Friday, December 19, 2014

Reference Checks: The Questions That Can Make or Break Your Practice

In many ways, the dental community is isolated from the rest of the business world. While the corporate world is encroaching, most practices are still built around the owner who, generally, has little formal business training and may well remember the days when a handshake was enough.

As recruiters, we often start our relationships with dental practices who have recently gone through a frustrating and often messy termination. Unfortunately, the doctors who leave the biggest messes easily find other employment only to leave a similar wake of destruction in their next office. Why is it so easy for these doctors to ruin one practice after another?

Dental Practices, as a group, routinely fail to protect the practice, staff and patients by performing a simple reference check. The importance of reference checking is well-documented in the larger business world.

Simply checking license history is no longer enough. You have the right to ask for references, and you should not settle for personal references. Ask for contact information of previous employers or faculty, if appropriate. Here are some practical steps to help make a reference check call easy, informative and less time consuming.

Confirm the details
Do not be shy to ask how the reference knows the job seeker. Find out how long they have known each other. If the reference is a former employer, ask for dates of employment. Ask what their function was in that position.

Decide what you want to know before you call

When we perform reference checks on behalf of our clients, we ask the reference to rate the job candidate on productivity, the quality of their work, their oral and written expression, their working relationships, their motivation and initiative, and their punctuality and attendance.

Know what he/she does well

Ask the reference what they would consider to be the job seeker’s greatest strengths in the position. Also, ask what the employer’s expectations were and how well the job seeker fulfilled them. Do they work better independently or under direct supervision?

Know where the job seeker could improve

This is a great way to ask for constructive criticism in a way that will not make the reference feel uncomfortable about giving a bad reference. Be sure to ask if the job seeker was open to critique and if progress was made toward improvement.

Would the reference hire or re-hire the job seeker?

This is straight to the point. If you hear “No,” make sure that you know why.

When you finish the reference check, be sure to thank the reference for the time that they spent with you and the information they provided. They may well have just saved you from a bad decision or enabled you to sleep well with the decision you will make.

Written by Morgan Pace, Vice President and Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Morgan directly at (540) 491-9102 or Find out more at

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."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Checklist and Timeline for Graduating Dental Students

Graduation from Dental School is an exciting time, and there is a lot to do. We’ve put together a checklist and timeline of things to consider when working on your job search. We hope this can help you avoid any delays in kicking off your career as a new dentist.

Checklist for Graduating Dental Students
  • FIRST! Set your personal career goals by determining your ideal practice setting and financial needs. Try to plan for the first 2 to 5 years of your career. Trust me, this plan will look completely different in 1 to 3 years.
  • Resume: sample
  • Cover Letter: sample
  • Proof Book or Look Book
    • Contains case presentations, before/after photos, letters of recommendations, testimonials, production date, etc.
  • References
    • Needs to be professional, academic, or any non-family member
    • Three is plenty
  • Interview Preparation: complete list of tips
  • License Applications
    • States vary so make sure to learn what they require, especially what Regional Board exams they recognize
  • Other permits: DEA, state controlled substance permit, sedation permits

    Other helpful links:
    Timeline: You will need to budget your time and understand factors that may delay your expected start date with a practice. Ideally you need to plan on not starting with a practice for at least six weeks after graduation. Here are some dates or blocks of time to consider.
  • Graduation Date
    • Late May or Early June
  • Board Scores
    • Take your regional exams as early as possible in order to have your scores prior to your graduation
    • Many employers won’t show interest unless you have passed your regional board
  • Job applications
  • Telephone Interview
    • Plan for this to take place within one to three weeks after you submit an application or resume
  • Face to Face Interview
    • Plan for this to take place within one to six weeks after your telephone interview
  • Licensing process
    • Takes 4 to 6 weeks
    • Fingerprints: We recommend doing this as early as you can per the state boards’ rules. Sometimes it takes weeks to mail off your fingerprints and wait for your receipt that must accompany your license application
    • Background and credential verification: Some states (notably AK, NM, WY and several others) use a third party service for credentialing that will add 30 to 60 days to your license processing time.
    • It’s very important to learn which states require applicants to submit their licensing applications in conjunction with state board meeting dates. For example, AK only meets quarterly, and requires applications to be in the office 45 days before that meeting.
  • Insurance credentialing
    • Once you have the license, the job, and a start date, you may still be delayed on production if you must wait for insurance or medicaid credentialing processes. This could take a couple of weeks to several months depending on the state and the insurance companies

