…

While they have always been prevalent in dentistry, they have only intensified in the post-coronavirus environment!

And what we’re seeing? Well, you have a ton of dentists that are:

  • Understaffed,
  • Have staff who can’t come back to work yet,
  • Or staff don’t want to (or just aren’t) going to come back, and
  • To add insult to injury, when trying to fill an open position, we see doctors having trouble finding good candidates, or
  • Candidates don’t follow through after the interview!

And these problems are not limited to any particular position! It could be administrative staff, hygienists, assistants – you name it!

So, yes, right now dentists have a real problem.

And look, it’s easy to get “stuck” on the negative here.  You know, that colleague whose staff don’t want to come back to work because they are getting more from unemployment! Or that applicant taking job interviews just to prove that they’re “looking for work” to keep qualifying for unemployment!

(Related: Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes When Hiring Dental Staff)

The bottom line is that people “gaming” the system are only a small percentage of your potential hires. Most people don’t do this.

That said, trying to hire by doing the same old thing isn’t going to work right now.  And that’s the subject of this post! Specifcially, I want to share seven things that MGE Clients are doing to quickly find and hire qualified candidates in the aftermath of COVID-19.

1. Advertise in more places

Placing an employment “ad” is just that – ADVERTISING.  If your “advertising” is not working, well, some changes are in order! Assuming your ad is well written (see point #2 below), you’ll need to appeal to MORE PEOPLE, to get more prospective employees.

The more people you reach, the more responses you’ll get, and the more likely you’ll be able to find your candidate!

(Related: 4 Tips for Hiring Great Front Office Staff)

There are a number of places you can advertise, like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster.com, ZipRecruiter, iHireDental, DentalPost, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, and many others. There may be Facebook groups for your community that you could post in. Even bulletin boards at local markets, gyms, community centers, schools, etc.

I also recommend broadening the categories you post the ad in. Don’t limit yourself just to dental (see point #6 below). You can post in general administrative job categories to reach more people. There are plenty of people formerly employed in customer service and retail who, with a little training, would do great in dental.

It may cost you a little more, which I know you don’t want to hear after being shut down for 1-2 months.  But how much is having that position unfilled costing your practice?

Now, what if you get too many applications—so many that you’ll never have time to interview all these candidates? Don’t worry we cover that below.

2. Your hiring advertisement

Again, a hiring ad is advertising. People tend to forget that.

And in advertising, you want to stand out, grab the attention of the people you’re looking for, and motivate them to take action.

And if you do this right, it’ll isolate the people you’re looking for.

So, don’t just put the job title and functions on there.

(Related: Hiring the Right Receptionist for Your Dental Practice)

Include some information about your practice and office culture—the mission or purpose of your practice, what it’s like to work there, the attitude of the team, etc.—and the qualities you’re looking for in an employee.

You may be a busy, rapidly growing practice looking for an energetic person that likes talking with people to use all their skills in a fun, fast-paced environment. Your mission statement may be to help people in your community get healthy and eradicate dental disease.

Those are all words that’ll attract people that want to be productive, busy and work together with a great team. And it won’t attract people that want to just keep to themselves and coast along with minimal effort.

3. Pay attention to the candidates’ ability to communicate during the application process

One of the biggest “tells” for whether or not someone will be a great, productive team member is their ability to communicate—and their willingness to communicate.

Dentistry is a “people business,” and requires interaction with patients and other team members. Having quick, positive communication is essential.

If someone is slow to get back to you, doesn’t bother to mention important things, or isn’t clear with their communication—that’s not a good sign!

Another thing you could try? Put on your ads that you want the prospective employee to call in for an interview.

(Related: Free Workshop: How to Find and Hire Quality Staff Quickly)

If someone picks up the phone and promptly calls your office to apply, that could be a sign that they have a better communication ability than someone who just sends their resume in a few days later. You don’t have to do this, but you might want to try!

Throughout the hiring process, if someone takes a long time to reply to your emails, calls, or text messages…that’s not a great sign either.

It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s an indicator.

4. Act FAST when you receive an application

If you’re available when someone calls in, then take the call and do a quick initial interview over the phone and then, if appropriate, schedule a more in-depth interview.

People who are inherently ambitious, productive, and communicate well don’t tend to sit around waiting for a job for a long time. A great candidate most likely won’t be complacent with being unemployed for a long time. They’ll apply to multiple places and someone will snap them up quickly.

So, you need to move quickly if you want to get the best candidates. Get them in for an interview within 24-48 and then make a decision quickly.

5. Don’t expect to hire the first person you interview. Schedule lots of interviews.

I know it’s hard to fit interviews into an already busy schedule, but hiring is a numbers game. The more applications you receive and the more people you interview, the more likely you are to find the right person.

(Related: Dental Office Hiring: Are You Waiting for a Unicorn Candidate?)

Nowadays with tools like Zoom or other video conference platforms, it’s easy to schedule a quick interview. You can even do it from home if you aren’t able to carve out time at the office during the day.

6. Don’t require prior dental experience for front office positions.

You want someone that is bright and willing. You can easily teach someone how a dental office works.

For new employee training, I’d suggest our on-demand video training platform, DDS Success, we have full positional training for the Receptionist, Scheduling Coordinator, Financial Coordinator, etc. We make it very easy for you to train up a new employee with no prior dental experience.

So, don’t narrow your search and deprive yourself of great candidates.

7. Think outside the box. Ask your staff, patients, colleagues and friends if they know anyone that’s looking for work. Put up a sign in your office.

People tend to socialize with others that share common interests and ideals. So, if you have a productive, upbeat staff member, or a patient or friend that’s upbeat and a great communicator—ask them if they know anyone that would like a job!

You may even have patients that are looking for work themselves and never considering applying at your office until you brought it up.

And keep asking people. Don’t just ask one or two people and call it quits. Just like with the hiring ads, the more people you reach the more likely you are to get a response.

You can even keep an eye out for people you meet in passing. If they stand out to you, then ask if they’d be interested in a job.

And I’d definitely recommend attending local study club meetings (even if they are virtual) and talking to your colleagues. They may know someone.

I hope these tips help!

If you would like more help, go ahead and reach out to us today. We’ll give you a free consultation and give you some guidance with your hiring efforts. Call us at (800) 640-1140 now or fill out the form here to schedule a time.


One Response to “Hiring Tips for Your Dental Practice in the Post-COVID-19 World!”

  1. Ali Goudarzi

    Thank you for the great information.
    The hiring of dental associates has become an auction game. It is a competition among dental offices. The people are smart, and they are looking for the highest pay. They know the numbers, and they know the demand for dental staff, and most of them are pretty good in negotiation.

    Before the coronavirus era, we were looking for a dental assistant for more than six months with no luck in Seattle, WA area.
    I think you either have to steal employees from other offices or take the risk and hire and train newbies with the hope that they may stay or leave for higher wages.


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