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How to recruit and retain the best talent for your dental practice


Building a team is more than evaluation experiential qualifications.

As the dental industry grows more competitive, qualified employees become harder to find. Whether your practice is looking for dental assistants, hygienists or administrative staff, finding and keeping highly skilled dental employees may require rethinking your hiring process.

Rethink recruiting

Most practice owners think that seeking out potential employees requires looking for people with previous dental experience with assumption that these types of candidates will seamlessly transition into the practice. Just because a candidate does have prior experience doesn’t mean they will fit your team - potential hires can bring their own set of issues into this new role, including a sense of entitlement. 

To create a strong team culture, consider hiring employees without any previous dental experience. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship. The new employee is grateful for the opportunity and you can train them to specifically fit your practice. Rather than recruiting potential hires with good experience, start looking for someone who simply makes a great fit for your team.

How to recruit

Shifting your recruiting mindset may seem difficult, but it can actually be one of the easiest things to do. Rather than searching job-listing websites, try asking current employees for referrals. Consider people in your everyday life who seem like they might fit your practice’s culture. 

Some of your best employees may know someone they can refer. You could even offer the current employee a monetary bonus if the new hire lasts for more than 90 days. Your employees already know your team culture and may be able to find referrals who would be a good fit. Plus, the current employee may be more likely to help that new hire succeed in their job because they have a vested interest in them, by way of association and because of the possibility for a bonus.

Try to see the good in people around you. If you know someone who seems to be dedicated, hard-working, and task-oriented, they will probably be able to translate those skills to your practice, even without previous dental experience. They will be grateful you saw good qualities in them and will strive to demonstrate those qualities once they are hired.

How to interview

The interview process at your practice should be a positive experience. Your goal is to make potential hires comfortable enough so you can see if they are the right fit for your team. During the interview, make sure your current team members know them by name. Make the entire experience positive for them, from the moment they walk into your practice to after they have left. Treat these candidates the same way you would treat new patients.

Related reading: 6 easy steps to making sure your new hire becomes a great hire

Digital technology for recruiting

Before potential employees apply and interview with you, they will research your business. Your website and social media accounts are the first places most people start. They are seeking to learn what you are communicating to others. You can both impress potential candidates and learn more about them through a live website chat service. Professional live chat specialists can work as an extension of your team, communicating with everyone who visits your website, 24 hours a day, including potential employees. They are trained to engage with every website visitor and can steer the conversation to get to know them better. This saves you time in the hiring process and helps you find the best candidates faster.

From recruiting to retention

Good candidates result from thoughtful hiring process. Getting referrals from your best employees and vetting them through various mediums - including live website chat - will net you great candidates for the interview process. Taking the time to create a positive interview process shows those qualified candidates the benefits of working at your practice. Thorough hiring processes also reflect a strong company culture, which ultimately creates dedicated employees who will stay with your practice the longest.

Whatever the staffing needs of your practice, it’s still possible to find and keep the best workers even in today’s crowded labor markets. Take the time to rethink your approach and get ready to grow.

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