“Red Flags” (about your dental office) according to Dental Professionals

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Dental Professionals, Employer advice, Hiring, Practice Advice | 0 comments

While looking through the Dental Groups on Facebook, I stumbled across a post that seemed to be a long rant about dental practices you should be aware of.  It sparked a massive conversation among the hygienists that were in that group about all the “red flags” they see in job posts or during their interviews.  

In this post I will list out these “red flags” and I will include how to overcome them if your office has one.

Before I get started, let me tell you what a “Red Flag” is.  A red flag is used as a warning sign of danger.  Dental Assistants, Hygienists, and front office dental personnel consider these red flags in your job posting or interview process to be warning signs that your office is less than desirable to work at.  

I broke this post into 2 sections.  Red flags they will see in your job postings and red flags they might see during their interview with your practice.  

Red Flags according to Dental Professionals about Job Posts

#1 “Rockstar” is somewhere in the job description

There is actually a few viral posts about this.  Somehow if you put “Looking for a Rockstar Dental Hygienist” Or “Rockstar Dental Assistant” somewhere in your job post it is a “red flag” that you are going to overwork them.  

I don’t believe this to be the case, I think Rockstar is just a fun word!  But if this is what Dental Hygienists and Assistants think maybe refrain from including it in your job post. 

Here are some other phrases they listed to avoid:

Work Hard, Play Hard
Fast Paced
Our team is like a family

I have recently stopped using all the terms listed above. I now post things like “Our office values family and your personal life.” Or “We foster an environment to help you develop your personal and professional growth”.  And if an office has employees that have been there a long time, I always mention that.  

#2 Your job post is Confidential

You might have many reasons to make your job posting confidential.  But what this group of hygienists seemed to agree on was that an office that has a confidential job post is trying to replace a current employee and “that is just shady and wrong” (their words not mine).  

Now whatever your reason for keeping your office confidential, you can overcome this by mentioning some nice things about your practice in the job posting.  Make sure to include pay, benefits, rough description of your location and hours.  And why you are hiring.  This could help overcome someone who sees your listing as a “red flag” and get them to apply. 

I will add that job posting on DirectDental that are marked confidential get 24% less applicants than offices that post their name. Meaning, only mark your office confidential if absolutely necessary.

#3 Pay and benefits are not listed

With everything going on in this dental job market, applicants have figured out their worth and are now asking for certain pay and benefits.  Jobs that do not list pay and benefits get 46% less applicants than job postings that include them.

IF your pay and benefits are competitive, make sure to list them big and bold up at the top.  IF they are not, make sure to list off other benefits such as a flexible work schedule or super friendly and fun dentist. 

#4 Have seen the job posting multiple times

This is another one that irked me.  First off, I am a huge believer that dental practices should always be hiring.  Secondly, this is one of the toughest markets and nobody seems to be able to hire.  This is mostly due to flaky applicants.  But the hygienists in this particular group did not see it that way.  If you find that you have to list your job for a few months, maybe include something about your employees (like a quote about how great it is to work there or how long your assistant has been with you).

AND honestly if an applicant is going to complain about seeing your post several times, they might need to ask themselves why they are on the job boards so much looking at jobs…  So please don’t let this deter you from posting your job to get your office fully staffed. 

Red Flags according to Dental Professionals about Interviews.

#1 – The office hires you the same day

This one frustrated me the most.  Especially with Hygiene.  This is the toughest market I have ever seen and hygienist get hired FAST.  I have told all my offices, if you do a working interview and you like the hygienist, make them an offer at the end of the day.  

If this is going to be a “red flag” maybe explain that you have a really good feeling about them, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to work with them so you are making an offer right now.  

#2 Patients tell them whenever they come in there is a new hygienist/assistant

This is a tough one… IF you think your candidate is going to run into this comment, you might want to chat with them about why they might hear that.  Maybe you had a hygienist on maternity leave and had temps filling in.  Or a bad run of luck with assistants going back to school or moving away.  

I feel like patients in 60% of dental offices are going to make this comment.  We are in the times of “the great resignation”.

#3 The other staff is surprised to see you back on your 2nd or 3rd day

If this is the case, in your office, maybe this is something you need to communicate with your team about.  Clearly you have employees who have been around long enough to see the revolving door of applicants, so it might be time to find out why this particular position is struggling.  

Is another employee causing trouble with the applicants?

Is your requirement for this position too difficult for most people to keep up with (30 minute hygiene appointments made this list a lot)?

Are you or someone on your team doing or saying something that is causing applicants to leave?  

Talk with your team about the challenges you have in filling this role and see if they can offer any insight into why you can’t get someone to stay past the working interview.  And if possible, reach out to any failed working interviews to see why they decided not to work with you.  Make sure to explain to them, that you need them to be honest, as most might try to give you a friendly white lie answer rather than tell you your office manager was rude to them.  

#4 Married Couple running the practice together

Several people mentioned that if the office manager is the husband or wife to the doctor or if both doctors are husband and wife then you should RUN.  

Some of my favorite clients are husband and wife teams with many long standing employees.  And I run DirectDental with my husband.  Naturally, this one made me sad to see.  

If your practice is a husband and wife team, ask an employee to speak with your applicants to let them know what a great work environment you provide.  And that should nip this “red flag” on the butt.

This post is meant to be informational for you and your practice to better understand the mindset of your applicants.  

I will say that I do feel that a bit of “mob mentality” broke out and people started listing the most ridiculous things (like don’t apply to offices with “production based bonuses” because you will be addicted to the “money”). Please take everything listed here with a grain of salt.  No matter what, if you offer competitive pay and benefits you will get candidates and then it is up to you to charm them into working with you over the 10+ other offices trying to hire them.  


Holli Perez

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