Finding employees that are productive, motivated, and fit well with your practice has always been a challenge. And it’s become an even steeper mountain to climb since the pandemic began!

Looming large in all of this is less availability in the dental workforce as a whole. Why? Well, any number of reasons: parents homeschooling their kids, hesitancy to work in a healthcare environment, lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, and so on. All of which adds up to a potential staff shortage, especially exacerbated if there was already a shortage of dental personnel in your area pre-pandemic.

And despite what appears to be a “bleak” outlook, it is completely possible to find great employees right now. In fact, many of our clients all over the US and Canada have hired wonderful new team members recently and their practices are running at highest-ever levels of production.

So, it definitely IS possible. You just need to get a little creative and more attentive and “expert” about hiring.

And to help you do just that, here are eight ways to hire top level talent…right now!

1. Get professional about hiring.

In many dental offices, the Owner and Office Manager consider hiring as something they have to do out of necessity but tend to give it little attention because they have their “real jobs” to work on.

But hiring IS a job. And it’s an important job if you want to have a successful, growing dental practice.

Now is the time to get good at it. Take responsibility for it and be professional about it.

If you’ve struggled to hire and keep good team members, it’s easy to blame the candidates, the environment, or other factors for your ineffectiveness. But please remember, if this is your job and it’s not working out, you bear the responsibility for it. It is up to you to learn how to do it competently and get it done.

2. Use multiple channels to attract candidates.

Don’t just post on one job listing website and call it a day.

Use multiple job listing websites. Use word-of-mouth. Put up signs in your office. Ask your staff and your patients if they know anyone that’s looking for a job. You may even have a few patients you’d want to hire! Give recruitment bonuses to your staff when they refer someone that ends up getting hired (and working out for at least 30-90 day). Use social media. Get the word out however you can.

3. For non-provider jobs, open the search up to include people without dental experience.

Many of the best dental employees I’ve ever worked with came from jobs that had nothing to do with dentistry. There are qualities like a positive attitude, excellent communication skills, productivity, etc, that are far more important than whether or not they’ve used a dental software before.

So, if it’s a position or skill set that could be trained in-house, don’t focus only on people with dental experience. This more than 10-50Xs your potential hires!

If you need help training new employees, check out DDS Success, our online, on-demand video training platform. We have training for every administrative position in a dental practice – reception, scheduling, finance insurance, and Treatment Coordinator! You can get a free demo of how it works by clicking here.

4. Interview more people and consider doing group interviews.

Hiring is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find the right person.

If you only have a few potential candidates, the odds that one of them will be the perfect fit are low.

I know that doing one-on-one interviews can be very time-consuming, though. So, for front office positions with a ton of applicants, consider doing group interviews. Get a bigger group of candidates in front of you, then you can pick out the best candidates for a follow-up one-on-one interview. If you don’t have enough space in your office to maintain social distancing or gatherings are prohibited in your locality, you can do it on Zoom or its equivalent.

If you end up with two great candidates, then count your lucky stars and hire them both! Don’t choose one or the other. Bring them both onboard and either a) one of them won’t make it, and that’s okay because you have a backup already being trained, or b) you have two great employees, and that’s okay too because you can always find a way to utilize a highly productive team member to increase practice production and income.

5. Get applicants in for interviews FAST

If you’re desperate to hire right now, then other businesses near you probably are too. That means the best candidates will be snatched up quickly. So as soon as you get a good application, get them scheduled to come in for an interview within 24 hours, ideally.

If a week goes by between receiving the application to doing the interview, that’s too long. A fast-paced, productive candidate very well may have gotten another job by then with a business that didn’t wait.

7. Once they’re hired, have a process for quickly establishing if they really are a good fit for the job.

Hiring the wrong person is not the biggest mistake you can make.

The bigger mistake is keeping the wrong person too long.

Most of us tend to hold on to employees that aren’t doing a good job with the hope that somehow, miraculously, they’ll turn into a completely different person and suddenly become the team member you need them to be. It usually doesn’t work out…and the practice suffers.

So, your training for a new hire should be set up to filter out people who aren’t going to make it.

If your training is set up properly, you’ll be able to see if they’re not catching on, unable to perform tasks required for the job despite good instruction, or if don’t learn from their mistakes and continue to fumble continuously. If this happens, then act quickly to get someone that fits better onto the job.

7. Have a preplanned training regimen that allows new employees a real chance at succeeding on the job.

Simply having your new employee sit next to an existing staff member who explains everything about the job while they desperately take notes is NOT the correct way to train people.

Training should include the following things:

  • Orientation to the new office so they feel comfortable there and understand the way you do things.
  • Formal and complete training manuals and/or videos, including instructions for every function of their job.
  • Apprenticing with an existing team member as they start to actually perform tasks.
  • A gradient to their training, so they’re not just thrown in all at once. They should learn duties one-at-a-time until they’re competent at it before going on to the next thing.
  • Split time between training and working, so you can see throughout the training process if they are really learning the job and can do the work competently.

I know it can be intimidating to come up with all these training processes. If you don’t have complete manuals for each job, it’s a big task.

This is why we created DDS Success, our on-demand video training platform. We provide the step-by-step instructions and explanations of how each job works. It saves you (and your team) a ton of time and makes the training more effective. I suggest using it! Do a free demo here to check it out.

8. Always be looking for good candidates. Don’t wait until you need someone.

As I mentioned above, hiring is a very real part of your job. And it’s something that is always a part of your job. So you should always be on the lookout for good employees.

If you wait until you’ve lost a key team member, then you’re going to either lose practice production while the position is empty, or you’re going to hire the wrong person because you’re so desperate to fill it quickly.

So don’t do that. Be on the lookout, so when you do need someone, you’ve got a plan in place quickly. Or even if you don’t particularly need to hire at the moment, but someone fantastic comes along, you may just want to bring them on and find a role for them. There’s always lots of important work to be done in a growing dental practice.

I hope these tips help!

The bottom line is, hiring and personnel is a job. If you are not successful at it right, don’t blame the candidates or the climate—get the training you need to be a real pro at it. We can help. Give us a call at (800) 640-1140 or fill out the form here if you’d like to learn more.


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