Typical Timeline for a New Doctor to Start Employment
Build resume, cover letter
February 1, 2015
Start submitting applications to practices
February 1, 2015
Telephone interviews done
February 28, 2015
1 month
Face to Face Interviews completed
April 20, 2015
Receive offers
May 1, 2015
2 months
Accept Offers
May 9, 2015
May 23, 2015
License application completed and submitted
June 1, 2015
3 months
License issued
July 1, 2015
Start employment
July 6, 2015
4 months
Insurance/Medicaid credentialing completed
August 17, 2015
5.5 months

5 to 6 months from starting your search to reaching full capacity as a newly employed associate
Other timeline factors to consider:
  • Job search is in rural areas or across the country: Add weeks or months to your search since timing of interviews will likely be determined by your ability to travel and breaks in your school schedule
  • Spouse or significant other’s schedule
  • Kids’ schedules
  • Delays in your clinical requirements completion
Written by Carl Guthrie, Senior Account Executive/Dental Recruiter at ETS Dental. For more information, contact Carl directly at 540-491-9104 or

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Associate Pay: Collections vs Production

Money Tree

This debate will exist forever. Associates want to be paid on production. Practices want to pay associates on collections. Associates say “Not my responsibility to collect money on production” or “I don’t manage the front office staff.” Practices say “can’t pay what we don’t collect” or “What if associate over-produces in order to make more money?”

It’s simple to understand and agree with either side of the argument. I have this same conversation with prospective associates and practice owners daily.

Collections pay is my preference in most cases involving FFS, PPO, and some Medicaid practices. I prefer to avoid DHMO practices since associates are better off being paid a salary rather than a percentage in those models.

Why Use Collections Based Pay?

  1. It is in the best business interest of the practice to collect all co-pays up front and bill insurance immediately. If the practice doesn’t do this effectively, the associate relationship will fail regardless of compensation method. Practices can’t keep paying bills if they don’t have the cash to do it.
  2. Production pay in most cases is “Adjusted Production.” Adjusted production is pay based on what the practice anticipates it will collect on a procedure based on the patient’s insurance plan. 
    1. UCR may be $1,000 for that crown, but since patient x is an ABC PPO patient, the crown production is actually $800. Production $800. At 30% associate earns $240.
    2. Let’s assume that crown doesn’t get covered, and the practice has to attempt to collect from the patient. After 90 or 120 days the crown fee is written off. A lot of practices will come back and deduct that $240 from a future paycheck.
  3. Based on the above, I would rather know that I am paid with money I keep and don’t have a chance of losing at a future date.
  4. Using a base guaranteed salary or a minimum draw will help with the initial employment period of 3 to 6 months to get the associate started. If the collections are not above the draw in that timeframe, there are problems with the practice systems, and likely not a place an associate will want to work. 

    Side By Side Comparisons
Associate paid when practice is paid Associate is paid at time of completed procedure regardless if practice collects patient/insurance payment
Practice can cash flow collections with payroll Practice likely has a deficit for a period of time between payroll and insurance/patient payment
Adjustments are made before associate is paid therefore greatly limiting future payroll adjustments Associate is paid up front, but the practice will adjust future payroll for uncollected payments ( isn’t this “collections” pay, just delayed for the practice?)
Associate often questions or wants proof that money is being collected by practice Associate feels more secure in knowing he/she is paid for work when it is done
Simple accounting cash in, cash out Accounting more challenging. Adjusted production usually means the practice will want to recoup payroll paid on uncollected procedures at a later date. Lots of tracking involved.
If practice collection percentage drops too low then associate will leave Theoretically, associate should be paid regardless if the practice is paid. If practice can’t collect practice would wind up terminating associate because it couldn’t afford associate
Collections based pay will better prepare associate for future ownership or partnership where he/she will live or die by cash flow Production based pay can build an unrealistic view of associates abilities in actual revenue

Stats and Red Flags
  • In most cases looking for collections percentage above 97%; anything out of the 90’s is no good
  • Practice has to open the books to the associate so he/she can see production/collection numbers. If practice is not willing to do this then the associate should move on
  • As in everything, communication is vital to everyone's success. Without communication all is lost
  • Associate needs to be educated and understand dental insurance, collection policies, timeline of collections, write-offs, etc
  • Practice should been willing to give an initial base minimum to build a mutual commitment
Written by Carl Guthrie, Senior Account Executive/Dental Recruiter at ETS Dental. For more information, contact Carl directly at 540-491-9104 or

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Marketable Clinical Skills - How Do you Compare?

