How to hire for your dental practice

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Running a successful dental practice in the UK is not just about your proficiency in using handpieces or knowledge of various dental instruments. It also relies significantly on the team you have around you. This article will discuss the essentials of hiring a strong, competent team for your dental practice.

Identifying Your Needs

First and foremost, consider your practice’s specific needs. What roles need filling? Do you need more dental hygienists, dental assistants, or reception staff? It’s vital to identify these requirements before embarking on the hiring process.

A cohesive team will often consist of members in different roles, from the reception staff who don the dental scrubs first thing in the morning to the dentists who handle the complex procedures. By identifying your practice’s unique needs, you can tailor your hiring process to attract the right candidates.

Crafting a Job Description

Writing an effective job description is crucial. It serves as the initial point of contact between your dental practice and potential candidates. Be specific about the role, responsibilities, and qualifications needed.

For instance, if you’re hiring a dental nurse, mention duties like preparing the treatment room, sterilising instruments, and assisting during procedures. Don’t shy away from detailing what a day at your practice might look like – from slipping into dental scrubs to closing patient files.

Where to Advertise

Selecting the right platforms for job postings can significantly influence the quality and quantity of applicants. Traditional methods like newspaper advertisements still work, but online platforms are increasingly popular.

Industry-specific job boards are a great place to start. Websites like BDJ Jobs cater specifically to the dental sector in the UK. Also, consider using general job listing websites like Indeed or LinkedIn, as they have a broad reach.

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Screening Applicants

Screening CVs can be a time-consuming task. Look for evidence of required qualifications, past experience, and skill sets matching your job description.

When reviewing applications, it’s important to consider not just the clinical competencies but also soft skills. Interpersonal skills, empathy, and communication abilities are crucial in a field like dentistry, where patient interaction is a significant part of the job.

The Interview Process

The interview stage is your chance to assess candidates beyond their CVs. It’s a two-way street, where you get to know the candidate, and they learn more about your practice.

Use this opportunity to delve into the candidate’s experience, their familiarity with dental instruments and procedures, their ability to work as a team, and how they handle pressure or challenging situations. Incorporate behavioural and situational questions to ascertain their problem-solving capabilities, stress management, and patient care philosophy.

Skill Assessment

While credentials and past experience are significant indicators, practical assessments provide hands-on proof of a candidate’s abilities. A skills assessment can involve anything from a trial day where they use handpieces under supervision, to a scenario where they explain a complex dental procedure to a ‘patient’.

References and Background Checks

Never underestimate the importance of reference checks. They can provide valuable insight into a candidate’s reliability, professionalism, and performance in previous roles.

A comprehensive background check is also essential, especially considering the sensitivity of the dental field. Ensure they’re registered with the General Dental Council, and their certifications are valid and up-to-date.

Onboarding

Once you’ve selected your new team member, the onboarding process begins. It’s vital to help them integrate into your practice. Introduce them to the team, show them around, make them familiar with the practice’s protocols, and ensure they know where all instruments and handpieces are kept. This will help set them up for success in your practice.

Hiring for your dental practice is undoubtedly a challenging and meticulous process, but the rewards of having a competent, committed team are invaluable. Remember, your team reflects your practice. So, the more effort you put into hiring the right people, the more your practice will thrive.

Retention Strategies

Having completed the arduous process of hiring, it’s equally important to focus on retention. Employee turnover can be costly, not only in financial terms but also in the cohesion and morale of your team.

Offer competitive salaries and benefits, provide opportunities for growth and learning, and foster an environment where staff feel valued and heard. Regularly check in with your team members, acknowledge their efforts, and address any concerns promptly. A positive workplace culture is key to retaining your talented professionals, so they continue to serve your patients in their dental scrubs with dedication and enthusiasm.

Continuous Improvement and Feedback

Finally, maintain an open-door policy and encourage continuous improvement. Feedback should flow in all directions – from you to your staff, from staff to you, and among staff members. It’s important to regularly review performance, celebrate achievements and discuss areas for improvement.

Training and development should be ongoing. Whether it’s keeping up with the latest in handpiece technology, mastering a new instrument, or refining patient communication skills, continuous learning benefits the individual, the team, and the patients. Providing avenues for professional development demonstrates your investment in your staff and their future with your practice, ensuring they feel engaged, motivated and part of a progressing team.

With this guide, you’re equipped to hire the right dental professionals who will suit up in their dental scrubs each day, ready to provide the best care for your patients.

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