4 Perspectives on The Hiring Nightmare in Dentistry


We share the perspectives of 4 different roles on the hiring and staffing crisis in the dental practice.

4 Perspectives on The Hiring Nightmare in Dentistry. Photo courtesy of Prostock-studio/stock.adobe.com.

4 Perspectives on The Hiring Nightmare in Dentistry. Photo courtesy of Prostock-studio/stock.adobe.com.

The Dental Assistant

“I need a job. I work in a corporate dental practice that told us last week that they are closing this location in 4 weeks. No explanation. Not much notice to find a new job and get health insurance. I have only been working here for 3 weeks. Now, I must go back into the job search. This is infuriating and wrong. It is scary to think about not having a paycheck and having to juggle my bills like this. How could they hire me and let me go so quickly? Wouldn’t it have been more ethical to put hiring on hold if this was coming down the pike?”

The Office Leader

“When is this staffing crisis going to end? No one understands what I am going through! The staff is frustrated with me because we are working short. The dentist is pressuring me to ‘fix this’ as soon as possible. How exactly am I supposed to do this? There is no bandwidth. I am putting out fires every day and covering for the jobs that are open. On top of this, I must interview and onboard. It isn’t like I just have 1 position to fill. And the sad part is I don’t see an end in sight.”

The Recruiter

“I am between a rock and a hard place. Sourcing candidates, screening them, and then trying to get them in before they land jobs elsewhere is nearly impossible. The people I am recruiting are working at other practices. That means that we need to bend to interview them. To be clear, that means phone interviews, video interviews, combining an interview with an observation instead of hoping they will come back for the next interview. I know everyone is busy, but there is only so much I can do. The ghosting is out of control. Probably 40% of applicants ghost. Then, we lose another 20% trying to get them an interview with the office leader. Let’s not talk about the ones who except the job and then don’t show up.”

The Dentist

“I don’t get it. We are paying top dollar for salary and benefits in our area plus generous sign on bonuses, yet the recruiter is not finding me staff quick enough. Every time I turn around, it is costing me more money whether it is Indeed or the “creative” ideas our recruiter comes up with. We have great reviews online, but I just don’t get it. COVID played a role in this problem, but to be honest…I am so tired of this stress. Why can’t we staff these positions? The worst is I have staff that should be terminated. I now must make choices whether to terminate or keep a poorly performing employee. Why? Because you and I both know we can’t replace them.”

I share these viewpoints as a recruiter because everyone is feeling the pain of the shortage. The key is to have a recruiter who doesn’t stop coming up with creative ways to recruit. They interview at 6 AM or 7 PM depending on the availability of the candidate. Another key is to have an office leader who is also flexible by interviewing any way they can to grab the candidate before they are off the market. The dentist needs to move this process forward as well. They want to meet the staff before hire, but if that is not possible do the smart thing. Give control over hiring to the Office Leader.

This is really a team effort. And be aware, that current staff need to know that they are needed, respected, and are a part of the team.

Share with me your thoughts on the different perspectives of hiring at diana2@discussdirectives.com.

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