Build the Perfect Dental Practice Team

Your selection of dental personnel ranks among the most important professional decisions you will face. Few other factors influence the way your office functions as dramatically as your staff, so it’s wise to exercise thoroughness when interviewing candidates. Let’s review a few hiring guidelines that should minimize the risk of hiring unqualified team members.

Know Who You Want

To begin with, outline the essential characteristics that describe your ideal candidates for each position. Having a well-defined list of qualities will make the interview process less arbitrary and more focused. Then consider how you want your team to function: will your dental hygienist be expected to participate as a member of the staff in the same ways as your front desk personnel and office manager, or will he or she be granted special privileges? Draft an office staff policy that explicitly states your expectations.

During interviews, pay careful attention to the candidate’s manner of speech and locution. Any distracting or off-putting habits you notice will probably negatively influence your patients, as well, and may reflect poorly on your practice. If a candidate struggles to answer your questions clearly and without excessive hesitation, imagine how their uncertainty will affect their job performance. And while it’s good to recognize a person’s unrealized potential, don’t expect to be able to reform a mediocre candidate. If you spot potential warning signs during the interview, it might be best to keep looking.

Once you hire a qualified match, provide the new employee with attainable career objectives they can pursue immediately. Rather than overwhelm them with an exhaustive job description, let them start with modest goals and reward their progress. Allowing a new employee to grow into his or her position will facilitate a smooth transition for everyone in the office.

Who Should Work the Front Desk?

Your front desk member should exhibit a cordial and warm personality. As the primary contact person for your dental practice, their initial contact with patients may be your only opportunity to make a favorable impression. The ideal candidate should be able to patiently interact with insurance companies, should demonstrate excellent organizational habits, and judicious tenacity in dealing with payment issues.

Who Makes a Good Dental Assistant?

A good dental assistant is a conscientious, highly motivated team member whose main function is to manage the vital behind-the-scenes activities that keep the office functioning smoothly. This person should make your job easier by ensuring that office personnel perform the correct procedures as scheduled, and that anesthetics are administered properly.

Who Makes a Good Dental Hygienist?

We suggest that the ideal hygienist should not feel exempt from general office chores, but should be willing to serve in the same manner as every other office member by participating in routine practice maintenance. The hygienist should expect to support their fellow employees, knowing that he or she receives necessary support in return.

Building a trustworthy team of dental health professionals requires planning and foresight. Knowing in advance what types of candidates meet your needs should lessen the confusion during the hiring process.

Are you considering selling a dental practice or selling an orthodontic practice? We can help you sell your dental practice for the greatest possible profit. See our sellers steps for more information.

Terry D. Watson, DDS, and Frank Brown, JD, LLM, are with ADS Watson, Brown & Associates, a dental practice transition consulting and brokerage firm in Dallas, TX. They are members of American Dental Sales and can be reached on the Contact Page.

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