Staffing Your Dental Practice with a New Associate

Finding a New Associate

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Do you have so many patients that you are booked out for an unreasonable amount of time? As the senior dentist or practice owner, you may want to consider hiring an associate dentist to help address the problem and alleviate your stress. Hiring an additional provider may also build the value of the practice, increase revenue, and offer more vacation coverage. If your long-term plan involves a partnership or transition, your new associate may fit perfectly into that plan, since your associate will be familiar with your practice, staff, and patients.

Once you’ve decided to hire an associate, where do you begin?

First, prepare a job description. It’s imperative that the new associate has a blueprint to follow. The two of you should be on the same page as to his/her job responsibilities.

Next, consider the following as your recruit your associate:

  • What is the type of opportunity? (e.g., full-time, part-time)
  • What experience and skills do you require?
  • Are you willing to sponsor a foreign candidate?
  • How will you structure compensation? (e.g., Salary or guarantee? Percentage of revenue or collections?)
  • Who will pay lab fees? (e.g., practice, associate)
  • What benefits will you offer? (e.g., health insurance, continuing education, malpractice insurance, student loan repayment, relocation reimbursement, sign-on bonus)

Next, how do you plan to search for your associate? Hiring a dentist can be challenging in today’s environment; you are competing against many different types of practices and opportunities.

There are many resources you can use to locate qualified associates including:

  • Dental Schools
  • State Dental Association
  • Dental Job Boards
  • Trade publication ads
  • Dental Recruiters

There are benefits to utilizing a recruiting company even though it will cost more. Typically a dental recruiter will minimize the amount of time and effort you spend on advertising and screening prospective associates. Recruiters will also typically expand the pool to a broader array of candidates. A recruiter can also perform confidential searches as well.

If you elect to use a recruiting company, the following are some questions to ask the recruiter:

  • What do they charge and how is the payment structured?
  • How long have they been recruiting?
  • Do they gather and provide the candidate’s references or does the candidate have to provide them to you?
  • Are they owned by another company or privately owned?
  • Do they have candidates immediately available or do they conduct a search specifically for each job search?
  • What sources do they use to recruit candidates?
  • Do they recruit dentists exclusively?
  • Do they recruit for permanent and/or temporary positions?
  • Is the company a full-service recruiter or a “do-it-yourself” website?
  • How many recruiters work for the organization?
  • Do they search locally or conduct national searches?
  • Do they offer a placement guarantee and if so, for how long?

Adding the right associate can make a difference in the long-term success of your practice. Be sure to plan your search and use the right resources so that the associate your hire is the best fit for your practice.

For more advice on staffing dental associates for success,  contact Henry Schein Nationwide Dental Opportunities ( or 1-866-409-3001 today.

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