Two women in the dental office looking at a file together

How to Hire the Absolute Best Dental Office Manager

April 25, 2022

There’s nothing more important to long-term success than hiring the best talent for your practice. However, recruitment has never been more challenging. Not only are potential candidates looking for greater benefits and flexibility, but dentists must also be able to guarantee a seamless employee experience. In fact, research suggests that in many cases, it’s even more important to invest in fostering amazing experiences for your team than boosting their salaries. For example, in a study of nearly 20,000 post-exit interviews, 89 percent of employers believed that their people left for a job that offered more money. In reality, only 12 percent of employees decided to leave because of pay.

So, how can you ensure that your employees are getting the attention and support they need to thrive? If you’re looking to drive success at your dental practice, investing in an excellent dental office manager can help you support your team and develop seamless management. Let’s explore the essentials of how to hire a dental office manager, including important skills to look for, how much compensation should be, and where you can find the right candidate for your team.

What does a dental office manager do?

What keeps you working at the office late at night? Is it filling out patient records, catching up on your upcoming schedule, or completing administrative work? Hiring a dental office manager can help you cover all of these necessary tasks without overfilling your plate or preventing you from treating more patients. Think of a dental office manager as a catch-all for the overflowing tasks that must be completed on a daily basis—on top of the patient care you already deliver.

Dental office managers have a wide range of responsibilities that primarily involve managing the front office of a practice. For example, they are often in charge of answering phones promptly, scheduling accurate appointments, updating patient records, and filing billing and insurance claims. They also commonly fill the role of general office duties: organizing files, maintaining the stock of supplies, making copies, and returning calls and emails.

As a dental office manager, someone must wear many hats. On top of being familiar with dentistry and medical records, they must also have excellent organizational skills to manage many things at once, including books, records, and more. The job will often require multitasking and interacting with patients and staff members as well. In general, a dental office manager will provide essential support across all aspects of the business, allowing other team members to guarantee the highest quality of care to your patients.

What skills does a dental office manager need to have?

Based on the wide variety of tasks that a dental office manager needs to perform, they must be organized, friendly, trustworthy, and detail-oriented. An excellent manager should also have a blend of technical knowledge, administrative skills, and management skills. As the cherry on top, they’ll have experience in dental services, patient privacy, and medical records. Let’s explore why these skills are so necessary.

Organization

Because filling the role of a dental office manager requires multitasking, the perfect candidate will have excellent organizational skills. For example, the following common responsibilities will likely be handled by your manager:

  • Keeping track of files and databases
  • Organizing appointments and meetings
  • Preparing reports
  • Organizing events
  • Keeping health and safety policies up to date
  • Tidying the office

Similarly, while hiring a dental office manager, you should make sure that they possess these organizational skills:

  • Analytical skills for common challenges
  • Great communication with both subordinates and superiors
  • Collaboration with others
  • Time management
  • Schedule planning

The more organized a manager is, the better they’ll be able to keep your practice running seamlessly and efficiently as well as help the rest of your staff meet their goals.

Friendliness

The first person your patients will see when they walk into your office is the manager. What do you want your office’s first impression to be?

Along with excellent management and organizational skills, the best dental office manager will have excellent people skills and be friendly with everyone who walks in. Most importantly, their mood won’t waver based on stress or a bad day.

Similarly, they’ll set the tone for the rest of your team. You’ll want everyone with whom nervous patients come in contact to be open, kind, and friendly so that they’re as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Small acts of kindness between team members and patients will go a long way. From a kind smile to celebrating staff birthdays with cookies, an excellent office manager will inspire your office with small acts of thoughtfulness.

Great Leadership

An office manager should lead the entire team with confidence, which means not only keeping others on track to complete their job but also being a trustworthy leader that your people can count on. Without trust, it doesn’t matter if your manager is great at their duties—your team will be less inclined to follow them.

An excellent leader and manager will also be a good example to their subordinates. They’ll be professional and proactive, as well as kind when others make mistakes. If you’re wondering how to hire a dental office manager that’s a great leader, you’ll want to consider your dream work environment. If you believe that someone would make the workplace hostile, they’re likely not the right fit for your practice.

How much should compensation be?

While hiring a great dental office manager, it will also be important to consider what you’ll be able to pay them. Based on where you’re located in the United States, each state has a different average salary for a manager. According to ZipRecruiter, the top 10 states that pay the highest hourly wage are as follows:

  • Massachusetts: $29.63
  • Hawaii: $26.67
  • Connecticut: $26.52
  • Rhode Island: $25.70
  • Washington: $25.40
  • Utah: $25.37
  • North Dakota: $25.25
  • Alaska: $25.21
  • New York: $25.07
  • Nevada: $25.01

Nationwide, the base pay average of a dental office manager is $47,783; however, salaries can range from $35,853 to $64,454 per year. This number largely varies based on location as well as a candidate’s experience.

Infographic of benefits to offer dental teams

Salary isn’t the only aspect you’ll want to consider while searching for a potential candidate. If you want to retain your employees, you’ll want to consider providing incredible benefits, such as the following:

  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Health insurance, including dental and vision
  • Life insurance
  • Short- and long-term disability
  • Flexible hours
  • 401(k) option and matching

Most importantly, you’ll want to communicate all expectations clearly and promptly. That way, potential candidates will know everything up front and make the best decision for them—and ultimately, your practice.

Where can I find great candidates?

There are so many places where you can look for the right candidate for your dental practice. Job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn make it easier than ever to connect with talent as well as review experience and skills. You could even use other social media sites to recruit the best talent possible.

As you’re searching for a great fit, remember to not only consider their work experience but also look for shared values and characteristics. For example, tenacity, compassion, authenticity, and kindness are essential traits that can tell you a lot about how someone will navigate their professional life.

Another great way to find potential candidates is to set up a referral program at your practice. Reward team members for recommending new hires that stay on board for longer than six months. Encourage those you work with best to share job openings with hardworking friends and family—and don’t forget to compensate them for it. Your entire team will benefit from an excellent work culture—especially when they get to work with people they like!

Hiring an incredible dental office manager could do wonders for your practice. From helping streamline processes to offering greater support to your team, they can help you deliver excellent experiences to your employees and patients without sacrificing great care. Visit  thevivosinstitute.com to learn more about managing, driving growth and revenue, and developing your dental practice.