Finding a new associate position can be a daunting process for both new and experienced dentists. While making a good impression on an interview is important, it is equally important to learn as much as possible about the practice. Here is a compilation of questions from job seekers who I have worked with over the years. I hope that this list will make the decision process less intimidating.
- Employee or Independent Contractor?
- Employee at will?
- Is the doctor open to restrictive covenant in case of future ownership?
- Is the doctor going to stay on PT for some time or can he, if needed (After purchase)?
Type of Practice
- How the practice is set up (family, Pedo, or dentures)? Pedo: what age?
- Age of the practice?
- When/what do you refer out?
- Place or Restore Implants? Which system?
- # of operatories
- # of Hygienists. Hrs of operation?
- # 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?
- 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?
- Days, hours, on call, etc.
- How many office hours and days per week is the office open?
- Job description (separate document) 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?
- Will the associate be placing Implants for the practice?
- 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 in place?
- 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?
- Do you have a confirmation system for appointments?
- How do you deal with NO Show?
- Digital X-ray?
- Intraoral Digital Camera?
Term of contract
- How long?
- What is the required notice period should either party wish to terminate the relationship?
- Is there a guaranteed salary, draw, daily rate or hourly rate?
- Is commission determined from collections or production?
- If collections, what is the collections rate in the practice?
- What percentage of production/collections is used to calculate income?
- Is there a chance to increase compensation in the future?
- Is the associate responsible for my own lab fees and expenses?
- Taxes withheld?
- How will the associate be paid? (Weekly/bi-weekly/monthly)
- How much on average was the last associate making?
- 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?
- Sick days – # allow per yr
- Personal days/vacations – # per yr allow
- 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?
- Will the practice support the acquisition loan (in case of future ownership), pay the overhead expenses and can 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?
- 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 determines how long I have when spending with new pt/initial exam and record?
- Do I have a separate apt to do comprehensive exams and record, or do I perform the TP when pt comes 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 (if applicable)?
- 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?
- What is the time frame for an associate position before we can talk about partnership/buy in/buy out?
- Is there an option for future ownership? Are you considering a move out of state?
Posted by Morgan Pace
Morgan Pace is the Southeastern U.S. Account Executive and Senior Recruiter for ETS Dental. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-491-9102. ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States. www.etsdental.com