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3 minutes reading time (548 words)

Dental Consultant Advice: Hiring

Dental Consultant Advice: Hiring

1. A cleint recently told me how he now uses our dental office manuals as part of his hiring procedure. He has the applicants go home with our General Policy Manual and read it.

Then if the applicant actually comes back and passes an open book test, he hires them. I thought that was a creative way to determine if an applicant has initiative and can understand written policy.

2. Ask applicants about their past accomplishments. What this does is highlight the go-getters, those who take initiative and get things done.

Of course, we also recommend that you verify those accomplishments because you can run across some pretty good story tellers. Also watch out for the people who just give you a job title - there are plenty of people who run around looking very busy but get nothing accomplished.

3. Always check previous employers and speak to the practice owner personally if possible. In general the only questions a former employer legally has to answer are dates of employment and verifying position/title for accuracy. That being said do the best you can to confirm all facts on the application and ask about reason for termination, their ability to work with others, absenteeism, duties, performance level, etc. You probably won’t get many answers but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. Also a great questions to ask is, "If you had the opportunity, would you hire them back?". Their response (or lack of response, hesitation, etc.) can be very revealing.

4. Keep in mind that some prospective employee can interview well, have a good resume and give all the right answers but they may still be a disaster. The real trick then is to recognize fairly quickly you made an error and cut your losses if you do get fooled. Don't feel bad if it happens as it has happened to nearly everyone more often than we all would like to admit.

5. Never overpay. Whatever you do don't blow out your payroll percent with a high paying "free agent". It rarely works out in sports let alone in the management of dental practices.

The unfortunate truth is that is there is no full proof way to know if a new hire will work out or not until you see them in action. If there was someone would be very wealthy indeed!

6. Once you have narrowed down your candidate consider having the person go to lunch with your other staff. There are practice owners who highly recommend doing so as getting your staff being part of the hiring process has very little downside and in fact makes the team that much more cohesive. When you give staff part of the responsibility to “green light” a new hire it tends to make them that much more responsible for the employee success once hired.


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at 

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