What does it take to stand out from the crowd? What CE should you take to make yourself a more marketable candidate in the dentist job market?

Many factors play a role in a practice owner’s hiring decision. Matching treatment philosophies, goal alignment, communication skills, and personality compatibility all play a role. When an owner is comparing otherwise similar associate candidates, clinical skills will always be a major consideration. So how do you stack up?

Our firm, ETS Dental, is in a unique position to answer that. With over 9,500 general dentist interviews logged into our database, we are able to create a profile of the clinic skills self-reported by the average associate dentist candidate. Here is what we found.

Rotary Trained 84%
Comfortable with 1st Molars (uppers or lowers) 68%
Comfortable with 2nd Molars (uppers or lowers) 45%

Comfortable with Surgical Extractions 79%
Comfortable Extracting Soft Tissue Impactions 46%
Comfortable Extracting Partial Bony Impactions 28%
Comfortable Extracting Full Bony Impactions 8%

Crown and Bridge 95%
Removable 93%
Veneers 65%

Pediatric Dentistry
Will only see adult patients 8%
Would limit their work with children 13%

Places Implants 15%
Restores Implants 73%

Additionally, we found that an associate candidate’s flexibility can increase the number of options available.

Would work some Saturdays 42%

Practice Environment
Would work in a corporate practice 41%
Would work in a Medicaid Clinic 23%
Would work in a Public Health Office 27%
Would work in Medicaid or Public Health 33%

While these results are self-reported and not scientific, they give a good overview of the clinical skills available in the associate dentist job market. It is our hope that this information will be helpful to you as you plan your next career move.

Written by Vice President and Senior Account Executive/Dental Recruiter Morgan Pace. For more information, contact Morgan directly at 540-491-9102 or

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Base Salary (AKA Minimum Guarantee) for Associate Dentists

Over the past ten years, base salaries for General Dentists seeking associateships have become more commonplace in response to an increasingly competitive dental job market. Several factors have played into this change, including the ever-growing level of student debt and increased presence of Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) in the industry. From a practice owner’s perspective, the practice can use the guaranteed minimum to say “we have the patients and potential production available - can you produce?” As such, there is a perceived financial security with a base salary.
Below are some common ways we’ve seen dental practices pay base premiums to its associates.

Common Ways Dental Practices Pay Base Minimums
  1. Daily/Monthly Draw on future commission : This structure is, by far, the most common method in dentistry. The practice will pay the associate dentist a fixed amount that will be deducted out of the associate’s future commission.
    1. Pro : the associate has greater security at the beginning because there is a cash flow.
    2. Con : if the associate does not produce/collect enough the practice cannot recoup the draw if the employment is terminated by either side.
    3. Most common example : $500 to $600 per day ($10,000 to $12,000 per month).

  2. Salary + bonus : This structure offers both sides more of a win/win at the early part of the relationship. The practice and associate agree to a set salary that is paid regardless of the associate’s production. The bonus is a carrot for achieving a higher level of production.
    1. Pro : Practice can pay based on what it expects associate will/should produce while offering a bonus if goal/expectations are exceeded.
    2. Con : Such as the draw, if the associate is underperforming the practice will lose money on the arrangement.
    3. Example : $10,000 month; Associate can bonus by being paid 15% of collections on anything exceeding $35,000 per month. Calculate monthly or quarterly.

  3. Salary only : As simple as it sounds. The Associate is paid a base salary. In most cases, a practice does this because it realizes there needs to be a lot of growth in the practice overall. It is more of an investment in the associate and potential of the practice. In many cases a practice and associate will agree at a future time to convert from salary to commission in order for the associate to be incentivized on their production.
    1. Pro : Great for a new grad that receives mentorship from a senior doctor. Allows the practice to secure an associate without making unrealistic claims to what an associate can earn on a commission plan.
    2. Con : if you don’t have an associate who sees the big picture, you can have an associate who doesn’t strive to grow in this position due to the lack of incentives, thus making a bonus option a great addition to the salary.
    3. Example : $120,000 per year.
Why should you offer a base minimum?
  • Excellent way for practice to back up their claims of available production and income potential
  • Offers initial short term security to associate by providing a minimum cash flow
  • Helps while production and patient base is built up by associate
  • Competition for talented dentists
  • Security for your practice by limiting associate turnover

Friday, September 5, 2014

Is Your Training Program Attracting or Detracting Candidates?

