Interview Questions for Every Dental Practice Role
By Megan Urban, Practice Transition Advisor
Businesses across the country are struggling with staffing issues and the dental world is NO exception. During the pre-pandemic years finding great staff was a challenge, but since the pandemic began finding and retaining great staff has become a tumultuous experience. What follows are some interview questions that have helped dentists and their practice managers sift through their potential candidates – when you can get candidates. And the increased competition for workers has made this an employee-driven vs. employer-driven market. You’ve got to know your budget and get clear on what additional perks or benefits you may be able to offer in this now highly-competitive hiring process.
General Questions for Every Role – Dentists, Hygienists, Office Managers, Dental Assistants, Front Office, and Sterile Techs
1. What are you looking for in a team and an office?
2. What does self-motivation mean to you?
3. What in particular motivates you?
4. How do you organize your day?
5. In a perfect world, how many hours per day and per week would you like to work?
6. How do you deal with conflict in the workplace? Describe a specific situation and how you dealt with it. Would you do anything differently now that you have had time to reflect?
7. How would the previous dentist who employed you describe you if I were to call him/her? What about the other team members, what would they say? Would they say you were on time every day? Easy to get along with? Fun? Great with the patients?
8. What do you think are your greatest strengths? And what are your greatest challenges?
9. Describe a situation when a patient was upset and describe what you did to rectify the situation or help.
10. What are three things you liked most about your last two positions/offices? What are three things you would have changed and why?
11. Describe a great day at the office.
12. What work situations, tasks, or duties cause you stress?
13. Where would you like to see yourself in two years. Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
14. If you weren’t in the dentistry field, what would you be doing? What are you most passionate about?
15. What qualities in a person do you think are important for this position?
16. How would you set the pay scale for this position? What qualifying events or skills would warrant a different pay scale or increase in compensation?
17. What do you think a bonus should be based on?
18. What benefits are most meaningful to you?
19. What have you learned during the pandemic? How did it affect your short and long-term goals?
20. Did you work remotely? Was that easy or difficult for you? How do you feel about being back in an office, working with a team, and having interaction with patients all day?
Additional Questions for Specific Roles:
1. Describe your normal routine with new patients.
2. What protocol do you follow with perio?
3. What are your thoughts about Arestin, rinses, etcetera.?
4. How do you talk with patients about perio disease? What if they have been undertreated and you are now proposing perio treatment?
5. What is your favorite part of being a hygienist?
6. What have you done in the past to build and grow the hygiene department in an office?
7. How do you discuss unfinished treatment and recall? Provide an example.
8. What do you do if you have a broken appointment? In other offices have you been expected to work your own recall and try to fill your schedule?
9. Are you comfortable working when the dentist is out of the office? (If it’s legal in your area?).
1. Have you been involved with placing dental supply orders? Explain your process.
2. What have you normally done during downtime?
3. How do you talk with patients about unfinished treatment and recall? Provide an example.
4. What are your most/least favorite procedures?
5. Describe the perfect dentist to assist and why?
1. How would you describe your management style?
2. What are your thoughts about micro-managing?
3. What steps do you take when you realize that you have made a hiring mistake?
4. Do you enjoy being at the front desk or in an office behind the scenes?
5. What do you bring to a team to keep them motivated and smiling?
6. In your previous office did you have full responsibility for the accounts receivable? What was your average production to collection ratio?
7. In your previous offices, how would staff describe you?
1. How do you welcome new patients to the practice?
2. What have your past responsibilities been? Which did you enjoy most?
3. How do you talk with patients about treatment costs? Provide an exact example of presenting treatment and negotiating a financial arrangement.
4. How do you discuss unfinished treatment and recall?
5. How do you describe a perfect schedule and how do you create it?
6. How do you fill any last-minute appointments?
7. Do you enjoy recall and scheduling?
8. How much experience have you had setting up insurance, submitting claims, and following up with insurance companies for payment?
1. What does a perfect schedule look like to you?
2. What is your perio protocol?
3. How do you encourage patients to finish incomplete treatment?
4. How do you ask for referrals from existing patients?
5. What do you do at a new patient appointment?
6. What types of procedures do you most enjoy?
7. Are you comfortable being the only dentist working in the office?
8. What is your typical production per day?
9. How would your current/past dental assistant describe you? How would an owner doctor or office manager describe you?
10. What are your goals for each patient and each day?
11. Is this office located outside any current non-compete you may have?
12. Will you be able to legally bring any patients with you?
New Year’s Resolution for Associate Dentists in 2022
Happy New Year! We would like to wish you a new and improved year over 2020 and 2021. If you’re like most people, you have set some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps one of them is going to the gym. Another may be eating healthier. A third popular one is spending more time with family and friends. Statistics show that on average, it takes 32 days before people give up on their resolutions. My thought is, why wait? I’m having a hot fudge sundae for lunch and not going to the gym! But how about a resolution to further your career as a dentist?
One way to further your career may be to learn a new procedure or two. As an associate or existing practice owner, you can improve your skills and your income by learning new procedures. A few suggestions would be to advance your endo skills. Maybe you know enough but just haven’t had any advanced training. There are a lot of courses to further advance your endo skills. You can also learn how to place implants. There are probably a lot of patients in your practice who want an implant, but don’t want to go to another office. If you’re a general dentist, you can also learn how to do some form of orthodontics with either Invisalign, ClearCorrect, or another company’s process. Learning a new procedure can make you more marketable as an associate and as a practice owner.
Another way to further your career may be to find a new associate position. If you’re frustrated in your current role because you’re not allowed to do anything more than hygiene checks and fillings, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. The state associations list openings in their classified ads. If you’re not happy where you are, staying there will make you disgruntled with dentistry and cause you nothing but grief.
A third way of expanding your career in 2022 is by purchasing a practice. Practice owners make 15% to 20% more than associate dentists. They also build equity in their practice typically paying off their entire loans in 10 years. If you purchased a $500,000 practice and simply sustain its production, you now have earned 15% to 20% more per year PLUS you’ve earned $500,000 of equity in your practice. If you grew it 10% per year, you now have over $1 million in equity. I know many associate dentists are afraid of owning a practice. They think Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) are going to take over the world and they get better deals on supplies. First of all, DSOs will not be taking over the world. There will always be room for individual practice owners. In fact, if I had a choice, I would prefer to go to an individual owner before I would go to a DSO or group-owned practice. I think most people would agree. Regarding better deals on supplies, I’ve had several supply reps tell me that they would give the same deal to an individual as they would to a DSO. Supplies as a percentage of gross revenues make up a small number. So, even if they did get better deals, it would not make that big of a difference. Don’t be afraid of owning a practice and competing against the big guys. You can provide a much better and more personalized experience than they can.
These are just a few ideas for your New Year’s resolutions if you haven’t come up with your own. Now, go to the gym, grab a salad and then, go improve your career!Read More