diverse dental candidates

It’s Easy To Overlook Good Dental Candidates

In the tightest of labor markets, we can’t afford to overlook candidates because of unconscious personal biases (for example, biases for gender, age, ethnicity, race, appearance, language, education, or experience). By focusing on these details, we can miss great candidates and never even know it. This is why DentalPost recently launched SmartView, a screening feature for dental employers. SmartView helps reduce personal bias in the screening stage of candidate recruitment to expand the candidate pool. Read on for ways your practice can yield better recruiting results.

The Goal Is Still (And Always) Finding The Right Fit

DentalPost’s goal is to help employers and job seekers find the right fit so dental teams can thrive and dental professionals can find more fulfillment in their careers.

In 2022, successful dental practices are hiring smarter, ensuring candidates see their practices as not just more of the same. They engineer their job ads to speak to the personal and professional growth candidates will find in their practice. 

We’re seeing more employers embrace and make conscious choices to rethink their job postings to appeal to a new generation of dental professionals, who value diversity in all aspects of their lives. New attitudes, more open mindsets, and better screening practices through the use of tools like DentalPost’s SmartView, in conjunction with candidate/employer matching technology, means the dental industry is in a position to transcend some of the outdated hiring practices that hold back dental practices.

Tonya Lanthier, RDH, Founder & CEO of DentalPost

Other Ways To Widen The Candidate Funnel

To further expand the recruiting funnel, hiring managers need to re-examine their job requirements. In the case of clinical team members, do they really need x number of years of experience? Can you leverage the existing team to support candidates with different experience levels? It’s worth a deep dive to explore the tendencies we have as humans towards homogeneity. Does your next hire need to look (in age, appearance, or cultural background) like your previous hires? Could someone different help to attract different patients or make your patients feel more welcome? It can’t hurt to ask the questions of yourself and your hiring managers. 

And another path for exploration includes a rework of current productions to accommodate a different team setup that better supports a part-time team member or a long-term temp until you find the right person. We tend to be less rigorous in screening temps for hire. Temps are just that––not permanent. Thus, they are a great way to try out an outside-the-box hire. Perhaps trying someone that doesn’t fit your usual dental hygienist or dental assistant type will prove that expanding your horizons in the screening process can result in a successful addition to your dental team. 

Transferable Skills In Non-Clinical Dental Team Roles

In the case of front office team members, consider what the open position actually requires in terms of hard and soft skills. For front office roles, what kinds of transferable skills and experiences can a variety of people bring to the table? Will the practice benefit from someone with hospitality and sales skills, someone who has demonstrated they can learn software, who enjoys detailed record-keeping, or who is exceptional on the phone?

If you can, keep the list of skills and experience requirements more general so good candidates do not self-select themselves out of the process. Use language that a broad audience understands, not just office workers who have worked in dental offices. 

To attract even more applicants and find top talent, make sure recruiting statements and job posts are as free of bias as possible. Express intention to build a diverse team to best serve the local community. A simple mention of this intention, as well as images of diverse faces on your website, social media, and ads, will help attract the 76% of job seekers today who say diversity is an important factor in evaluating potential employers and offers. 

How Unbiased Hiring Mindsets Help Dental Practices Thrive In Their Communities 

Resolving to reduce unconscious biases and intentionally widen your recruiting funnel will help better position your practice to find good dental candidates who better represent the diversity of your community. Diverse teams better understand the needs and concerns of diverse customers and more easily build rapport and trust.

A strategy that growing dental service organizations (DSOs) commonly use is to analyze the demographics in a location and hire at least one team member per location who is fluent in a second language represented in that community. Prospective patients who have that language as their primary language feel more immediately comfortable scheduling new patient appointments and accepting the treatment they need. 

Growing DSOs are also launching initiatives in diversity training and evolving their company cultures to support more diverse teams and patients. Diversity thinking isn’t just critical to large DSOs and businesses. Many small businesses are intentionally thinking about increasing diversity on their teams because it is good for business. 

Although it may seem a stretch to compare a small dental practice to a company with many employees, business studies point to additional reasons why adding diversity to your team helps it thrive. 

  • A varied group of people bring a richer array of perspectives and experiences to solving business challenges. A 2018 study by Boston Consulting Group demonstrated that diverse teams often outperform their peers when it comes to innovation and revenue growth. 
  • According to Harvard Business Review, companies with diverse leadership are 35% more likely to achieve better financial performance than others in their industry.

Today’s Job Seekers Are Attracted to Diversity

By becoming aware of hiring biases and acting to remove those biases in our job descriptions and recruiting, we increase our potential to attract more candidates. According to Glassdoor’s 2020 Diversity Hiring Survey, 76% of job seekers and employees say that a diverse workforce is an important factor in evaluating potential employers and offers. Additionally, 32% of employees and job seekers say they wouldn’t apply for a job at an organization lacking diversity. 

According to the 2020 census, people of color, including those who identify as Black, Latino, and Asian or Pacific Islander, represent a growing share of the U.S. population. They are likely to choose employment where diversity is valued, and they are likely to help grow a practice’s patient base by attracting diverse dental patients you have not been serving. Getting a start now on racially unbiased hiring could make a big difference in the growth and longevity of a dental practice because half of the population under the age of 16 is now composed of diverse people of color.

Diversity–The Solution To A Declining Candidate Pool

The dental labor market continues to contract as the United States reaches its lowest unemployment level in half a century. It almost goes without saying that we can’t hire what does not exist. However, we should aspire and make every effort to shift our mindset and make incremental changes wherever possible. 

There is growing racial and ethnic diversity as well as an increasing number of English-as-a-second-language speakers among newly licensed dentists. However, our dental schools, hygiene programs, and dental assisting programs have catching up to do before the students they attract and graduate reflect the diversity of the American population. 

No matter where diversity efforts start, we recommend allowing as many candidates as possible into your candidate review funnel. Learn more about how to Reduce Screening Bias to Find the Best Candidates.

SmartView: Expansive, Smart Screening For Better Dental Hires

One tool to reevaluate your screening criteria is to try blind screening through tools like DentalPost’s new SmartView feature. SmartView helps keep the candidate pool at its maximum size while screening candidates based on the skills and qualifications that matter most.  It’s free and easy to use and just may help find top candidates that a practice might otherwise overlook. With SmartView on, candidate names and photos are hidden while screening for characteristics that best meet your needs. When you are ready to view your screened candidates’ names and photos, just click “like” to reveal each candidate’s full profile details. Enabling hiring managers to evaluate candidates without names and photos puts credentials first. This levels the playing field for dental professionals.

DentalPost is the dental industry’s premier and largest online and mobile job board.
We connect and educate more than 900,000 job seekers in the U.S. and Canada to build better places to work through teams that excel.
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