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Any experienced dentist-employer knows that staff stability is critically important inmaintaining long-term patient relationships, and in reducing the overhead costs associated with employee turnover and training. Just as the business owner hopes to make a long-term hire, the potential employee hopes for employment stability as well! So what should a job seeker look for in a potential dental employer?

1. Professional Reputation
Dentistry – as a profession – has long enjoyed the public’s trust through the maintenance of high ethical standards and the delivery of quality care. Check with the state dental association and/or licensing board before seeking employment to ensure that he or she is free of ethical issues.

2. Clear Vision and Strong Leadership
Ask to see the practice vision and mission statements. Ask potential coworkers if they are led and inspired by the doctor, empowered by the corporate culture, or if they are just “punching the clock!”

3. Clear Job Descriptions and Office Policy Manual
Employees can only perform at their best if their duties are clearly defined! Is any “in-service” training provided before “going live?” Are the office policies clear as well? Is there an “open-door” policy of communication?

4. A Tedious Hiring Process!
If you are hired “on the spot” because you are a “warm body” with some experience and you are invited to “get to work” without training, run! A great potential employer will spend the time necessary to make a great hire. An organized approach to hiring quality personnel suggests that the employer is searching for a long-term employee relationship.

5. Incentives
Look beyond the common concerns about vacation time or health benefits. If the employer offers any form of retirement plan (SEP IRA, 401(k), etc.) or states a commitment to ongoing professional education and training through private consultants, society memberships, conferences, or state meetings, chances are he or she is going to continue to invest in you and your future with the practice.

6. Community Commitment
Ask if the practice is involved with the local community in any way. Not only can such involvement build the practice through word-of-mouth invitations, but it shows a professional commitment by the dentist and team to those for whom they provide care and the community in which they live.

7. Humility and Appreciation
We may trade our time and skills for a paycheck, but trading our time and skills to help build a wonderful practice with caring team and patient relationships while earning that pay check is more pleasantly and effectively accomplished in an atmosphere of trust, appreciation, and mutual respect.

While these suggestions may not always easily be assessed by an applicant, any information you can glean during the interview process will only help you and your prospective employer. Remember, most employers hire for attitude and train for competence, so put some energy and enthusiasm into your search!

Good luck and best wishes for your successful career!

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