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DentalPost is exploring the cyclical trends in dentistry recently revealed by the 2023 Dental Salary Survey that saw input from over 15,000 dental professionals nationwide. It’s a tough world for dentists, from pay cuts to burnout to competition. We’re sharing best practices and tips to recruit A-player dental candidates. This is the last article in a series that navigates the ups and downs of practice ownership and management. 

Hiring is the #1 Challenge Dentists Face Today. How to Stop the Competition Before It Begins!

For many dental practice owners, recruiting has become an exhausting full-time job on top of their “day job.” But the dental candidate drought has remained a serious and ongoing problem industry-wide. In fact, a recent ADA poll revealed that dental recruiting continues to be the #1 challenge dental practice owners face.

Are you trying to keep your team together or looking to hire all-star talent?

Based on DentalPost’s Annual Salary Survey, most practices fall into both buckets. Bonuses, raises, more flexibility… you name it, it’s being tried to keep the team together. In the same instance, practices are searching high and low to find new talent to meet patient demand. All the while finding areas to cut costs to keep the practice financially solvent and profitable. 

Where does this end? With you on the brink of a breakdown?

Data Keeps Your Practice a Step Ahead

There is no magic cure for recruiting great talent that stays. Still, we’re experienced in helping doctors attract and retain A-players who contribute to increased production rates, resulting in very lucrative profits. 

Arming yourself with the best data available keeps you ahead of the competition for attracting top talent and becoming the practice everyone wants to work for

For example, DentalPost’s data shows that the majority of hygienists left the dental profession in the last year because of the following:

  • Insufficient pay (a whopping 46%!)
  • Office culture
  • Feeling overworked 

Ignoring these results could cost you even more staff and production. 

Stay Ahead of the Competition 

How do you combat the staff exodus, retain a great team, and attract dental professionals who want to stay? Some doctors give raises, provide more flexibility, offer CE, or create a culture where staff feel valued. 

Beating out the competition vying for your talent takes creativity. And, despite the challenging environment, finding your next team member doesn’t have to be a drag. 

We’ve outlined three elements to help you on your way to a hiring utopia that will leave your competition in the dust. 

First, successful recruiting starts with defining your ideal candidate and what aspects of the position appeal to them. It’s a two-fold strategy that, if done well, should result in quality applicants. 

Step 1: Define Your Ideal Dental Candidate

Determining your ideal candidate is made easier by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • What skills should the candidate possess? 
  • What tasks will be involved with the job? 
  • What responsibilities will be involved with the job? 
  • What qualifications and experience are needed for the position? 
  • What kind of personality are you looking for? 
  • How should your ideal candidate embody your core values?     

Once you’ve determined your answers, analyze what your business is offering. Is your competition advertising the same thing? If so, make sure yours is far more appealing, making you look like the obvious choice. Remember, candidates these days can afford to be picky. Impress them with a great environment and rock-solid support system. 

Step 2: Evaluate and Improve Your Brand Reputation

With your ideal dental candidate defined and your position perks aligned, you can move on to step two: evaluating and tidying up your brand. Savvy job seekers search high and low for skeletons in your practice’s closet (don’t worry, your competition has skeletons, too). You’ll be quickly judged and crossed off the list if you haven’t addressed them (negative and positive). How do you combat this? Check it out:

  • Analyze employee reviews (think Glassdoor) and respond with fair and objective replies.  
  • Encourage former and current team members to leave reviews over time.
  • If you can’t offer the best benefits in the market, consider counter-balancing them with more time off or a flexible schedule. (You’ll build a reputation for being fair and “human.”)
  • Give your social media sites some love: keep them active and engaging, and include your brand and core values.

When branding and how outsiders (both patients and prospective job seekers) view your practice, consider hiring a dental-specific marketing agency. They can manage social media and all reviews of your practice to improve your image across all social platforms. It’s often easier, faster, and more effective to hire a professional with years of experience than trying to learn it yourself. (Think plumbers, electricians, and mechanics, but this is your business and livelihood!)

Simply schedule a free practice growth call where they can address your goals and develop a marketing roadmap to reach (or exceed!) them.

Step 3: Write a Next Level Job Description

After getting your house in order by defining your ideal dental candidate and addressing your brand reputation, further bolster your strategy with step three, writing a clearly defined job description. Competition is fierce, so don’t be wishy-washy about what THEY should bring to the position and what THEY will get in return from your practice. 

After you’ve written the description, enlist your current team members for feedback. They can give you valuable insights and fill in any gaps you might have overlooked. You might even find there are things you can change for your current staff to keep them happy.  

With feedback in hand, you’ll then need to:

  • Determine the most accurate job title
  • List duties and responsibilities
  • List skills and competencies
  • Add anything else that stands out about the position

Hiring is a process, but once you have a clearly defined position, you can attract suitable dental candidates who might bring unexpected talents to your team. The ultimate goal is to become the practice everyone wants to work for. 

If you’re ready to rev up your hiring process, download DentalPost’s Ultimate Hiring Toolkit – a FREE 5-Step Guide that simplifies the hiring process to help you attract top candidates, faster, so you save time and money. Here’s what’s included:

  • Optimized job ad template and checklist to help attract better candidates for your job
  • The best interview questions to help determine a candidate’s success in your practice
  • Enhanced onboarding tips to help your new hire hit the ground running
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