For all the people out there looking for jobs in dental, this question comes up a lot. In fact, this is probably the most important question an employer who’s looking to hire needs to answer. The main reason for this is because one of the most important determinants on what make a dental practice successful or not is the people who work there. Assembling a successful dental clinic is tough. It takes a lot of time, thinking, and problem solving in order to really create a team that works coherently together and efficiently.

You can see which employers put thought into their team. For example, during your job hunt, if you’re applying at a dental office that’s been around for 10+ years but only has 4 chairs and is closed half the week.. are they successful? Is their practice environment fun? Comfortable? Up to date? Does it seem like their front office cares about their patients or do all they see is dollar signs? These are questions both employees and employers need to ask. Potential employees need to ask this question because it’s important in evaluating whether or not this is where they want to establish or grow their career. Who wants to work at a dental clinic that has paint chipping on their walls? Who wants to work a dental practice that has bad reviews? What if they have horrible employee turnaround? There are many questions potential and current employees need to ask themselves in order to really determine whether or not it’s worth their time to be there.

Ever wondered why some dental practices look so successful and others look like their practice is on the borderline of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Simple answer – its their choice or lack of who they hired. Good and successful practices have managers/owners who care immensely about who they hire and who they extend offers to. This same hiring philosophy is applied coherently and strictly at all positions from general doctors to front office administrators. While if you want to know why a dental practice is struggling, just look at who they have on their team. You can clearly see the difference between a good practice and bad one really by looking at how their employees treat you and how the practice presents themselves. Although this is a generalization and there are exceptions, the rule really is easily applicable throughout the entire industry.

So the question is – what are the GOOD practices looking for when they hire and what are the BAD practices looking for when they hire?

Good practices can be defined as practices that are focused on sustained financial growth as well as maintaining a brand that gives off a message of credibility and reliability. It could be a dental practice managed by a single owner or by multiple partners, but at the end of the day the practice clearly cares about branding, growth, and most importantly internal employee culture.

These good practices are looking for employees who subscribe to this message. What does this mean? This means they are looking for potential employees who care about how they present themselves, who are responsible, nice, caring yet straightforward and efficient. They’re looking for employees who are trying to grow a career rather than be there for a quick paycheck. They’re looking for employees who care about the growth of the practice rather than the growth of their own bank account. So how do you show and tell the hiring dental practices that you have have these characteristics? Simple, you show. Don’t Tell. How do you show? Well you show by every small thing you do leading up to the interview, during the interview and post interview. This means showing up early, knowing everything about the practice, being prepared for the interview, and sending consistent follow up. This means being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and being able to adapt and change your mindset when it comes to growing your skills in dental. If you are able to convey to your hiring manager that these are the characteristics that you have, you will be easily able to land a job in no time.

Now, what are the bad practices looking for? Simply put, bad practices are looking for one thing and one thing only – what your price is. They want to hire anyone and everyone who has some sort of dental experience at the cheapest price they can. What does that mean? Thea means they’re looking for anyone to fill the open job positions they have at their practice with the lowest hourly salary they can get. To be honest this works because there is always someone who is willing to work for some sort of monetary return. However, what ends up happening is the practice tends to hire those who are not as motivated or responsible because of the monetary compensation attracting the employees to the practice.

The best of the best aren’t looking to get paid minimum wage. They’re trying to get paid as much as they can. This creates a vacuum where the low paying jobs tend to attract the low tier employees. Practices don’t care and end up hiring low tier employees. This affects the patients experiences, the other employee experiences and is ultimately detrimental to the practice itself, which makes it effectively a bad practice. So at the end of the day – it’s all about employee culture. This is a great question to ask – what is the culture like here? Are people here friends? Or does everyone want to leave the moment the clock hits 5pm. Is everyone here from top tier schools/practices? Or are the people here just because they have nowhere else to go? These are questions you as a person who is applying must ask yourself and the practice because that will determine how your career trajectory goes.

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