Every organization offers some degree of on-job training, at a minimum during the onboarding process, but the quality of a company's training program can have a direct impact on the level at which employees remain engaged and motivated. Simply put, your organization's training and development opportunities, or lack thereof, could mean the difference between employees that stay or leave. In this post-recession era where attracting and retaining candidates is critical, companies should be asking themselves, what separates their training programs from the competition?

Click to enlarge.

As the hiring outlook continues to improve, more candidates are on the move in search of better job opportunities. Surprisingly, salary is generally not the motivating factor. In fact, according to Badgeville, the #1 gamification and behavior management provider, their 2013 Employee Recognition survey found that 76 percent of employees chose opportunities for growth as one of the top reasons they would stay with an organization over financial motivators.

Here is some advice to companies looking to modernize their training programs:

Routinely take inventory of the materials and delivery methods
the company uses to facilitate training. Look for areas that can be improved or updated, and think of ways to make the process more efficient and engaging.

Consider if the company's training program is versatile enough
to accommodate different learning styles and generational preferences. Millennials may prefer a more interactive training experience, whereas Boomers may be satisfied with binders and paperwork.

Research new technologies
that can help breathe new life into your training program. If the company is predominately using classroom-style seminars, new hires could be checking out before the onboarding process is even over.

In today's job market which is candidate-driven in the executive, managerial and professional space, companies have to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the competition. Discussing the unique aspects of your training program during the recruitment process could be the thing that sets your organization apart.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6 Tips to Ace a Video Interview

Video interviewing is quickly becoming a favorite medium for employers to connect with potential candidates. Knowing how to conduct or participate in a video interview and have everything go smoothly, however, takes some preparation.

Here are a few tips to help you do your best:

1. Make a Good Connection - Before you can make a good connection with an employer during an interview, you must first ensure that your internet connection is up to par. Conduct the interview somewhere where you will have a steady internet connection with decent speeds. Stuttering video, skipping audio, or worse, a connection that drops out altogether, are all symptoms of slow internet speeds and might cut your chances of acing the interview painfully short.

2. Location, Location, Location – Where you decide to set up your webcam and conduct the interview plays a huge role in the quality of your overall presentation. Try to choose a quiet area with sufficient lighting and make sure what’s behind you isn’t distracting to the interviewer. If you will be conducting the interview from home, make sure any fellow cohabitants are aware of what you’re doing and won’t have to enter the room during the interview. Having a spouse or roommate dash across the background is not only awkward for you and the interviewer, but comes across as unprofessional. Finally, don’t forget to secure all pets and children in another part of the house with supervision to avoid any additional distractions.

3. Test All Tech – Several days before the interview, test your webcam, microphone, and computer to ensure everything is working correctly. Familiarize yourself with volume controls and any settings that might improve the quality of your interview. If you’re purchasing a webcam for the first time, look for one with HD capabilities and a quality built-in microphone. Prices on webcams and microphones have become very reasonable in recent years, so spending a couple extra dollars to avoid grainy video and choppy audio during your interview will certainly pay off and give your presentation a professional flare.

4. Dress Your Best
– Although the interviewer will likely only see you from the waist up, dress in full professional attire as if you were meeting them in person. Opting for pajama pants in place of traditional garb may seem like a great idea, but you never know when you may have to stand up or retrieve something from the other side of the room that would reveal your entire outfit.

5. Don’t Interview from Work – It may seem tempting to interview from your office at work, but doing so communicates to your interviewer a lack of respect for your current employer. You also run the risk of a supervisor or fellow employee interrupting the interview, which can not only diminish your chances of landing the job, but cause conflict in your current employment situation.

6. Practice Truly Makes Perfect – Talking into a camera is very different than speaking with someone in person. Practice looking directly at the camera when you speak so that the interviewer can see your eyes. Try to avoid looking down at the screen or around the room when speaking, as doing so could communicate disinterest or disengagement from the task at hand.

As with any interview, prepare yourself ahead of time to answer questions in a concise manner that highlights your accomplishments and addresses how you would be of benefit to the employer. Although a Skype or FaceTime video interview can be very different from a traditional in-person meeting, following the tips outlined above can help make the process go smoothly and allow you to make a great first impression.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4 Tips for Navigating the Hiring Process

As a job seeker, knowing how to interact with a hiring manager or recruiter plays an incredibly pivotal role in the hiring process. Even though an interviewing manager or recruiter might not be the final decision-maker as to whether or not you land the job, their assessment of your character, professionalism, and abilities will speak volumes during the application, screening, and interview process.

