Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Associate Dentist Jobs - Understanding the Numbers When Comparing Multiple Job Offers

It is always great to have options, but how does one job offer compare to another? We covered the typically negotiable elements of a job offer previously (read that blog post here). The purpose of this week’s blog is to share the observation that many dentists are leaving money on the table in search of a higher percentage.
Why not accept the bigger offer?
At the end of the day, a higher percentage of lesser production will often result in less income with a slower path to increased production.
My email contact list is filled with dentists who are financially dissatisfied yet unwilling to make a move because they would need to take a commission cut. While not always the case, there is a definite trend with the offices where these doctors are working. These offices typically:
  • Have not invested in modernization . They have older equipment and office systems
  • Have no marketing budget and get few new patients. They are long established patient bases that gradually grew to the point where the owner had more patients than he or she could comfortably treat.
  • Are not well situated. They are typically located in old building removed from the busier, higher rent part of town.
As a result, the practices had very low overhead expenses and could offer the associates a higher percentage. They also tend to be slower, less progressive and charge lower-than-average fees.
Associates in offices like this will make significantly less income on a higher percentage than their busier colleagues working for a smaller percentage in offices with higher overhead but a more progressive clinical and business approach.
Why wouldn’t a more successful office offer a higher percentage?
These offices are reinvesting in the practices and have lower per-procedure profit margins.
While associates are often tempted to conclude that the business’ overhead is not their concern, it is wiser to consider the bigger picture. By investing in the practice, these owners are providing a better environment for the associate to thrive. The associate can more easily provide a higher level of care using better facilities. In addition, the associate can more easily operate efficiently using better office systems and will have more opportunities for treatment in an office with a greater number of new patients.
How big a difference does this make in associate compensation?

Daily Production Annual income at 27% Annual income at 30% Annual income at 33%
$2,000 $108,000 $120,000 $132,000
$2,500 $135,000 $150,000 $165,000
$3,000 $162,000 $180,000 $198,000
As you can see, a small increase in daily production has a much larger impact on income than commission percentage
What should a potential associate look for when determining the income potential of an office?
  • Procedural Mix
  • New Patient Numbers
  • Scheduling procedures
  • Hygiene production
  • What procedures are being referred out of the office
  • Office equipment (business and clinical)
Other resources on associate dentist job offers:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Annual Planning – To Add or Not to Add an Associate

With the holiday season in full swing and the end of the year approaching faster than ever, many practice owners utilize this time of year to put the finishing touches on their business plans and goals for the upcoming year. Perhaps one of the most important decisions any practice owner will make during annual planning is whether or not to add an associate dentist to their practice.

Knowing if your practice is ready to hire an associate, however, is key to determining the success of any expansion. Here are some tips to follow when considering the addition of an associate to your practice, including good reasons to add and good reasons to wait:

Good Reasons to Add
It fits with your mission – If you offer a unique set of services to your target patient base, your production numbers are above industry norms, and you can easily add more patients by offering more capacity, it might be a good time to look at adding an associate.

It fits with your long-term strategy – We’ve written numerous articles over the years about having a clear picture of what you want your practice to look like and be like in five years, ten years, or when you are ready to transition out. If you don’t have a long-term objective, it’s important to develop one before hiring anyone. If you need some help, we’ve put together a great guide on preparing a business plan and organizing your objectives and goals: Dental Practice Owners: 8 Simple Steps to preparing a Business Plan 
A great opportunity presents itself –One of the best indicators it may be time to add an associate is if there is an underserved patient population in your community and you could fill a new associate’s schedule by catering to their needs.

You find an associate with the following three qualities
1. His clinical philosophy is in sync with yours
2. Her personality fits well with yours and that of your office culture
3. Your long term goals align (i.e. she wants to buy an office in 5 years, you want to sell your office in 5 years)

If these three things align, just about all other issues can be worked out in time. If clinical philosophies, personalities, or long-term goals are not in line, however, don’t make the hire.

