When interviewing for jobs, associate candidates need to ensure they are prepared as much as possible. See The Interview for All Dentists. But what about the hiring practice? If you are interviewing prospective associates you should know the answers prior to the interview, as well as the questions you want to ask.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it surely provides some insight and foundation on what candidates are expecting. Also, some of these questions go beyond a typical associate arrangement and describe things related to partnership/ownership transition. Remember, candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interview them.
First things first
  • Why is your practice opportunity better, more desirable, and lucrative than another opportunity down the street?
  • Employee or Independent Contractor
  • Employee at will?
  • Is the doctor open to restrictive covenant in case of future ownership?
  • Is the owner doctor going to stay on PT for some time or can he if needed (After purchase)?
  • Days, hours, on call, etc
  • Office hours and days per week is the office open?
  • What is the new associate’s schedule expected to be?
Type of Practice
  • How is the practice set up (family, Pedo, or dentures)? Pedo: what age?
  • Age of the practice?
  • When/what do you refer out?
  • Place or Restore Implant? Which system?
  • # of operatories
  • # of Hygienists. How many days/hours of hygiene
  • # assistants
  • Will the associate have their own assistant?
  • How much is the practice overhead?
  • How long has each employee been there?
  • What does the practice do to market itself?
  • How many FT and PT staff?
  • What is the patient pool like?
  • Have the number of active patient records been reviewed?
  • Is the practice growing or declining in number of patients seen, new patients attracted, and young patients?
  • Average number of cancellations per week?
  • Average number of patients seen by associate per day?
  • How far ahead is the doctor book filled?
  • How far ahead is the associate book filled?
  • How far ahead is the hygienist’s book filled?
  • Job description or general description
  • Is the associate expected to check hygiene of other doctor’s patients?? If yes, will the associate be compensated for it?
  • Will the associate be expected to perform hygiene/prophy?
  • Does the doctor do any procedures other than regular general dentistry?
  • What were the most of the cases being done by the associate?
  • Supplies, equipment, support. Etc
  • What type of PMS (Software) is used?
  • Implant surgical set up? Who finances to get that set up if NOT already have?
  • What is the square footage of the office? Can it be expanded?
  • Average age of equipment?
  • Is the practice left handed, right handed, or ambidextrous?
Fees for service
  • Appropriate/assign billing?
  • Discounts/Bartering/payment plans
  • PPO type of insurance?
  • Insurances: accept all kinds or just selected ones?
  • How much is the discounted price of the PPO compared to the fee schedule?
  • Medicare or Medicaid acceptance?
  • How much of the practice relies upon capitation programs, PPOs, HMOs, Medicare or Medicaid?
  • What percent is FFS, cash and discounted PPO?
  • When was the last fee increase?
  • Are the fees low, High or average for the immediate area?
  • Do you offer patients credit?
Term of contract
  • How long?
  • Salary, Hourly, Draw, Minimum, Commission, Percentage, Bonus, When, How,
  • Taxes withheld?
  • What percent of production or collection will be the compensation?
  • How will the associate be paid? (Weekly/bi-weekly/monthly)
  • How much on average was the associate making?
  • What is the % of collection for the practice
  • What was the average associate production per day?
  • Does the associate production include hygiene exams and x-rays?
  • Can I get a fee schedule of the practice?
  • Medical Insurance: health and dental?
  • Malpractice insurance?
  • Disabilities insurance?
  • Required CE courses? How much and for how many hours a year? Are they paid for/reimbursed,? Is there a stipend?
  • Retirement?
  • Sick days…….. # allow per yr…..
  • Personal days/vacations…..# per yr allow……
  • Holidays?
  • What benefits are given to the staff?
  • Define, list, when paid, lab, etc…..
  • What Lab do you use? Use different lab for different lab orders??
  • Is the associate responsible for my own lab fees and expenses?
  • Will the practice support the acquisition loan (in case of future ownership), pay the overhead expenses and afford a reasonable income?
Other Questions and Notes:
  • What is your practice Philosophy and Goals? For the Practice and with new pt’s tx?
  • % of implant surgeries
  • Have you had associate before? How many? How long they stayed? What was the reason for the associate resignation?
  • Do you have a confirmation system for apts?
  • How do you deal with NO Show?
  • Digital X-ray?
  • Intraoral Digital Camera?
  • How do you advertise?
  • Will most dental insurance dictate pt’s Tx plan??
  • Do you deal a lot with EMERGENCY pt? Separate operatories for that?
  • Average number of emergencies per week?
  • Will I be doing hygiene/prophy when I don’t have pt?
  • Who determine how long I have when spending with new pt/initial exam and record?
  • Do I have an apt separate to do comprehensive exams and record…. Or do I do the TP when pt come in for cleaning?
  • How long does a hygienist spend on their recalls?
  • Is there a particular doctor in the area who is your main competitor?
  • Who sees the patient first (Doctor, hygienist, associate)
  • Why was the partnership offer turned down by an associate?
  • Will I be able to visit the office during regular working hours?
  • Does the doctor have a report showing how much treatment is treatment planned?

Other blogs you may be interested in