Here are four helpful tips for navigating the hiring process:
  1. Maintain Open and Honest Communication – Communication is perhaps the most critical component of the entire hiring process. Make sure your resume or CV are updated with your most recent work history before applying to the position. If you’re working with a recruiter, provide as much information and as many details as requested. Be especially forthcoming early on in the process when it comes to your education, current employment status, and certifications. Even if you’ve been unemployed for a while or are lacking in experience, being honest and upfront with a hiring manager or recruiter communicates your trustworthiness and helps prevent any future misunderstandings. It only takes one dishonest detail to spoil your chances with a future employer and lose their trust, so honesty is always the best policy.
  2. Respond in a Timely Manner – Part of establishing open channels of communication with a hiring manager is maintaining timely responses. Being prompt in your responses shows enthusiasm and communicates your interest in the position. If you’re going on vacation or will be difficult to reach for a period of time, be sure to communicate this beforehand with the manager or recruiter. Dropping off the map unexpectedly in the midst of the hiring process can result in missed opportunities, as employers are more likely to go with an eager candidate than one that’s passive in their responses.
  3. Don’t Overdo it on the Follow Up - Showing enthusiasm and interest in a position are key to landing an opportunity. However, excessive follow-up and “reaching out” can be both annoying and detrimental to your chances of establishing a good relationship with an employer. If a recruiter or manager provides a specific timeline of when they will be in touch with you, always adhere to that schedule.
  4. Respect the Employer’s Hiring Process – It may seem obvious, but in order to effectively navigate the hiring process, you must respect the employer’s process for assessing and interviewing candidates. As an applicant, attempting to “skip” the chain of command by bypassing a human resources manager to talk directly with the final decision-maker rarely works out in the candidate’s favor. Respecting the employer’s processes and following instructions lays solid groundwork for your candidacy. If working with a recruiter, understand that there are multiple processes going on behind the scenes. A good recruiter will be transparent and set expectations of when you can expect to hear back. Again, be respectful in adhering to the timeline the recruiter presents to you. If you don’t hear anything back by the time they specified, it’s OK to check in then and see how things are going.
Each recruiter and company will have their own unique hiring process. Regardless of the position you’re applying to, though, establishing open channels of communication and maintaining a professional demeanor throughout every correspondence are good policies for landing an interview and ultimately getting the job.

For a complete listing of all of our current job opportunities, please visit our job board. Or, if you’re looking to add a new associate or staff member to your practice, contact us and begin your search today!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

3 Tips for New Grads Looking for Their First Opportunity in Dentistry

Today’s blog post is an article shared with us by Larry Dougherty, D.M.D.  I have known Dr. Dougherty since 2010 when I placed him with a group practice in San Antonio.  He has since gone on to own and operate a successful private practice, Rolling Oaks Dental, with his wife Ana Ferraz-Dougherty, D.M.D.  Both doctors graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Dr. Dougherty is an active member in the ADA, TDA, and the San Antonio District Dental Society.  He is currently the Chairman for both the TDA’s and SADDS’s Committee on the New Dentist.

Dr. Dougherty regularly publishes articles on his blog for new dentists to gain insights and tips.  He has been gracious to allow us to share one of his recent articles on our blog. 

-Carl Guthrie, Senior Dental Recruiter, ETS Dental,  

Congratulations to everyone that is graduating dental school this month. You’ve worked hard and earned the privilege to be called a doctor. While it feels like an ending, it is truly just the beginning. Now is when the fun really starts. Many of you have chosen to do a residency, join the military, or join a family member’s practice. I didn’t do any of those things so I don’t have much to comment about any of those paths. Personally, I graduated from dental school and started replying to classified ads on Dentaltown. That was my first step, and it landed me my first opportunity. In future blog posts I’ll get into more details on my thoughts about corporate vs. non-corporate opportunities. For now, let’s just focus on a few basics that apply no matter which route you take.

1.  Find a Recruiter
There are recruiting agencies that help offices looking for dentists find them, and you need to be in touch with them. I ended up here in the great state of Texas with a little help from Carl Guthrie at ETS Dental. You tell the recruiters what you’re looking for and they help you to find it. These people are highly knowledgeable about what is out there and can provide some valuable advice. It also saves you a lot of work. The best part is you don’t pay them a penny, the recruiting dentist is the one who pays for the service...