Complimentary Skills – If an associate loves working with pediatric patients, doing extractions, or performing endodontic procedures and you routinely refer these cases out, you may be able to add a complimentary revenue stream to your practice without adding patients.

You can afford to fail – Adding an associate is a calculated risk. Make absolutely sure that if an associate does not work out, it will not seriously jeopardize the long-term health of your practice. We’ve seen dentists literally hand their practice over to a new associate on their first day so the owner could take an extended two month vacation or stop practicing all together. This is a recipe for disaster, and often comes with costly consequences for the practice owner.

You are truly prepared – Make sure you have the operatories, systems, and staff to support a new associate before you make a hire. The reason that most associate relationships fail is because the practice simply wasn’t ready. There are plenty of great associate opportunities out there. Don’t lose a great associate because he or she lacks the equipment, staff, mentoring, or patients. Just because you need an associate does not mean your practice is ready for one.

Good Reasons to Wait
Your practice’s systems are inefficient – When was the last time you took a look at your practice’s internal efficiencies? Is your practice producing what comparably-sized practices are? If the answer is no, you may want to speak with a practice consultant so you can get the most out of your current system and team. Adding an associate will not fix your production issues, but will simply add to the inefficiency of your practice.

You want more time off – Many dentists make the mistake of adding an associate simply because they want more time off. This reason is perfectly justifiable, but first you need to assess the financial impact of an associate taking over some or all of your current production. If you can improve your quality of life by adding an associate to share your current workload and give you more free time, by all means do it. Just make sure you get with your CPA to ensure you truly understand the financial impact of such a decision.

You’ve just expanded or built a new office and want to “fill it up” – Just because a new building will accommodate two, three, four, or five dentists and the accompanying support staff doesn’t mean you will immediately have patient demand to fill everyone’s schedule immediately. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t always work when it comes to dentistry, especially in the short term.

Your competitor just hired an associate – Can you hear your Mom saying “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” There is a lot of truth behind that old phraseology, as silly as it may seem. What might be right for a competitor’s practice and financial situation isn’t necessarily best for your own practice, and vice versa. Identifying and assessing your practice’s specific needs and goals will always warrant better results than simply trying to copy your competitor’s strategies.

Adding an associate is an important decision for any practice owner to make. With some careful thought and planning, though, the addition of the right team member to any practice can boost production levels and increase the overall profitability of the practice as a whole.

If you’re considering adding an associate, feel free to reach out to one of our experienced dental recruiters and let ETS find your next great associate for you!

Written by Mark Kennedy, President and Owner of ETS Dental, Vision, Tech-Ops, and Therapy. For more information, contact us and let ETS Dental find your next associate, partner, or buyer today!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Recruiter's View: Candidate-Driven Market to Present Retention Challenges in 2015 Among Top Performers

U.S. employment had its challenges during the winter months of 2014, but throughout most of the year we've experienced consistent growth as 222,000 new jobs has become the 12-month average. Despite the fact that many companies are in growth mode, retention is increasingly problematic. This is especially challenging in the executive, managerial and professional job sector which is candidate-driven, as the brightest talent recognize more jobs are available and feel more confident about pursuing them. Recruitment additionally faces challenges in the sector, as many employers continue to lose great candidates to lengthy hiring practices, below-market salaries and an inability to sell the company brand, the role and true advancement opportunities. New data from the most recent MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, a biannual employment landscape survey of MRINetwork recruiters across approximately 600 worldwide offices, indicates that the candidate-driven market, which has experienced a consistent uptick since 2011, is here to stay, and the rate at which top performers are rejecting job offers continues to grow. As we approach 2015, employers will need to review their recruitment and retention strategies from the top down to remain attractive to employees and potential new hires.

"It is definitely and without a doubt a candidate-driven market, however many employers are still laboring under the same processes as they did when it was an employer-driven market," said a recruiter responding to the study. "Candidates now have choices and employers need to make the interview process go smoothly and quickly." According to the report, in the second half of 2014, 83 percent of recruiters described the talent market as candidate-driven, up 29 percentage points from the second half of 2011.

