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3 questions about today's competitive dental job market

By Tonya Lanthier, Founder and CEO,

1. What can be done to stop applicants from "ghosting" interviews?

Before you even schedule a one on one interview, schedule a 15-20 minute phone screening. This is a critical step on the process to making sure a candidate is committed.  Don’t sell it short by trying to squeeze in a quick call between other tasks.  Interview “ghosting” actually materialized over the years from a weak screening process!

As we know, it’s a job seeker’s market, and with that comes an increase in candidates ghosting interviews when they don’t value the practice’s time or respect the interview process.  This is your opportunity to set the tone of respect by showing them you value and respect their time, and appreciate the same consideration in return.

In this conversation:

    • Sell them on your practice. Give them a reason to remember you and want to work with you.
      • Give solid details about why they should want to work for you.
      • Let them know the rewards of this position.
      • Explain your core values to give the candidate a clear sense of what's most important to your office.
        • For example, “We are the type of office that likes to have fun while maintaining a respectful and professional working environment for our team and patients.”
    • Perhaps most important: Let them know what you expect from them, from tangible qualifications like skills and experience to intangibles, like attitude.
    • Ask what they want in a dental practice / team.
      • What does the right fit feel like to them?
      • Can they elaborate on what they did NOT get from their last employer that they would really like to find in this job? The answer to that will help you focus on the candidate’s motivations and establish how compatible they are with your office’s culture.
      • Listen carefully for the language they use. Are they using a lot of “weak” words like “maybe,” “should,” and “would” that may indicate issues around commitment and follow through? Or do they use more action-oriented language that shows the candidate is direct, focused and a go-getter?

Conclude the conversation by clearly outlining next steps, including details and timing for an in-person interview. Confirm the best way to follow up - by email, or text.  The more you communicate with them, the more they will feel comfortable communicating with you.  Give them a clear timeline of your decision-making process.

And then, both at the end of your conversation and in your follow up email or text communication, set the tone of respect once again. Remind them that you appreciate and value their time, and ask that they contact you ASAP if they need to cancel or reschedule their interview for any reason.

2. What can be done to make your ad more attractive to potential hires? 

Your job description is the first impression you will leave on a potential candidate. A good job description will save you time and money by attracting the right talent and repelling those who may not be the right fit. It’s your opportunity to shine and show candidates how you’re different!

Aside from the usual – qualifications, experience level, schedule and compensation – there is a new standard that includes addressing the safety, operations, culture and values of a practice group. Transparency and the ability to communicate your office culture to a potential employee is more critical than ever.

What can you honestly say about your practice that makes you stand out in the sea of job posting sameness? It will be noticed and appreciated and says a lot about who you are that you took the time to do so. Better job postings mean better candidates, faster!


  • Keep your job ad simple and skimmable. Break up sections into short, easy-to-read sentences. Include relevant keywords for the role and your culture. Add the important details, but don’t be too wordy. Save something for the interview.
  • Make it about themPut yourself in their shoes and use language that speak to the candidate and why they will want to work with you. Go beyond the day-to-day job description. Share how they will grow in your practice and be part of your team.
  • Highlight your perks and differentiators! Not all practices are equal when it comes to employee offerings. Now is the time to toot your own horn about the perks that set you apart. This includes your office culture. Lead with the “good stuff” first and leave the standard details at the bottom. See DentalPost’s Culture Assessment for messaging ideas.
  • Know the law. Comply with local and federal labor laws. Avoid references to gender, marital or parental status, unemployment status, race, ethnicity, age, non-job-related disability, national origin, or religion.
  • Don’t be a copycat. Be authentic. It’s ok to look to other job ads for inspiration, but candidates can tell when it’s canned.
  • Don’t just brag about your workplace, support it with facts. Include a snippet of a testimonial, a recent award or accolade from the industry or community.

View DentalPost’s “Ultimate Hiring Toolkit” - a FREE 5-Step Guide for a sample job description and tips to help you write a better job description to attract top candidates. Plus get interview checklists, onboarding tips and more.

3. What is the biggest mistake that dental practices make when it comes to the hiring process?

Among the biggest mistakes we see include: hiring on looks instead of qualifications, or hiring exclusively for skills without considering if a candidates values align with the practice’s core values.

We can now get a deeper understanding of a candidate’s profile before it’s too late just by tapping into personality assessments. For example, at DentalPost, you can post a Premium job ad, which gives you access to even more comprehensive job seeker profiles, complete with candidate photos and completed assessments such as Emotional IntelligenceDISCCore ValuesWorkplace Culture, and Skills.