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Future of Contract Staffing

Contract staffing, also known as temporary or contingent staffing, has long been a solution for employers to meet short-term or variable staffing needs, while providing candidates with the opportunity to gain seasonal work or work between permanent positions. Temporary employees are no longer viewed as just being lower-level, non-essential and less-committed workers. In fact, the recession of 2008 introduced many companies to the value of having contractors as a significant portion of their workforce.

As the job outlook improves, contract staffing remains as a viable, growing workforce solution for not only satisfying administrative needs, but also engaging senior-level staff, in a cost-effective manner for strategic, leadership expertise. Contract staffing is becoming such an integral part of the workforce that Staffing Industry Analysts predicts 50 percent of the workers at Fortune 100 companies will be contingent hires by 2020. While every employer's need for contract workers will vary, they will increasingly need to think about how to implement an effective recruitment strategy that provides the right mix of contingent and permanent workers to move their organization forward.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts' Temporary Staffing Trends, Development and Forecasts webinar, the U.S. temporary staffing market is projected to experience 5 percent growth in 2014 and 4 percent globally. "Our employment landscape is changing and it's clear that contract staffing is no longer being viewed as just a secondary or backup labor solution," says DD Graf, vice president of contract staffing for MRINetwork. "The focus is moving from using temporary workers to fill in for or replace permanent functions, to more of a strategic approach in which companies contemplate whether key initiatives will require temporary vs. permanent work."

Graf offers the following advice for implementing an effective contract staffing recruitment strategy:

Include discussions around the workforce mix in annual company-wide strategy sessions. Companies should be considering the contingent labor that will be required to drive the organization's strategy instead of waiting until demands become too much, or out of the scope of work performed by permanent staff. Simply put, consider if you have everyone needed on board to accomplish company goals.

Don't disregard contract talent as only short-term workers. While contract talent are frequently hired for project-based work or short-term, mission-critical initiatives, there is a large pool of highly-skilled, contract talent that is increasingly being hired for projects that last several months or even years. Many of these top performers also prefer contract staffing for the same reasons companies do: work flexibility and the ability to demonstrate expertise in a given area. Utilizing contingent workers in this manner, makes it advantageous for employers to solve temporary workforce needs in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

Consider your industry and the variances in workflow that happen throughout the year. Industries that are highly susceptible to fluctuations in workflow are information technology, electronic patient records implementation, healthcare information technology and pharmaceutical/life sciences. Having variable staffing expenses will allow you to better control your costs.

Partner with a staffing company that has expertise as a single source solution provider for contract and permanent assignments. When bringing in the best talent is the goal, working with a staffing organization that understands your industry, has relationships with top candidates and has your company's best interest in mind, can provide you with the competitive edge to recruit the top performers in your market, whether on a permanent or contract basis. As entities that remain current on constantly changing contract labor regulations and handling payroll and other back offices responsibilities, staffing organizations take much of the risk out of contract staffing, while helping you implement effective recruitment strategies.

As we move towards the 2020 workforce, companies are becoming more quality-focused as opposed to work output-focused. Graf concludes, "This fundamental shift in the workplace is causing companies to dissect and redesign work responsibilities and even roles, creating a growing need for contract staffing."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dental Associate Agreement and Employment Contract: Is it In line With What I Should Expect, and Is it Reasonable?

This time of year is prime time for employment changes across the dental industry.  May through August is always the busy time.  Dentists are completing residency programs, dental students are graduating, and they are all going to be reviewing employment agreements now or very soon.

Here are a few things to consider:

1)      What is the commitment?  1 year; 3 years; can you give reasonable notice if you are unhappy or dissatisfied in the practice
a.       Most are 1 year
b.      If you receive a sign-on bonus or relocation incentive expect to commit to 2+ years.  Typically, if you leave before your commitment you will need to pay back any bonus money you receive
c.       Notice periods across the nation have grown beyond the normal 2 week courtesy.  Many agreements now require 30, 60, or 90 day of resignation notice

2)      Want to associate in your home town and eventually own a practice in your home town?  Be cautious of non-competes and restrictive covenants that would cause significant headaches in the future.  Especially if your hometown is a small town. 

3)      Are you an Employee (W-2) or an Independent Contractor (1099)?  Associate positions throughout the dental industry vary greatly.  W-2 employment is most likely what you truly are. That means the employer takes your tax withholding and takes responsibility of the daily operations of the practice.  1099 contractors are simply paid for services rendered.  If this is your status, you are required to fulfill the entire tax obligation of your income. 

