Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interviewing Methods in Your Dental Practice: Traditional versus Behavioral Interviewing

How do you interview? Do you just let a conversation happen, or do you take the time to dig a little deeper? There are two regularly used interview methods: The Traditional Interview and the Behavioral Interview. I highly recommend incorporating both when you interview candidates for your associate dentist or staff positions, as each method offers valuable insight about a candidate’s professional and personal qualities.

Our friends at CEDR HR Solutions do a great job of defining both of these interview methods:

“In a traditional interview, the interviewer asks prospective hires a series of straightforward, open-ended questions like, 'How would you handle [insert hypothetical situation],' 'What 5 words best describe you,' 'What is your greatest weakness,' or 'Describe what customer service means to you.'

In contrast, for a behavioral interview, the employer identifies a vital skill set that they want the ideal person in that position to have and then develops a series of questions geared toward eliciting answers where the candidate demonstrated those skills in the past.

For example:

  • Tell me about a time where you had to use patience to calm down a patient.

  • Describe a goal you set for yourself and how you met it.

  • What do you consider your greatest work achievement?

  • How do you handle interruptions at work? Give examples .”

You can read the whole article at

Anyone can describe their skills in a traditional question and answer interview. However, the Behavioral Interview questions will allow you to gain insight into how the candidate applies those skills, which is much more important in your dental practice.

Here are some other questions that could apply directly to hiring in your dental practice:

To an associate dentist candidate:

  • Describe an instance when you worked with a patient to overcome their dental phobia to gain their trust.

  • How do you accept input from a dental assistant while in the operatory with a patient?

  • Tell me about a time when you did not agree with a treatment plan developed by another provider. How did you address this matter and still provide quality care to the patient?

To a staff member candidate:

  • Describe a time when you had to get a patient payment upfront but they did either did not or could not pay at that time?

  • How would you handle an employee who is repeatedly missing work or consistently late?

Take some time before your next interview and write questions that will help you to determine if the next candidate fits the needs and challenges in your practice.

Special thanks to Paul Edwards and his team at CEDR HR Solutions for allowing us to quote from BEHAVIORAL INTERVEW: An Employer’s Best Hiring Tool. CEDR is an HR firm specializing in custom employee handbooks and other HR resources for Dental practices across the United States.

Written by Carl Guthrie, Senior Account Executive and Recruiter for ETS Dental,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dental Residents - How to Find a Job Coming Out of your AEGD or GPR

Congratulations! After spending your whole life in school and residency you can finally see the end in sight. 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?

This is an attempt to provide a centralized resource to help you land a job.
Step 1. Make a Plan.
As outlined in the following blog link, the key is to be flexible. It is best to determine what your options are before narrowing your focus on the best fit. Job Hunt Tips.

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. Here is an overview of area limitations on a job market: Where are the Jobs?, and a real-life example is outlined here: The Grass is Always Greener. 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.

Step 2. Prepare Your CV and Cover Letter.
Generally speaking, CV/resumes are overrated, as are cover letters. Still, they are a necessary evil when breaking into a job market. It is important to stand out from the crowd, but make sure that it is for the right reasons. You likely gained many marketable skills in residency. Did you place implants, get sedation certification, and perform full mouth rehabilitations? 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.

Step 3. Applying.
Here are several online sources for dentist jobs:
Step 4. Interviews.

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 Face-to-Face 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.

Step 5. 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.

Step 6. What Can You Expect to Earn?
There are several good sources covering realistic dentist earnings. Here is our own: How Much do Dentists Make?
The ADA puts out its own numbers, also: ADA Income and Gross Billings.

Step 7. Plan Your Relocation.
If you need to relocate, be sure to plan it ahead of time. Here are a few key points to ponder as you plan: Relocation Tips.

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 onour Facebook fan page,Twitter, LinkedIn or on our blog.

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