Make Your New Dental Employee Stick

by | May 1, 2023 | Dental Office, Employer advice, Hiring | 0 comments

Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar? 

You have been searching for the perfect Dental Hygienist or Dental Assistant to hire and you finally found one.  The interview and working interview was great, they accepted your offer and you are your team are thrilled to finally be complete.  

Then that person’s start date comes and they don’t show up.  You call them to see if they got the date or time confused and you don’t hear back.  You end up never hearing from them again…


They start, you think things are going great and then they quit after only a few short months.

These two scenarios are happening way too often in the dental field.  And we are here to help! This post shows how you can be proactive in making sure the candidate you hire is in it for the long haul.   

1st you got to find candidates

This in itself can be challenging and I have already written several posts about this. So I will link those for you below to reference.

How to get applicants to your dental job
How to get applicants to call you back
5 tips to get more applicants to your dental job post

You can also utilize our Boosted Service to get more applicants to your job post.

Next use your interviews to figure out who is in it for the long haul

When I interview applicants, I always start with a phone interview. It doesn’t need to be scheduled, rather, when you call on applicants if they answer ask “do you have a couple minutes right now to answer some questions?”

Then confirm your location and make sure they are able to make the commute daily.

Next confirm the hours, will those be a problem?

Then ask why they are leaving their current role. And how long they plan to stay in their next job. This should weed out if they are in school or planning to move.

If all of that checks out. Review the pay and benefits. And really sell them on the practice and how great of a place it is to work. You want to get them extra excited to meet you and your team! Once you have them excited schedule the formal or working interview.

During the formal or working interviews be personable and friendly.  Remember, the Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist or Dental Front Office person are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.  If you want them to join your team they have to like you.  

Make the interview more conversational and get to know them personally.  Asking about what they like to do for fun. Connecting with them on a deeper level, will increase the chances of them wanting to join your team. 

When you get a moment ask them, “What are you looking for your perfect dental Practice?”  Or “What does your perfect dental job look like?” Reconfirm that the hours, pay and benefits work for them. If they need a practice that can guarantee their hours, OR need to leave exactly at 5 everyday to pick up their kid, you need to uncover and reassure them that your practice matches up with their needed. 

If your practice doesn’t match up with their needs it is best to address it now.  The likelihood of them staying with a practice that doesn’t work with their lifestyle or schedule is slim. So don’t waste yours or their time trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. 

Then check their references

Make sure to follow your states labor law when checking references. For example, in the state of California we can really only ask if they worked there and are eligible to be rehired.  However, if they are rehireable, take this as an opportunity to ask more questions.  


  1. “Are they reliable?” – You want to know if they showed up for work on time, or if they called out sick a lot.  This will also give you a heads up if they are likely to ghost you. 
  2. “Were they a good team player?” – The success of a dental practice almost always comes back to how well the team works together.  You want to make sure you hire someone that is going to fit in well. 

Read the room when you make them an offer

When you made the offer, was there any hesitancy? Did they lack excitement? If so, you might want to see if there is something causing that apprehension. 

Is it the pay? Hours? Location? 

A quick, “Hey, you aren’t as excited as I thought you would be, what is up?” Could save you time in finding out right away if this candidate isn’t really going to accept the offer or is going to leave after a few short months. 

However, if they were excited and immediately asked “When can I start?”, you know you got a keeper. 

Lastly, between the offer and the start date stay connected

Reach out a few days after the offer has been accepted to let them know how excited you to have them join your team and reconfirm that start date.  And then a day or two before their start date, reach back out to confirm the time they should be there and give any basic instructions (parking, attire, etc) and again let them know you are thrilled to get them started. 

Once you got them in the office, keep them

Having a solid on boarding plan helps to retain your new employees. Make sure you do one-on-one reviews with your employees by the 3 month mark.  You want to make sure they are happy and give them good solid feedback they can work with.  If they don’t know how they are doing they might start looking for work elsewhere. The dentists that communicate early and often tend to have the most successful dental team. 

These are all small and simple steps but by adding them to your hiring process, should ensure that candidates start and stay in your dental practice. 


Holli Perez

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