Dentists: When hiring, please get out of your own way.

by | May 16, 2022 | Employer advice, Practice Advice | 0 comments

I just got a call from a client thanking me for getting her out of her own way. 

She had been struggling to hire for a while, then she got smart and enlisted us to do her candidate searching for her

During her 30 day service we sent her 13 amazing front desk candidates and she hired the best candidate for her.  BUT, she almost passed on the candidate she hired. 

A week ago, she called me a little frustrated that we would send her such an over qualified candidate and that there was no way she should bother interviewing her because said candidate wouldn’t take the role.  I explained that we already spoke with the candidate about her qualifications and her long term goals.  

This particular candidate, was retiring from Dental Consulting and was simply looking for a basic front office position where she could happily work for the next 10 to 20 years.  I begged her to just meet with her.  

She did, she loved her and hired her.  They sailed into the sunset, happily ever after.  

It got me thinking.  How many of dentists are missing out on great candidates because they assume the candidate is over-qualified?  Or under-qualified? Or lives too far away? Or their resume has too many grammatical errors?  

Well, based on all the info I know from staffing and recruitring in the dental field for 10 plus years, its a lot.   

Here are some are way you get in your own…way.  My hope is that next time you see an applicant that falls into one for these categories that you give them a call to see what their story is. 

#1 Over-qualified

I have dentists tell me all the time they don’t want to hire someone with over x amount of years of experience.  Or a dentist from another country that is a DA out here.  Or a dental consultant or hygienist who applied to your dental receptionist job.  And to me, I KNOW these are all missed opportunities.  

Dental Assistants and Hygienists that have been in the field a long time, actually probably have more staying power than someone only a few years in.  These candidates usually don’t like to job hop.  Yes, there might be some bad habits to break, but you might learn something great from them and have them employed in your office for many years to come.  

Dentist in other countries that are assistants here.  I have placed many, and the doctors usually fight me on it.  But they end up being some of the best assistants ever.  With a little help and support from you, they could get their RDAEFs and run their own column.  Can you say ChaChing!?!?

Consultants or Hygienists applying to your front office job.  Another no brainer.  Call them and feel them out.  They might be burnt out from consulting or have an injury that no longer allows them to practice hygiene.  You could get all that knowledge and expertise for $25 to $30/hr.  What a steal!

#2 Under-qualified 

 I get this one.  I promise I do.  Most dental offices have 1 person who does 1 particular job.  How are you supposed to train when you don’t have anyone to train them?  

But, one of the greatest challenges facing dentistry is the lack of persons entering the field.  There are applicants out there who desperately want to enter the field but nobody will hire them. 

If you need to hire for front desk.  And you find a candidate with all the other skills, maybe hire them and get a consultant in to train them. 

Or if you can slow down your hygiene schedule for a month or two, so a new hygienist can get her grove, do it! 

Please don’t pass up on a potentially awesome employee because they are a dental newbie. 

#3 No experience in your specialty

One of my clients is a periodontal practice.  They have been growing rapidly and in the last year and a half have added 3 assistants to their team.  The first time we worked together they declined all of my candidates that didn’t have periodontal or surgical assistant.  I had to fight for them to hire someone with general experience.  They finally did and love their assistant.  With their next to assistants, we also trained general DA’s and they love everything about periodontal surgery.  

They now look to hire the right personality and passion rather than focus on periodontal skills.  

Please, if you are a specialty office, post a job for Dental Assistants and if you find someone who is eager to break into your specialty, give them a shot.  

#4 Resume is not appealing

“Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” – Howard Schulz, Chairman & CEO of Starbucks

I will actually drop clients if they try to pass on a candidate because of how their resume looks.  Front office, yes I guess you should be pickier there.  But for a Dental Assistant, their writing skills will have almost no impact on how amazing their assisting skills are.  

Plus, Indeed and Ziprecruiter reformat and stript the resumes without the applicant knowing.  So maybe they did have a nice formatted resume for you.  But you passed and now you will never know.  

If their resume has their contact information and shows they have their Dental Assisting certificates, then call them and schedule an interview.   

#5 Address on resume is too far away

More than likely, the person applied and didn’t realized your job was further away from them than they are willing to commute.  But, sometimes, you get lucky and the person is relocating.  Quickly call and ask about their location.  If too far for them, part as friend.  If they want to relocate, schedule that interview. 

#6 You don’t want to text them

“I don’t want them to have my personal contact info.”  I hear this all the time when I suggest an office texts thier applicants. 

In reality the candidates is more likely to ghost you than stalk you.  So, there is really no need to worry about that. 

If you are serious about having applicants get back in touch with you, then text them.  You will see your response rate go way up. 

#7 You don’t want to pay a new hire more than your current employees

Well… then you most likely aren’t going to hire.  And you will most likely lose your current employees to offices that are paying them more in line with the current pay rates.  I’m not saying this to be mean or rude, it is just the way the dental world works right now.  Give your employees a raise and then increase your pay rate to where it needs to be. 

If you need help to figure out where to cut costs to justify all the pay raises, check out this post.

This post may be a hard pill to swallow, but this job market isn’t improving anytime soon.  So you have to adjust and try new things if you want to hire someone great.  

As always, I am here if you need to chat and game plan your hiring needs.  Reach out!  


Holli Perez 

DirectDental- How it works for Dental Professionals
DirectDental- How it works for Dental Offices
DirectDental Home Page