interview handshake

Thousands of practices throughout the country are competing for the attention of a finite number of dentists to become their next associates. For practice owners, attracting and hiring top talent can be a major challenge. Today’s associates are looking for opportunities for professional growth, income growth potential and a positive work environment. If you are not prepared to sell them on those opportunities, they’ll move on to the next practice.

Preparation is key to attracting the nation’s best dentists to your opportunity. Know your selling points. Ask yourself, “Why would an associate choose my office over others?” As you come up with the answers, be prepared to discuss this in detail. Does your practice offer access to a mentor or the opportunity to grow professionally? Do you maintain a full schedule of patients? What condition is your equipment and dental technology in? These are all factors that must be considered.

Clearly defining what separates your practice from all others and preparing yourself to highlight as many of those defining factors as possible is your number one goal when preparing to hire a talented associate. Below are some examples of real-world scenarios where practice owners have missed out on hiring their top candidates because practice owners were not prepared.

Example 1: Receive, Review and Respond

  • Unprepared – After receiving a candidate’s CV, the practice took weeks to contact the candidate. The candidate assumed the practice was not interested and accepted another position.
  • Prepared – The practice owner personally called the associate candidate the same day his information was received. They hit it off and the candidate accepted the position in a town he had never considered.

Example 2: Sample Contract/Compensation

  • Unprepared – The practice owner did not have a sample contract or documented compensation plan when meeting with a quality candidate. The dentist accepted a different, less attractive position because that practice had something in writing.
  • Prepared – The practice owner had a sample contract and compensation plan prepared to provide to “the right” candidate. Going one step further, the practice owner had prepared a one-page document demonstrating the practice’s commitment to documenting a buy-in and transition plan after a one-year trial period. The candidate accepted the offer on their second face-to-face meeting.

Example 3: No Timeline

  • Unprepared – The practice owner did not have a firm timeline describing when a new associate could start. The candidate accepted another less attractive position that was immediately available.
  • Prepared – Recognizing they could not provide a full-time schedule immediately, the practice owner prepared a plan demonstrating position growth strategies to achieve full-time in six months’ time. The associate candidate accepted this offer and slowly transitioned out of their current position located one hour away.

Example 4: Interview Preparation

  • Unprepared – The practice owner did not adequately prepare for the interview and failed to ask important questions regarding clinical skills, philosophy, commitment to buy-in, schedule and availability. The hired associate stayed for only one year after disputes regarding clinical philosophies.
  • Prepared – The practice owner took the time to write out a full list of questions to ask potential associate candidates. The questions helped eliminate prospects due to clinical philosophy and timeline conflicts. After meeting with five quality candidates, the practice owner hired an associate with a compatible personality, clinical philosophy and long-term goals.

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