Solo to DSO: How Successful Practices Hire

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report May 2022, Volume 56, Issue 5

Take a look at some of the tools and tips to find the right fit for your practice when hiring new employees.

When I started DentalPost, I had spent years working and temping in more than 100 dental offices in Atlanta as a dental hygienist. Doing this gave me the perspective and passion I needed to launch DentalPost, which I founded upon the idea that dental professionals needed a better way to easily connect with and understand how to find their best match in a dental employer. I still have that same passion today, but it’s expanded. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I also have a passion for helping dental practice owners and partners better understand how to make better hires and create “sticky” dental teams.

Hiring has never been more challenging. I’ve experienced from all sides what works, what doesn’t and what we can do to stay competitive and creative in today’s hiring climate. 2021’s “Great Resignation” movement has affected all industries globally, including dentistry. But instead of talking about the Great Resignation, we should be talking about the “Great Restructuring” and what that means for dental practices as it relates to hiring. 

If you haven’t yet heard of The Great Restructuring, it’s what business analysts are predicting businesses looking to maintain and grow must do in 2022––scrutinize expenses, cut operational costs and find new ways of working to address supply chain issues, new technologies, and higher labor costs.

New hires demand significant wage increases, which triggers long standing employees' demands for commensurate compensation. If we’re paying higher wages, shouldn’t we at least do more to assure that we attract the very best talent and retain the valuable team members we have? While the market rates aren’t in our control, there are some things that can help us make the most of the situation.

Here are steps every hiring manager can take right now to start making better hires, faster:

  • Pre-Hiring Prep
    • Do a culture check. Would you want to work at your office if you didn’t own it? Can you live up to the “Find a job you love” standard or are you just a production factory? Be better. Set an intention to be a dental practice that every RDH, DA and Front Office person aspires to work for. 
    • Take assessments of the existing team. This is a game changer! Doing this helps to identify soft skill gaps on the existing team, in order to identify who would be the best fit to complement the team. A well-rounded team with different strengths and drives is key to keeping things running smoothly. Missing that problem solver? How about an influencer type with charisma that inspires the team? Maybe there are too many dominant personalities and you could use someone who is happy to follow another team member’s lead. 
    • Write a better job advertisement. Our job description needs to paint a compelling picture of what a job seeker can expect in the role. A good employment relationship is a win-win. Instead of focusing on “What’s in it for me,” write the job posting from the place of “What’s in it for them.” This is an advertisement, rather than a job description. This is where we get to woo them and sell ourselves and our team. 
    • Scale Up Your Profile. Love your practice and think it’s a great place to work? Shout it from the rooftops! Employer Profile Pages on DentalPost are a great resource for a practice to showcase its unique “persona” to jobseekers. Stand out in a sea of sameness with a custom image gallery highlighting the office and team, as well as a personalized introduction to add a bit of personality to the practice profile.
    • Understand the Competition. To win the talent war, we need to understand our competition. Look at the job postings from other area practices. What are they offering? Is their ad more compelling? What details can be added to your job postings to make it more compelling to a potential candidate?
    • Know who you are looking for. When we’re short-staffed, our knee-jerk reaction is to find someone fast, but hiring the wrong person can end up costing us time, energy and money in the long run. (Did you know a bad hire can cost us up to 60% of an employee’s salary?!) But, when it’s done right, we save time and money. Be clear about who you are looking for. It pays to take time to laser focus on the skills and traits we most need and want in a new hire. One key step toward this is to map the strengths and skills of the existing team using DentalPost’s free online assessments tools. This will help to better see the holes and gaps in team members’ abilities, talents, and potential. It will also help save time and money by channeling efforts so that we are narrowing in on only the best possible fit for our team, saving time and money in the end
  • Reduce Bias To Uncover Hidden Candidates 
    • Our biases can (and often do) get in the way of hiring the best people for our teams and businesses. The result? Overlooking great candidates in the screening process - something few of us can afford these days. We all have both conscious and unconscious bias. The good news is that there is something we can do about it.
    • Rather than go on gut instinct, which can sometimes mislead us, we instead can focus on the skills and personal qualities that make for a great dental professional and team member, and bring harmony to our practice. A well-rounded team with different strengths and drives is key to keeping things running smoothly. 
    • SmartView by DentalPost is the only unbiased screening tool in the industry that can actually help hiring managers expand the candidate pool by temporarily removing candidate photos and names. This lets your hiring manager focus on the things that really matter to the role – skills, assessments and profile scores - rather than personal preferences which aren’t reliable hiring criteria. Unbiased hiring and screening opens us up to candidates who may be a perfect fit, but who we may have otherwise overlooked.
  • Take advantage of premium hiring packages from the start. A comprehensive hiring approach that adds a resume subscription to your job posting can help save you time, money and maximize your hiring efforts by reaching more candidates right from the start - something we all need in today’s hiring climate.
  • Hire smarter using data. Once we identify and short-list top candidates, our next “secret weapon” to help us dig deeper includes assessments, ranging from skills and core values to personality traits and emotional intelligence. Again, evaluate the existing team to identify gaps. Need leadership on the team because it’s lacking? Or maybe there are too many “big picture” folks and not enough detail-oriented team members? 
    • Having everyone on the team take the “DISC” personality assessment helped us see what makes us tick. Then, we were able to determine what we were missing. Plus, if you already know the soft skills required for the open position, it will make it easier and faster spotting the right fit. For example, for a Front Desk Coordinator, the ideal candidate would ideally need to be a “CS” (Conscientious, Supportive) personality type. Anyone with all “D” type was likely to clash with the team dynamic. While you never rule someone out completely based on their DISC assessment, it’s a great tool in helping make a smart hire. 
  • Know how you compare. Are you being competitive in the marketplace? See how your practice stacks up, and what changes you can make to attract and keep the best talent!

More than ever, we all have to level up our hiring games to be successful in this new era of employment. Go beyond and get outside your comfort zone when it comes to your search. An open mind combined with perseverance and extra effort yields great rewards. When we take an active role in attracting and bringing people into our businesses, we give ourselves the advantage and increase our odds of hiring right the first time, and building teams that thrive.