Six Tips for Hiring a New Hygienist
The hygiene department is so essential to a productive dental practice, it is imperative that hygienists are on the same page as the dentist when it comes to patient care. Dentists and hygienists who have worked together for many years usually enjoy a close relationship that allows for a common professional face for the office. This is as it should be. However, what happens if a hygienist has to leave? How do you find a new one? What should you be looking for in that new hire? How have things changed in the past two or three years regarding the pool of possible applicants? What about social media? And, what are some possible “red flags”?
1. Online websites are excellent for placing ads for new hires. Craigslist and Indeed are typically good sites to start with. A nearby dental hygiene school, the local dental hygiene society, temp agencies, and your local ADA group can also be sources. Ask for a resume and references.
2. Determine what you think are the most important attributes for your new hygienist and list them in your ad. For example: Must be well versed in perio identification and treatment, licensed for local anesthesia, and focused on gentle care. If you will accept new graduates, list this as well. If an experienced practitioner is preferred, mention it. There are many hygienists looking for that perfect office. Your pool of applicants is likely a large one.
3. Social media such as LinkedIn is a dedicated business networking site and offers the easiest access to resume-style information. It’s helpful to have a practice/company page for people interested in your practice. It can also provide the opportunity to place an ad. Larger social media sites such as this offer access to an extended database while providing an industry focus. Social media is a two-way street. You are looking for great employees and employees are looking for a great place to work.
4. Other red flags include a poorly written resume, no references provided, inappropriate references, and incorrect phone numbers or emails. If a person does not avail themselves of the many available templates for arranging a resume and/or has misspellings or poor grammar, this can mean the applicant does not pay attention to detail. If references are not included when they have been requested, this means the person is not taking the necessary time to read your ad, or that references may not be available or may be poor. If references are listed, but when you call them they turn out to be someone who is unwilling to accept phone calls from potential employers, this can mean the candidate has less than stellar communication skills. At the very least a listed reference should be willing to give a reference. It is not credible if the references are friends or family members. A reference must be someone who can speak to a person’s work. Phone numbers and email addresses for references must also be correct! If the candidate did not double-check prior to sending them to you, it can raise questions about whether or not they really are looking for serious employment.
5. If you have navigated all of the items listed above, you will probably have selected a few candidates to interview. How can you determine what type of personality you want for your new hygienist? McKenzie Management offers Online Employee Assessment Testing to help you determine if a hygienist, or any other potential employee in the office, will be a good fit with you and the rest of your staff. These tests do not determine a single “right” personality for a dental office. After all, many different personalities can be successful in a dental practice. However, they do help determine what may be “right” for your particular situation.
6. Discussing salary can take place during the interview. You may ask the candidate what salary they are expecting, but have a range of amounts in mind that you are willing to consider before you begin. Know what an average salary range is in your area. This can often be obtained from a temp agency or through an employment office in your city. A qualified candidate may also offer a salary range as what they desire for starting pay. It is a red flag if all a candidate wants to do is discuss pay and/or vacation during the interview.
As an employer, you still have a large group of possible qualified candidates for your dental hygiene position. There are more applicants than there are available jobs. You can afford to be “picky” and select the hygienist that will work best in your office. Take the time to do it right!
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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