Never Hire in a Panic!

By Belle DuCharme, Dental Training Consultant, Director of PACE/CE

Hiring is not a comfort zone for most dentists but they will do it out of necessity. Often this important job is delegated to an Office Manager whose background in human resources management is limited to experience in other dental practices.  

In this litigious and complicated world of gender bias, sexual misconduct, identity theft, embezzlement and a national opioid crisis this is a like walking a minefield without a detector.  The best defense is to take your time in finding the right fit. If it means getting a temporary employee that is vetted through an agency, do it. It is better than making a bad hire.

Pre-screening is more than looking over a glossy resume.  Check out social media for the applicants presence and don’t overlook a criminal and credit background check.  Take work references seriously.

I have noticed an emphasis on software proficiency as a job requirement on job board postings.  While this is important it should not take precedence over other qualities that are more important such as attitude and work ethic.

Qualified job seekers proficient at Softdent are overlooked for employment in favor of the applicant who is skilled at the office software, Dentrix.   Job seekers today should be prepared to counter this request by offering to pay for the software training and be reimbursed after six months of employment.  Keeping up on the current versions of software systems is also important just as it is to keep up with CPR and OSHA training.

Proof by testing is even more important today with software being the driver of the systems and managing the important practice data.   Set up a test patient and then let the applicant make an appointment and enter insurance information and post a check. If the applicant has used dental software programs in the past they will be looking for the icons and the key strokes to get them where they need to go in the system.  Test the applicant for keyboarding skills also. If you are a busy practice you do not want someone “hen pecking” the keys to enter data.

Dentist employers today want someone who is dependable and self-motivated.   In the dental practice this means being on time to work and being prepared. Having the treatment plan prepared in time to speak to the patient at dismissal and to collect fees or help patient’s secure financial arrangements. Self-motivation comes from taking initiative to get the job done without being micromanaged.

Dentist employers want team players with positive attitudes.  Because this is the most overlooked quality in hiring it becomes the biggest reason employees give notice.  The employee who steps up to the plate every time to stay through lunch to stay overtime and to clean up after other employees is eventually the one to leave.  Feed positive attitudes with praise and demonstration of appreciation. Make each employee accountable for being part of the team and taking on extra responsibility.

When dentists need to replace staff it is a time when the focus is on what the practice needs.  This is evident when you read job postings at online sites. Little is said about what the employee will be provided with to ensure their job success in the practice environment.

Invest in ongoing software training and business systems training for the entire team.  Cross training ensures practice success and team participation. Dental software is always being updated with new features that the business and clinical staff must be trained to use.  This ongoing training can be provided in online training webinars and online support as an alternative to paying for a trainer to come in.

Remember what is important to the practice and the patients and keep a check on hiring in a panic.

eAssist Helpful News and Billing Tips; Edition #123


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