Successful Staffing in Dentistry

Written by: Anita Jupp
© Copyright. ADEI. All rights reserved.


When hiring a new employee careful planning is necessary. As you know, a high staff turnover is detrimental to the dental practice. Patients want to see the same friendly faces each time they visit your practice – it creates a high trust atmosphere. For this reason, an ad that attracts the type of applicant that fits your practice is the starting point.

Progressive dental practice is seeking an experienced, friendly, team spirited dental assistant to work a five day week in our general practice. Please forward your professional resume with cover letter C/O this newspaper, Box 1234.

Full time experienced receptionist required for busy, patient-centered dental office. Knowledge of computers, finances and payroll an asset. Excellent communication and friendly people skills are our top priority. Please send resume with cover letter C/O this newspaper, Box 37546.

Job Description

A job description makes your interviewing process easier. Most applicants will ask what the position entails and most interviewers give only a basic description of the position. What you need to take into account is not only the daily responsibilities, but also the weekly, monthly, and yearly duties of the position.

The Interview

There is no need to have your applicant fill out a job application form since you have already reviewed their qualifications from the resume and cover letter. However, this is individual to each dental practice. Ask open ended questions because you want the applicant to talk about themselves, their qualifications and previous experiences. Try not to ask “yes” or “no” questions. A point to remember is that the applicant is nervous and you may try to put them at ease by offering them juice or coffee.

Be prepared to discuss and answer questions about your office policies such as: initial probation period, orientation period, salaries and raises, work hours and patient hours, benefits, holidays, vacation periods, sick days, etc.

Questions to Ask at the Interview

Tell me about your last position. Please outline the duties.
How much experience do you have in dentistry?
Did you implement any new ideas, systems, programs at your last job? If so, please tell me about them.
Why do you feel you are suited to the position available in this practice?
Why did you leave your last position?
Tell me about your strengths in dentistry? Do you feel there are any areas upon which you need to improve?
What do you enjoy most about dentistry?
Tell me about your hobbies or interests.
How do you feel about continuing education?
Are you flexible to work evenings or Saturdays?
Would you be willing to work one trial day before we make a final decision?
What kind of courses/seminars have you taken in the past?
Can I answer any questions for you about the position and/or about our practice?
Which previous employer(s) could we call for a reference?

When the interview has been completed, remember to thank the applicant for coming in and let them know that you will call them with your decision as soon as possible.

The Reference Check

The reference check is an important part of the interviewing process. It will give you an indication of the applicant’s work habits and industriousness. Speak with the applicant’s immediate supervisor as they will have first hand knowledge of skills and qualifications.

The Trial Period

All new employees should have a trial (probation) period to determine if they are the right person for the job. The trial period usually lasts no longer than 2 – 3 months. That is ample time to determine if your new employee is working out well for you and your practice.

Salary & Benefit Guide

Once you have made your decision on who to hire, a Salary Benefit Guide should be completed so that you can eliminate future misunderstandings regarding salaries, holidays, benefits, etc. If everything is written and signed, then everything will be clear. This guide details such items as:

Starting salary
Review dates
Evaluation dates
Statutory Holiday pay
Vacation pay
Uniform Allowance
Medical/Dental Benefits
Any insurance coverage
Continuing Education dues
Sick/well days
Hours of work per week

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One Response to “Successful Staffing in Dentistry”

  1. Wonderful webpage, exactly where did you obtain the design template?

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