March 27, 2019

Will Hiring the Wrong Team Damage Your Dental Practice?

Hiring a team member can be a daunting process.  How do you handle it? Do you hire the first person with a great resume?  Even if they don’t have dental experience or it’s been a long time since they worked in a dental practice?  Sadly, a bad fit typically doesn’t take long to surface. And when it does, you will have already sunk money and time into your bad hire, not to mention the stress it’s caused and will cause until you handle the problem.

This isn’t uncommon for dental practices.  It happens often. It can be avoided. When you start your hiring search, it should be a thought out process to find the right fit.  Not a race to hire someone to fill an open roster spot. If you race to fill the spot, you are putting your practice at risk for some serious damage.

Profits Can Nosedive

Have you hired someone who will do the least amount of work needed to get a paycheck?  Motivating employees is one aspect of effective management, but, an employee’s attitude to their job can and will hurt profit and production.  It can also put a nice ding in the experience of your patients. How to avoid this? Check references, spend time speaking to previous employers, and possibly set up a secondary interview to further discuss the position and what qualities you are looking for.

Here is another scenario:  You have a team member who wants to meet or exceed your expectations, they just don’t have the skills to do so.  Maybe you hire someone who is great with people but not so great with computers, accounting, numbers, etc. You are frustrated due to their inability to perform.  They are frustrated because they are not in the right seat. This hurts profit, production, and morale, too. Be sure you discuss the role and responsibilities, in-depth with a potential hire and be sure they can do the job.  And do it well.

Diminishing Morale

The right dental team will take your practice to the next level.  The patient experience has to be top notch. Your front desk needs to manufacture sunshine.  Your hygiene and assistant team need to ease patients, deliver amazing service chairside, and be able to effectively pitch treatment effectively.  If you have someone who is underperforming (due to lack of motivation or a lack of skills) it can really bring down your entire team.

They have to deal with a more difficult work environment.  Resentment and frustration will start to build if someone is making their job harder.  It can even drive your star team members to start looking for new positions, even if they’re your most loyal.  Which means even more hiring will be needed.

Your Competition Will Benefit

The worst part of a bad hire is that whatever internal stress or issues are taking place will eventually show up in the last place you want it to, the patient experience.  An unhappy team results in unhappy patients. Team members will be focused on their problems and their stress, not delivering an amazing experience. This hurts production, efficiency, and can even make an often happy, bubbly team member to be agitated and short.  And your patients will notice the difference. Tension makes people uncomfortable. And not being comfortable will push a patient to a competing dentist’s chair. Don’t let this happen!


Bad hires hurt your practice in many different ways.  It costs money, time, peace, patient experience, and can lead your great team members to be frustrated, sad, or even employed elsewhere!  Your profit will suffer. Take the time to hire the right team members. Conduct multiple interviews, ask the right questions, and consider a personality test to find strengths and weaknesses before you make a hiring decision.  Your practice will thank you for years to come.