How to Prevent Dental Candidates from Ghosting You

by | Oct 31, 2023 | Employer advice, Hiring, In The News | 0 comments

I know Halloween just passed, but you are likely still being haunted by the dental professionals who have ghosted you recently. 

If you are lucky enough to not know what ghosting means, please let me explain. 

In the dental field, ghosting is when a dental assistant, hygienist or front office staff either

  1. Schedules a interview
  2. Schedules a working interview
  3. Accepts a position and agrees on a start date
  4. Accepts a temp shift

And then… THEY DON’T SHOW UP!  They don’t reply to phone calls or texts.  They just vanish… like a ghost. 

I have been in dental staffing for over 10 years and ghosting has ALWAYS been an issue in this field. 

And these are the reasons I believe ghosting happens. 

  1. The person doesn’t know how to use a calendar.
  2. The person simply doesn’t care.
  3. The person has so many job options currently and they are getting confused on which office is which.
  4. They slept in and were too afraid to call after the fact.
  5. They were never taught it was OK to say no or how to turn down a job. 

Some of these we cannot help.  We cannot control if a person sleeps in or if they are inconsiderate.  All we can do is take note of their name so we know not to reach out to them next time they apply to your job post. 

Let’s not dwell on those people.  Let us focus on what we can do to get the other candidates that may be overwhelmed with the amount of job opportunities they have into YOUR office to accept YOUR Job. 

This post will examine all areas where a candidate can vanish and how we can prevent that. 

#1 – Get them to call you back. 

You worked very hard to write an amazing job post, cast a wide net and then got some great applicants.  You called your top 10 applicants but only 4 of them actually got back to you. 

Which is great, but if we could get you 7 or 8 interviews that would be even better. 

There is an art form to getting applicants to call you back.  One that I have perfected over the last 10 years.  There are 7 steps to getting applicants to call you back.  Those are:

  1. Have a job post that applicants remember.
  2. Call applicants at the right time (during lunch and after work).
  3. Smile and Dial – they can want to hear a cheerful tone on the other end of the line.
  4. Text them – 98% of all text messages are read.
  5. Be flexible with your interview times – the best applicants have jobs and prefer to meet after hours or weekends. 
  6. Sell THEM on your practice – make them want to work for you.
  7. Don’t have a lengthy interview process – No more than 7 days from when they apply to when you offer them a position. 

If you want more details on these 7 steps, read this post:  How to get Dental Applicants to Call you Back

Once you have implemented all the steps to get applicants to call you back, next we have to get them to show up for the interview.

#2 – Get them to show up for the interview

I really hate the advice I am about to give you.  Because, in a perfect world, once you schedule the interview they should show up.  And if you have to remind them of the interview, they must not really want it. 

And I really want to agree with that.  But knowing what I know I just can’t.  When we are actively recruiting for an office, my recruiters stay in contact during the days between the initial phone interview and the formal or working interview.  

They text immediately after the interview is scheduled with the date, time and address. They text them again the day before the interview with the date, time and address and ask them if any conflicts in their schedule have arised. And then they text them 2 hours before the interview to once again confirm they will be there. 

And this drastically increases the show rate of our interviews AND those applicants usually stick through to the end of the entire interview process. 

All the “touches” we do are friendly and let them know we are so excited to meet them.  This allows us to build a wonderful rapport before they even show up for the interview and the candidate now feels very supported in this process. 

Again, make sure a lot of time doesn’t pass between calling them, scheduling the interview and offering the job. 

Here is my perfect world interview scheduling scenario. 

Day 1: they apply and you call them.
Day 2: phone interview (if you didn’t do that on day 1) and schedule formal interview if needed OR go right to a working interview.
Day 3: Formal interview or Working interview
Day 4: Working interview if you did a formal interview – Offer position at end of working interview.
Day 5 or 6: Offer letter signed by applicant and start date agreed up.

Anything longer than that, you will miss out on some great applicants.

#3 Get them to show up for their first day of work

This one causes me the most tears.  They called you back, showed up for all their interviews and then they didn’t show up for their first day of work. 


The number 1 reason someone does this is they put their notice into their current office and the doctor countered with a raise.  If that doctor had a structured compensation plan their employees wouldn’t have to look for a new job to get a raise.  But that is unfortunately the world we live in. 

Ultimately if they do this because they really just wanted more money but were otherwise happy with their office there isn’t much to be done.  However, we can try to avoid it. 

Here are some ideas to keep your new hire engaged to increase the chances of them starting.  

  1. Ask them how it went when they submitted their two week notice. 
  2. Invite them to any work events or CEs you might be hosting during that time. 
  3. If one of your employees really hit it off with them during the interview process, ask them to reach out to say how excited they are to have a new fun friend at the office. 
  4. Reach out the evening before their start date to ask if they had any questions and ask them what they would like for lunch.  Let them know lunch will be your treat and you are excited to see them tomorrow at 8AM. 

#4 – Onboarding for Keeps 

Now that they showed up, let’s make them long term employees.

I have several posts on this which I will post here.  But the gist is: 

  1. Have an onboarding plan
  2. Have a structured compensation plan
  3. Check in early and often to make sure they are happy with their decision to join your practice. 

Here are some other posts to read to perfect your onboarding process. 

4 Tips to Effectively Train Your New Employee

Onboarding Dental Professionals to Increase Retention

Make Your New Dental Employee Stick

I hope this post introduces some new ideas to help you get those dental applicants to show up.  


Holli Perez
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