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    Do you have the right look?

    Employers who hire based on vanity — and not experience — risk losing out on talented team members.

    As a hygienist, the main criteria that should be reviewed when being considered for employment are the following:

    • Are you licensed?
    • Are you compassionate about the care you provide?
    • Are you a dependable employee who shows up each day ready to work?

    Unfortunately, these key points are sometimes overshadowed by other vainer ones, and we’re not just talking about skin color. Now, the requirements can range anywhere from your body type to hair color to even how old you are. For some offices, if you’d like to know where you’ll fit in, or if you will at all, just take a quick look around. It’ll become quickly apparent.

    Trending article: The best ways to help dental-phobic patients

    Do you remember when you landed your first dental hygiene job? We all had butterflies and wondered if we were going to be “good enough” to serve our patients. Fortunately, the only requirements were that we were licensed by the state dental board and confident and compassionate about the care that we provided. Patients didn’t care if our hair was blonde, black or brown. Being female was also not mandatory.

    I have worked with several male hygienists who were just as great at what they did. In the end, all patients really cared about was that you did an excellent job with cleaning their teeth and educated them on proper oral hygiene, therefore making them feel like their teeth were not only important to them but to you as well. So, why should it be any different for employers? As a result, when offices choose to hire based primarily on hair color, bust size, gender, or ethnicity, they lose out on the possibility of having a great addition to their team.

    I will never forget hearing rumors of a dentist, whose specialty I will not mention, who would only hire blonde, busty, size 4, white females in their early 20s. Several women in the dental community had told me that if you didn’t have his “preferred” look, or weren’t in that 25 and under age group, then don’t even bother applying to his post. One of my favorite patients, who we had referred to said dentist’s place of work, had even joked that that dentist had enough eye candy to give any man a cavity. And when I asked him, “What does your ideal girlfriend look like?” he replied all the women who worked there. Despite what I was hearing, I still found it odd and was somewhat skeptical that all the employees could possibly be so similar, and in so many ways.

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    Ethel Hagans, RDH, MBA
    Ethel Hagans is a dental hygienist first, and then, the author of the book Extraordinary Dental Care. She is obsessed with motivating ...


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