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Hiring Team Members with No Dental Experience

dental experience

We’re in the midst of an interesting employment market. The uncertainty brought on by the COVID pandemic has left everything from fast food employees to director positions sitting empty, and we’ve got a workforce that’s expanding into uncharted job territory. Everyone is having a hard time filling open positions with qualified personnel. But what makes someone qualified, and is that a necessary barrier to filling a position?

The dental industry is one that saw a major upheaval in 2020. Now that dentists have returned to normal office hours, they are left with trying to replace staff members who did not return. But is dental experience necessary to fill the openings we desperately need filled? Depending upon the position, you can likely expand your candidate field to find the perfect fit.

How do we know if a candidate needs dental experience?

Can you work at a dental office with no experience? If you’re replacing a senior DDS who decided to take an early retirement, you may want to find someone with real world dental experience. On the other hand, replacing your dental office receptionist or dental assistant may be simpler than that.

Create a job description

The first thing you need to do with any position is to define what exactly the role entails. Some tasks require intricate knowledge of a subject, while others can be completed by anyone who can follow a set of instructions. If you primarily need someone with skills that match dental front desk job requirements like performing administrative duties and interacting with patients, it’s not hard to find someone who has the right skill set and can be trained to work out very well on your growing team. With or without prior dental experience.

Do you have solid SOPs and onboarding processes?

A great candidate doesn’t necessarily need dental experience, especially if they are filling a support role in your organization. If you have well defined processes and someone who can help get new hires up to speed through the onboarding process, your candidates should have little trouble adapting their existing skill sets to the world of dentistry. 

The key to this concept is that you must have clear and complete instructions for each task. If your SOPs (standard operating procedures) are lacking in direction or clarity, even the most competent candidate can have a tough time meeting expectations.

Finding good hires with no previous dental experience?

If you want to attract qualified individuals without sifting through stacks of applications, you’ll need a plan that helps you identify and land quality applicants. You’ll want a plan that targets the talent pools with the correct skill sets, as well as the ones with industry experience. Understanding your community is an important part of identifying viable talent pipelines.

Rethink your hiring process

Rather than simply posting numerous job openings on a variety of traditional jobs boards with the phrase “no dental experience required” listed, it’s a good idea to think long and hard about the options available. Is there a talent pipeline in your area that you can tap into?

You can post on a dozen job sites, but you may find yourself exposed to the same applicants over and over again. By thinking outside the box, you may be able to find candidates before they even hit the market.

Are there any colleges in the area?

If you live in an area with a state college or private university, that’s an excellent place to start your search. The students coming out of these programs may not have dentistry experience, but they have the skills to learn and adapt, and are going to be entering the workforce in the very near future. 

Getting someone straight out of school means they likely haven’t yet developed any unbreakable habits learned in another job, and you can train them to work well in your organization and company culture.

Many schools already have internship programs set up, which can be a great way to vet potential team members. Taking someone on as an intern gives you the ability to assess their skills and ability to work with your team without necessarily being stuck with that employee for the long term. If they work out, you can hire them on, and if not, you can continue your search. If your local school doesn’t offer an internship program, maybe you can offer to help them get one started.

Look for referrals from your current team members

One of the most popular ways of finding new employees in any industry is through employee referrals. There’s a good chance a member of your dental office staff knows someone who is looking for work who would be a great fit. You’ve got a built in reference, and the potential candidates have direct insight into the company culture. It’s a win-win.

Post job openings on your website

Your website is the first place many people will look when they’ve got enough interest to look deeper into your organization. You’ll want to make sure your site is up to date, showcases your company culture, and has a portal where they can contact you to inquire about openings. If your site conveys an attractive work experience and gives candidates a way to contact you directly, you’ll have a direct link to dental professionals who are looking for work in your area.

Don’t doubt the power of social media 

People use social media for everything, and job hunting is no exception. Using social media to help with your hiring delivers a lot of great benefits that you won’t find in many other places. 

Social sites like LinkedIn allow you to make quick work of evaluating minimum qualifications, previous work experience, and even help you identify mutual acquaintances who can provide valuable references. 

Viewing your company on a social media profile also allows potential hires a much more personal glimpse into your organization than a simple job posting, so you’ll both know what you’re getting into right away.

Setting up team members with no dental experience for success

If you’ve got a position or two that can be filled by someone without prior dental experience, you must set them up for success if you want them to excel and grow as a part of your team. There are a number of ways you can ensure your new hires hit the ground running.

Create a well-rounded team

Setting up a good mix of industry veterans and fresh dental talent is a great way to keep everyone on the same page. Training a new hire to fit their position perfectly is much easier when you have experienced dental professionals to guide them through all the ins and outs of the industry. It creates a sense of teamwork, develops your team’s talent, and that teacher/student relationship will promote cohesiveness in the way employees get things done.

Create a culture that attracts and retains top talent

Whether you’re trying to recruit a new team member with years of experience or someone who’s never worked in a dental office before, creating a culture where they’ll feel valued and are continually learning is key to meeting and exceeding their expectations. 

When cultivating the perfect patient experience, dental offices succeed when their team works well together. By creating a culture that attracts and retains top talent, you’ll turn your new hires into the seasoned professionals that train your next generation staff, as well as provide care for the patients they’ve known for years.

Create efficient systems and checklists

Your new dental front desk receptionist doesn’t necessarily need a dental receptionist certificate, but they do need to understand what their job duties are and how to correctly complete them. Give them the tools they need to succeed.

Whenever we do something for the first time, it’s incredibly helpful to have documented processes that take us from the beginning of our tasks all the way to the end. Having a well-defined set of tasks and parameters takes any stress or uncertainty out of completing dental front desk job requirements. It’s not limited to receptionists either. Even simple checklists can help everyone in your organization do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

If you don’t have your processes documented for your daily tasks, there’s no time like the present to start creating them. Invite members of your team to collaborate on the processes. You’ll get great input from everyone who will be using the new system, and they’ll feel like more valued parts of your organization.

Enlist help

Sometimes we achieve the greatest outcomes when we enlist the help of qualified people. When something falls outside of the normal scope of our businesses, hiring someone with the skills to help us accomplish our goals saves us time and money. You’ve got dental experience, but you may not have experience in hiring a quality candidate from another field. If you need help, we’re here to help you find it.