Hiring and On-boarding for Your Dental Business

Are you responsible for sourcing, hiring, and on-boarding people for your dental business? Finding and integrating quality people that will not only show up but show up and perform is a daunting task. With unemployment sitting at 3.9% (Bureau of Labor Statistics), it’s not going to get any easier in the near future.

Let’s assume you have the first and most important things already in place: first, you have a company culture that is well defined. Your brand, which is your reputation, is great and everyone on your team knows, lives, and is proud to be a part of your company culture. Great job! Now you can move forward with interviewing and hiring to match your culture.

You must have systems and processes that involve the majority of your team in order to plan and successfully bring in new people to your organization. I have worked in the dental industry for 25 years as a practice owner, student, coach, author, mentor, and at times as an extremely frustrated member of this community. The latter drives my desire to share what I know works and what doesn’t in today’s world of hiring and on-boarding.  

These hiring tips will help you get where you need to go faster, more efficiently, and with a lot less frustration than you are accustomed to. You’ll make better hiring decisions, resulting in less turnover and a healthier environment for everyone.

On top of your many responsibilities, you know your team is expecting you to deliver a Michael Jordan to the office, do it quickly, and train them overnight. One of the biggest mistakes made in hiring is that there’s only one person involved in the process. To ensure success, the entire team must be involved and committed to the process.

Having your team involved in the hiring process is as important as having an engine under the hood of your car. It simply can’t work any other way. Why is that? They work 8-10 hours a day in their role. They know what the position requires and can tell you what the ideal team player looks like for the role. Don’t pass on the opportunity to involve them in designing the optimal hiring process for each role in your organization. They have the answers and the information that will build the foundation you need as a successful hiring manager.

Step one is to conduct “Stay Interviews”. Set aside one hour to focus on your team’s thoughts and feedback. We recommend you start with the top performers that fit your culture in each department. They have the most authentic and insightful information. Work your way down the list from there and meet with everyone from each department. Don’t skip anyone or discount feedback from newer team members.

As you meet with each team member you will gain important feedback about your culture, the position requirements, and the ideal candidate for the position.

Conducting “Stay Interviews” and asking for their input has two important benefits: you obtain valuable information about the right person to hire, and the team will be more likely to trust you with hiring decisions because they were involved in determining criteria for the ideal team player for the role.

Once you have a strong candidate for the position the next steps are crucial in the hiring process. Typically, hiring managers jump right into what is usually called a “working interview” (using this term can put the company at risk) and have the candidate visit the office for 2-3 hours and complete several tasks. Instead, I recommend you start calling it a Skills Assessment and treat it as such. Having a successful Skills Assessment system is paramount to making excellent hiring decisions. Here’s how it works:

  1. Schedule a Skills Assessment (minimum of 6 hours with pay)
  2. Have the candidate sign a Skills Assessment Consent form  
  3. Block “knee to knee” time with the people they would work with
  4. Have a checklist of things they should accomplish during the Skills Assessment with supervision by a team member from that department
  5. Do not ignore immediate “red flags”


If, at the end of the first Skill Assessment day you are not 100% confident they are a good fit for your culture, but you saw positive signs and coachability bring them back for another Skills Assessment Day with pay. There is no harm in continuing to evaluate the candidate as a good fit. Shotgun hiring, ignoring warning signs, hiring fast and because they are a nice person are all common, yet unfortunate mistakes. The Skills Assessment process is key to your success in hiring the right people.


There is no magic wand that you can wave over the challenges of hiring, but I am certain if you implement these two ideas you will be well on your way to better decisions and less heartburn. Happy hiring!


Randa is the President and Co-Founder of Dental Team Finder LLC, a leading dental specific recruiting firm. She speaks both nationally and internationally on many topics related to the business of dentistry. She has published articles in Contemporary Esthetics, Dental Economics, AADOM and Dental Mentor magazines. Randa and the recruiters at Dental Team Finder are dedicated to building lasting relationships with their partners and friends in the dental community