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Recruiting in the Dental Industry: 4 Tips for Hiring the Best Talent for Your Practice

November 15, 2021

There is a shortage of staff everywhere in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dental industry has been hit particularly hard. Although patients are returning to their dental offices as often as they used to before the pandemic, over 90 percent of dentists have had a hard time hiring new hygienists to support their patients.

Because many dental hygienists have chosen not to return to work after the pandemic, dozens of practices are looking to hire new employees from a sea of the same people, which makes it particularly difficult to stand out from the crowd and hire the great talent you need to run a successful business. This has left many dental practices searching for new recruits to no avail, therefore settling on employees that aren’t fit for their culture.

The good news is that there is hope to find great people for your practice! How can you stand out in order to find the best new talent? Keep reading for four tips to help you streamline your recruiting process and hire people who are a perfect fit for your organization.

Develop a Career Path for Your Employees

At the end of the day, your employees want to feel as though they are progressing in their careers by working for you. Providing a clear career path based on each person’s expectations and desires is one of the best ways to retain your employees for years to come. Show them that they have opportunities to grow both financially and professionally without the need to switch employers, and they’ll have fewer reasons to want to resign or change careers.

On top of identifying a career path for your employees, you should also show them exactly what they need to do to get there. Give them tips and resources to progress, and make sure that they pick up on the skills they need to transition into a new role. For example, if you know that someone working at the front desk would like to move into a hygiene role someday, let them sit in on patient visits, offer to pay for their training, or provide your own in-practice training to give them the precise skills you’re looking for. You both will be grateful for it!

Invest in the Onboarding Experience

Did you know that over 30 percent of job seekers have left a job within three months of starting? First impressions matter. Don’t let new members of your team down by failing to prepare them for their jobs. Employee onboarding is absolutely essential to helping a new hire acclimate to the organization, and it can even help you encourage your current employees to refer new recruits. In fact, you could even use it to cross-board internal hires. Investing in the onboarding process goes beyond administrative paperwork; it also includes cultural acclimation and socialization with the rest of your team.

Here are a few benefits you could expect to see as a result of better onboarding:

  • Decreased turnover
  • Increased engagement levels
  • Identification of skill gaps
  • Increased satisfaction
  • Reduced costs

When bringing new members to your team or transitioning current ones to new different roles, be sure to make the onboarding experience memorable—in a good way. Not only will they appreciate you going the extra mile in order to give them an exceptional experience, but so will your other employees.

Take Great Care of Your Current Employees

Creating an excellent team always starts and ends with how you treat people—especially in the bad times. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to reevaluate their lives and career paths, you must be able to show them that you care about them and will support them beyond their work.

For example, consider augmenting benefits or allowing more flexible schedules. Some people may only want to work part time, and allowing them to do so can ensure that they’re happier at work. Not only will this help you stand out from other dental practices that don’t offer this option to their employees, but it will also show your staff that you care about them. People are struggling with a number of challenges at home, so search for opportunities within the chaos to do something for each individual that will help them.

By taking care of your current employees, you’ll draw in the best new people when they see how great it is to work with you. Believe it or not, great recruiting often depends on great retention. By taking great care of those already at your practice, you’ll also put the word out there for additional opportunities. Building trust with your employees now doesn’t just encourage them to work harder for you, but it will also show new hires that you genuinely care about every person at your practice. The extra effort will be more than worth it!

Don’t Settle

Finally, don’t settle and hire people that you know aren’t fit for the job. While you may feel the pressure now to hire just about anybody to fill the role so they can provide you with the support you need, you’ll regret the choice moving forward. Hiring someone temporarily isn’t an investment—it’s a placeholder. If people aren’t a fit, they just aren’t a fit, and you’ll have to hold out and wait before hiring quality staff.

However, it is possible to be too critical and pass up on great people. As mentioned earlier, on-the-job training can help you empower people who may lack certain skills yet fit the company culture to fill a different role at your practice. For example, those who have experience in the customer service industry may add a special touch to your practice and help you create a smoother patient experience. Whether you hire them to fill an administrative role or train them to work in hygiene, they’ll add unexpected value to your dental care.

Recruiting new hires in the dental industry is particularly challenging postpandemic. The good news is that you’ll make it through by focusing on your current employees, prioritizing recruits with potential, investing in the onboarding process, and developing a career path for each member of your staff. Put your staff first and invest in the people at your practice to reap the benefits for years to come!