Build your team and ensure success in your dental practice

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Published: Thursday, 03 July 2014 07:46 Written by 

Dr. Anna Maria Yiannikos

As leaders, dentists are responsible for creating excellence. Dentists are not only managers of their practices, they are also responsible for the proper selection, training, and encouragement of their colleagues and the receptionists, assistants, and hygienists in their practice.

But how do we build a better team? In my opinion, we must begin with an accurate description of the position, choose our employees carefully, give enough time for training, evaluate performances fairly, give appropriate salary, and encourage our employees.

In this article I would like to elaborate on the description of the position and choosing employees carefully.

Description of position — This must be in writing and will differ depending on the employee position. A good description must include title of the position, a brief overview of the responsibilities, a list of required skills/qualifications, a list of tasks, for example, preparing the patient and materials, a code of conduct, and working conditions, such as the required hours and benefits and bonuses.

We must be very clear from the outset of the description because it helps to avoid any misunderstandings that may arise. We never want to hear, “But Doctor, this was not mentioned when I was hired."

Another step in the formation of the ideal team is selecting an appropriate partner. This may be done through advertising in electronic or print publications, such as newspapers, websites, dental forums, and bulletin board posts. But don’t just request applicants to send a CV. Also ask for two letters of recommendation, ask why the person is leaving his or her previous job, and find out how what the person expects to be compensated.

The reasons this information is to know what the candidate is willing to tell us, and to decide whether to arrange for an interview or not, and to avoid wasting time if, based on the received information, you can see that required qualifications will not be fulfilled.

Another basic rule derived from the performance pyramid is that each position must have at least four qualified candidates. But what do you do if you receive fewer? Perhaps the timing of the advertisement was inadequate (for example the holiday season), so you may need to advertise the position again.

After gathering the most qualified candidates you can proceed to the next stage, the interview.


Here are some tips for the interview.

• Ask the same questions of all candidates to avoid bias.
• Ask someone you know to be present at the interview. In my opinion, a person who has knowledge of business administration or human resources would be most appropriate. If you missed something in the interview, he or she can fill in.
• If you have decided on the person you will hire, or you are between two candidates, I recommend that you perform a second interview so you will be able to form a clearer picture.
• I strongly believe that we can improve our skills, but we cannot change the basic characteristics of our personalities. Because of this, we should truy to understand the character of the candidate, to see if the person fits with the practice  as a whole.
•  We can also ask them to describe how they would react to a hypothetical scenario. For example, “What would you say to a nervous patient?” or “How would you address complaints?”

Finding the perfect fit for your team is something that takes time and patience. Making the right choice pays off in the long run.

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