4)      Production versus collections-based compensation:  You need to understand which way you are getting paid, when it is calculated, and what is included and not included
a.       Is it calculated daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly? Many dentist don’t know when I ask them
b.      Are x-rays or hygiene exams included? Many times there are not
c.       Lab Expenses:  are you responsible for all, some, or none of the lab expense?

5)      Base compensation questions:
a.       Is it permanent or does it sunset after x number of months?
b.      Is it a draw on future commission or is it a salary?

6)      Be Realistic!  Associate offerings on the East Coast are vastly different than those on the West Coast.  Make sure to understand the compensation trends and models that are common in your market.  Don’t compare offers to your friends, especially if you’re only talking % versus %.  That completely depends on the production potential based on a combination of what the practice can provide and the abilities of the associate dentist.

Other articles to explore:
·         Associate Agreements

 Posted by Carl Guthrie, Senior Dentist Recruitment Consultant with ETS Dental. To find out more, call Carl at (540) 491-9104 or email at

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Recruiter's View: Candidates Continue to Drive the Growing Job Market and Retention is Equally Important as Recruitment

Over the past few years, recruiters in the executive and managerial space have been observing a shift from an employer-driven market to a largely candidate-driven market. As this trend continues, new data indicates that improved confidence in the labor market and the availability of more job opportunities are creating an environment where top performers are more willing to change companies to fill newly created roles and vacancies from resignations. While this may be encouraging to prospective employers, current employers will need to place equal emphasis on employee retention strategies as they do on their recruitment efforts. Recruiters who responded to the most recent MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study provide advice to employers who seek to remain attractive to employees and potential new hires.

"The competition for leadership talent is brutal right now. There is tremendous pressure to attract new talent and hold on to those already employed," said a recruiter responding to the study.  According to the report, in the first half of 2014, 81 percent of recruiters described the talent market as candidate-driven, up 25 percentage points from the first half of 2012.

The executive and managerial market continues to be candidate-driven, because of growing talent shortages due to skill gaps. Companies in most industries and geographic regions are now in growth mode, leaving top performers at a strong advantage, with multiple job offers to consider and the ability to reject less desirable work agreements. According to the study, 31 percent of recruiters say the top reason that great candidates continue to refuse job offers is because they are accepting offers with other companies. Disappointing compensation is on the rise, with 26 percent of recruiters listing this as the second most common reason that job offers are turned down.

MRINetwork recruiters provide the following insight about rejected job offers:

  • More than ever, highly-skilled, top-performing candidates are in demand.
  • Candidates have more options than they have had in years. Yet clients still want to give low-ball offers.
  • Candidates are often turned off when companies do not keep the process moving, making the closing process all the more difficult if it gets to the offer stage.
  • Counteroffers are still a common reason for offers being turned down, in which most candidates receive substantially more money and a promotion from their current employer.

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

  • Leveraging employer branding is not just about selling the company and the job opportunity, it is about the overall impression left by the entire recruitment process. "If a company appears to be disjointed in its branding, saying one thing but doing another, candidates will be turned off," says an MRINetwork recruiter.
  • A streamlined hiring process is critical to avoid losing top candidates. One recruiter notes, "Time is the enemy when recruiting exceptional talent, because ... the longer the process goes on, the less likely the candidate will be around to take the offer."
  • Salary and benefit packages need to be aggressive, not simply market-competitive, to entice "A" players who have several job options at their disposal.

While the study results demonstrate that hiring trends are highly favorable towards top performers in the executive and managerial space, recruitment and retention will continue to be ongoing challenges for overall hiring as the economy recovers and the job market expands.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dental School Graduates - How to Find a Job Coming Out of Dental School

Congratulations! Now it is time to start putting all that education to use, but finding a job is a lot different than applying to programs. Do you know how to get started?

What To Have

A Plan.
Do you know where you want to be in five years? Do you want your first job to put you on the path to partnership or ownership? Are you more concerned with gaining experience than paying down student loans? You need to know where you want to go before you can decide how to get there. Obviously location is important, but don't waste the crucial first years of your career in order to live in the heart of the city. 
The best jobs are often outside the primary markets where there is less competition for patients. Here is great blog outlining the best areas in which to work: Where are the Jobs?’. 
If you are considering a cross-country move, you may want to consider the income potential offered in different regions. This blog article breaks dentist income down by area: What Can an Associate Dentist Earn
If you absolutely have to live and work in a saturated market, here are some strategies to help you land a job: Saturated or Difficult Markets.

