In January each year, I take some time to review virtually every activity and metric in our business. My purpose is simply to figure out what worked, what didn’t work and how the business of recruiting dentists for dental practices has changed. I thought I would share some of our results and observations. Our team has a unique vantage on the dental industry. Our experience and lessons learned over the past year may help you if you are a dentist who owns a practice, or if you are a dentist who is seeing a new opportunity (associate, partner, or buyer), or if you are a professional who caters to the dental profession.

Image1Background: ETS Dental specializes in finding and placing dentists with practices across the country. Our team consists of seven recruiters (Account Executives – five recruit general dentists, one recruits dental specialists, and one sources and screens dental staff members). In 2012, our team made more than 120,000 phone calls, sent 240,000 emails, and spent nearly 5,000 hours on the phone speaking with dentists.
I am pleased to say that 2013 was another record year for ETS. We’ve grown every year since 2003. Here are a few things we have discovered about doing business in the dental industry:
Existing Clients
66% of our placements occurred with previous clients.
Lesson Learned:< Repeat clients are the mainstay of our business.
New Clients
40% of our new business came from marketing calls. 23% came from referrals. 19% came from clients seeking us out on the internet. 14% came from email marketing and social networking.
Lesson Learned: We found 40% of our new clients by calling them. 60% of our clients found us through referrals, our internet presence, email marketing and social networking.

Less than 14% of our placements came from paid job boards. Less than 12% of our placements came from free job boards. 74% of our placements came from ETS Dental recruiting efforts and the ETS Dental web site:
Lesson Learned: Simply placing help wanted ads on job boards is not an effective way to find an associate.
Who is hiring:
Over the past three years, we’ve observed a tremendous shift in the type of practices who hire us to recruit a dentist associate:
Multi-state practice management companies have always represented less than 20% of our business. Demand from not-for-profits has shrunk from 10% to 1%. Our business with high-growth regional businesses (who do business in a few states, funded by outside money) and local dental businesses (a single or small group of practices owned and tightly managed and funded by one or two business-minded dentists) has grown significantly. These two groups have a defined plan for growth and now represent 50% of our searches. Group and individual practices who are more passive about the business aspect or their practices and do not have a defined action plan for growth have shrunk significantly as a percentage of our business (30%, down from 50%).
Lesson Learned: Dental practices (or organizations) with a well-thought-out plan for growth can thrive in just about any geography. Practices without a plan have not grown and prospered nearly this much over the past few years. Written by Mark Kennedy, Owner/Managing Director of Executive Talent Search (ETS Dental, ETS Vision, ETS Tech-Ops). To find out more, call ETS Dental at (540) 563-1688 or visit us online at

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