The executive and managerial market continues to be candidate-driven because of the availability of more job opportunities and growing talent shortages due to skill gaps. Top performers have a strong advantage, with multiple job offers to consider and the ability to reject less desirable work opportunities. This is significant when you consider the factors motivating a job move. According to the study, 49 percent of recruiters say greater opportunities for advancement is the primary motivating factor for candidates looking to make a move, followed by improved compensation. Based on year-over-year data, the main reasons for rejected job offers continue to be a result of great candidates accepting offers with other companies and being presented with disappointing compensation. Further, the time between the first interview and the rejected offer is shrinking, with a six percentage point increase from the second half of 2013, for candidates that rejected offers within two weeks of the first interview.

FFP December 2014
Click to enlarge.

MRINetwork recruiters provide the following survey insight about rejected job offers:

  • The search process is still taking way too long considering the recession has been behind us for years and the fact that it is a candidate-driven market in many industries. This provides candidates with the time to investigate other opportunities.
  • Candidates are much more fully engaged and also much more aware of their worth in the marketplace.
  • Clients are still looking for the perfect candidate, yet are not offering an enticing salary.

With more top performers moving on, the candidate-driven market points to several things:

  • Internal and external branding will continue to be important as companies face growing pressure to sell their value proposition to employees and candidates. "They are operating with the mindset that there are an abundance of candidates, all willing to jump through hoops to get a job at their company, and that is just not true anymore," says an MRINetwork recruiter.
  • A streamlined hiring process will be imperative to avoid losing top candidates in 2015 and beyond. One recruiter notes, "Every candidate we speak with is actively looking and has several irons in the fire."
  • Talented employees who were hired at bargain salaries during the recession will be moving on.  The majority of MRINetwork recruiters (83 percent) say they have interacted recently with these under-compensated and under-employed candidates who are anxious to improve their earning capacity. Salary and benefit packages will need to be adjusted to retain these individuals.

Although the study results demonstrate that hiring trends are highly favorable towards top performers in the executive, managerial and professional space, recruitment and retention will continue to present ongoing challenges for overall hiring as the job market expands. A fundamental shift is taking place in the way in which candidates expect to be recruited, and companies need to get on board with these changes to bring in and hold on to the talent they seek.

To view the complete study, visit

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What to Look for in a Reference

A lot can go into a hiring manager’s decision of whether or not to bring you on as their next employee, including your skill set, work experience, personality, and professionalism. While a lot of emphasis and focus is often placed on the above items, sometimes the deciding factor may come down to how effectively your references portray you as the best fit for the hiring manager’s need.

Here are some guidelines to follow when providing professional references to a potential future employer:
  1. Follow the employer’s instructions regarding references – Many job applicants often wonder if they should always include professional references on their resume or application. A good rule of thumb is if a job posting doesn’t request references, then don’t list any references on your resume. When a posting does require references, follow the instructions exactly as listed on the job application. Adhering to an employer’s instructions is always the first step to showing you’re a competent and detail-oriented applicant.
  2. Choose references wisely – Obviously the most important step to selecting a good professional reference is, well, selecting a good professional reference. But which individuals from your work history would make the best references? Your professional references should all have the following qualities:
    1. Genuinely want to see you succeed and do well in your career
    2. Able to answer tough questions about you on-the-fly
    3. Witnessed you demonstrate both hard skills (specific, teachable abilities) and soft skills (interacting effectively with other people) in a work environment
    4. Well-spoken and able to clearly communicate your strengths, expertise, and professionalism in detail
  3. Avoid workplace conflict – If you haven’t announced to your current employer that you’re looking for a new position elsewhere, carefully consider who you list as a reference if any of those references work with you currently. Make sure your coworker can be trusted to keep your search confidential until you decide to make the announcement in your own time.
  4. Ask for permission – Reaching out to your professional references before listing them on a resume or application is not only a polite professional courtesy, but also gives you the opportunity to briefly update them on your recent work history and goals. While most individuals you consider as a reference will be willing to help you out, have a few extra potentials in mind in case one of them politely declines or expresses hesitation. Never make someone feel obligated to serve as your professional reference – their hesitation might be interpreted as negativity when your interviewer gives them a call, skewing your chances of landing the job.
  5. Get updated contact info – Be sure to get updated contact information for all of your references, and verify their information is up-to-date before submitting your resume or application. For each reference, include the person’s name, job title, relationship to you (co-worker, manager, etc.), company name, address, and contact info (at least one phone number and an email address, if possible). Going through the trouble of lining up the perfect reference is wasted time if they can’t be reached.
Occasionally check in with your references and make sure their contact info hasn’t changed. If you know a professional reference you listed has been contacted by your potential employer, it’s OK to thank them with one quick email or phone call for their willingness to help you out. Doing so will reiterate your professionalism and will leave your reference with positive feelings toward you that could potentially shine through in their next conversation with a hiring manager.

ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Looking at the Job Interview through a New Lens

Most companies conduct job interviews as a series of one-on-one conversations between pre-screened candidates and key decision makers. The goal is to gain more details about the depth of the interviewee's skills, and assess whether they will be a good fit for the role and the company culture. However, when you consider the efficiency of this method in the executive, managerial and professional space, there may be a better approach. If your company operates through more of a collaborative, team approach, that same methodology can be used to ensure you make a good hire.

FFP November 2014 
Click to enlarge.

So what is a team interviewing process and what does it look like? "A team interview operates under the premise that top candidates typically excel during one-on-one interviews because they know all the right things to say," observes Nancy Halverson, vice president of global operations for MRINetwork. "They're well prepared and they're great under pressure. Putting them in a group setting turns the tables a bit, presenting a scenario where only individuals who have the ability to work well in a team will excel. Further, a team interview provides the opportunity for the company to conduct routine business exercises, such as brainstorming or planning sessions, where the candidate is asked to contribute to the group's discussion on anything from the development of a strategy, to shaping the required steps for execution of an upcoming initiative."

Unlike panel interviews, team interviews do not focus on rapid-fire questions from multiple stakeholders that can create a stressful situation for candidates. Instead, team interviews let decision makers subtly observe candidates in a seemingly more casual environment.

Halverson offers the following advice for why employers should consider bringing in the team to evaluate candidates:

A team interview helps employers quickly weed out candidates who are not a good fit. Great candidates who don't have the collaborative skills needed to succeed in the organization are eliminated at this stage, thereby expediting the interviewing process. A swift interviewing process is critical in the candidate-driven professional space: it means a faster hiring process for the company, which in turn increases the ability to keep top performers, who have several job opportunities at their disposal, engaged in the process.

This scenario provides more objectivity during the interviewing process. Having multiple team members interact with candidates in a group setting and observe their behavior, is much more effective than just evaluating candidates from the perspective of one interviewer.

The sharing, cooperative aspect of team interviews caters to the work environment that many Millennials seek. This will become increasingly important as Millennials become the majority of the 2020 workforce.

A team interview can help companies avoid wasting time and money on a bad hire. Just because a candidate is talented and skilled, doesn't mean he or she would be right for your organization.

As the executive, managerial and professional labor market becomes increasingly candidate-driven, companies have to look for every way possible to shorten their hiring processes and keep their top picks from accepting other job offers. Team interviews expedite the recruitment process by replacing several individual meetings with key decision makers and condensing them into one group meeting. Halverson concludes, "A team interview is a great way to gain deeper insight about candidates' collaborative and interpersonal skills, while also giving them a glimpse of the company’s culture and approach to work. Job interviews should be a two-way exchange. If played well, this experience could be the thing that makes "A players" want the job opportunity as much as your organization wants them."