Thursday, May 27, 2010

Will My New Associate Be Here In 6 Months?

As recruiters, we are frequently asked, “What is your success rate?”.

We took a look at the placement history of more than 1,200 dentists we’ve placed over the past nine years. 93% of the Dentists we’ve placed in full-time positions with independent practices and clinics were with their new employer after six months. In calculating this number we did not include five “high turn-over” practices and two practice-management clients. We also did not count any Dentist who did not make it through their first week “working interview”.

Lessons Learned:

• Practice owners should interview multiple Associate candidates – If you limit your candidate pool to the few you can find by networking with local suppliers or running a local advertisement you are severely limiting your chances of finding the best candidate. It typically takes our recruiters 1,300 networking phone or email contacts to make a placement. The majority of Dentists we place relocate from somewhere else. Most have ties to the area. When a practice asks us to conduct a search we:

  • Reach out to any Dentist candidate who has previously expressed interest in a similar opportunity. (We’ve interviewed more than 15,000 dentists and have contact information for more than 80,000 others)

  • Post on more than a dozen web sites, including Monster and CareerBuilder. receives more Dentist inquiries than either of these major sites.

  • Constantly reach out to military Dentists who will soon be ending their commission.

  • Network with soon-to-be Dental School and Residency grads.

  • Screen and present all viable Associate candidates, not just the one or two who happen to read the local Dental journal or advertisement in the Sunday paper.

• Full-disclosure is critical – Contrary to popular belief, when an Associate relationship doesn’t work out, it typically has little to do with an Associates’ clinical skills. Typically the Associate and the practice had not come to a clear understanding of their respective needs and expectations.

• Discuss everything up-front – We’ve seen a number of well meaning practice owners and associate candidates decide to “work something out” after the Associate starts, rather than addressing the issue up-front during the interview and negotiation process. Compensation issues, scheduling, support, clinical philosophies and long-term goals should all be discussed prior to an offer or contract is extended.

• Be Prepared to Hire – With the exception of a few saturated Dental school cities, there is truly a shortage of Dentists. A solid Associate candidate often has the choice of multiple opportunities. Many practices lose outstanding Associate candidates simply because they weren’t prepared.

The work you do up front in recruiting and preparing for your new Associate will pay dividends for years to come.

Written by Mark Kennedy, Managing Director of ETS Dental. Find out more at