Be sure to set realistic income expectations. There are several good sources covering realistic dentist earnings. Here is our overview: 
How Much do Dentists Make?
The Levin Group publishes an annual survey in Dental Economics. The 2013 version can be downloaded here: Levin Group Survey.

A CV and Cover Letter.
Most applicants do not get an interview. Your CV and Cover Letter may be your only platform to distinguish yourself from the competition. It is hard to stand out from the crowd without experience but the way you highlight your strengths can set you apart. Did you take any electives or win any awards to recognition? Did you graduate in the top quarter of your class, attend CE outside of school, volunteer in a community clinical or on a dental mission trip? Be sure to highlight those experiences.

Here is an example of a well-written cover letter: 
Cover Letter Sample.

And here are instructions on writing your CV/resume: 
Resume for Dentists.

The Right Clothes

It is better to overdress than underdress. Your future boss will want to know that you take your career seriously. Does your interview outfit make you look like a doctor? This is not the time to go for personality. That can come through later. If your clothes give the wrong first impression, it will take a major effort to regain credibility

What To Do

Finding Openings.
Networking has always been the most effective method for finding open positions, but it is not always practical to meet with every dentist in the area and attend every dental meeting. The internet can be a great tool for finding position. Your dental school and local association may have classifieds, but you will likely find that the listings are limited. Here are several comprehensive sources for dentist jobs:

·         ETS Dental Job Listings
·         DentalTown Classifieds


The Telephone Interview
  • Return your phone messages and emails promptly. It speaks to your motivation, interest, and courtesy. Don't let returning phone calls or emails become an issue or an obstacle to getting an interview. Even if you don't think you will be interested in an opportunity, return the call. On more than one occasion we have seen a candidate get a call from Practice B when he was already talking with Practice A. The candidate puts off returning the call to Practice B. Two or three weeks later, the opportunity with Practice A does not work out and now Practice B will not consider the candidate because no calls have been returned.
  • Your main goal in a telephone interview is to get a face-to-face interview.
  • Ask for the interview. Take the initiative to set a time. Say something like, "From what you have told me, I would be very interested in meeting with you and coming to see your practice. When would be good for you?"
  • Smile- even on the phone. You really can tell when someone is smiling.
·         Here is some additional reading on phone interviews: Tips for Phone Interviews.

The In-Person Interview:
Don't go in blindly. Be sure to prepare in advance. Look over this article the night before: 
Preparing for the Interview.
  • Treat the staff with courtesy and respect. A practice owner often feels like his or her staff is like a family and will listen to their opinions, especially if they are negative. On more than one occasion, we have seen excellent candidates not offered an opportunity because they treated a staff member poorly.
  • Smile and show some enthusiasm. More candidates are hired because of their personalities and positive attitudes than because specific clinical skills. One high-end cosmetic practice told us they had interviewed six different dentists. They hired the candidate who smiled and appeared to truly enjoy being a dentist, passing on more experienced candidates with less personality and enthusiasm.
  • Show sincere interest in the hiring dentist's situation. Understand that the dentist needs to solve a problem. Maybe the practice just lost a key associate or partner. Maybe the practice is growing and cannot keep up with patient demand. Maybe the dentist needs someone to take over the practice when he or she retires. You need to get a clear understanding of the dentist's true motivation for adding an associate. Once you truly understand the needs of the hiring dentist, you can mutually determine if you are the solution.
  • Send a thank you note after the meeting. Here is a great example of a post-interview thank you: Thank You Note.
Still nervous? Here is a full blog post on interviewing: Interview Tips.

Reviewing Contracts.
A good overview of contracts may be found here (the most relevant information is on the last page of the article): 
Compensation Considerations.

Do you have all the information you will need in order to make an informed decision? 
What to Know Before You Accept an Associate Position 

Not satisfied with the offer? Don't be afraid to ask for more. Here are some tips on 
Negotiating Your Offer.

Finding a job can be an intimidating process. I hope these resources will help make the process easier. Please feel free to call us should you have any questions. We are always happy to help. For more updates, tips, and helpful information, follow us on our 
Facebook fan pageTwitter, LinkedIn or on our blog.

Posted by Morgan Pace, Vice President and Senior Dental Recrutier with ETS Dental. To find out more, call Morgan at (540) 491-9102 or email at