One of the most trying things for any Dental owner or Dental Office Manager to have to do is hire employees that will fit perfectly with their environment and culture. You need an excellent hygienist, a detail-oriented Treatment Coordinator, and a front desk receptionist that understands the utter importance of good customer service and patient care. But how do you even go about this process? Remember, this is the team you are going to be working with for a while, so keep in mind what you want to see in your potential employees before you make that very crucial decision. These are just a couple of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding your next superstar.


Don’t hire using emotion

The first and one of the most important parts of the hiring process is writing the ad. Many ads online make one very crucial mistake: they are emotionally motivated. These ads would include a vague description of the tasks and a large number of personality traits.5 One suggestion is to stay away from writing things like “Position open due to departure of current assistant.”


When writing an ad, to stay away from emotion, focus your efforts on being creative. Present your purpose in a curious, humorous and innovative way that will help you stand out as a growing clinic looking for staff to grow with you. Talk about your clinic and the work you do and how you want to make a difference in the community. Then, only at the very end of the ad do you describe the applicant you’re looking for and let the description fall in line with your purpose. For example:


We’re seeking a new hygienist who can help us fill a vacancy for up to eighteen months. If you’ve got a background in dental hygiene and a passion for helping people, we want to hear from you.5  


Do keep the biases in mind

Hiring isn’t just an art, it’s a science; that being said, science can determine how you hire, especially when it comes to letting biases guide your decisions. These are just a few to look out for moving forward:


Association bias

Anything you associate with a candidate can be considered association bias – the same name as someone you like, the same name as someone you don’t like, the same location as you. This type of bias can be positive or negative; either way, it does not make for an effective hiring practice. Unfortunately, biases do not just go away; that’s why it’s important to not rush and instead prepare and set standards for your perfect candidate before you start hiring.


Focus your in-person interview on the culture you are trying to cultivate in your office. My own boss sustains the belief that conducting an informal interview allows him to learn more about his candidates while introducing them to the culture of our dental software company. He fosters a team environment that encourages individuals to think outside the box and practice creative freedom.  


Serial judgment bias

This type of bias revolves around how many candidates you have and how being the first or last interviewees could give these candidates an edge, or how being somewhere in the middle could shuffle them to the bottom of the pile. Establish a benchmark for the type of employee you’re looking for and instead of judging each applicant against another, you can judge each applicant according to your own established benchmark. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate and to keep your mind open when conducting your interviews.  


Temporal extension effect

If you believe that the way a person acts in an interview is typical of their everyday behaviour, that is what’s known as the temporal extension effect. And it is difficult not to fall into that trap. Just keep in mind that a better interview does not mean a better employee.3


According to the author of “Hiring Without a Net,” Nancy Volkers, the answer to fighting back against these types of biases and others is to cast a wider net and not set up filters that could cause an ideal candidate to drop out. She writes, “The language of your job descriptions and other communications is key.”3


Don’t rush

It’s important to prepare yourself before making a decision regarding your new team. When helping to hire our new employees, I like to take the following into consideration during the initial phone interview:


  • Enthusiasm
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Being able to think on their feet


For preparation, think first about the type of candidate you’re looking for. We’ve already established that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate, however, you should always hold your standards high when hiring. Take your time with these decisions, and hire one person at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed.1


Do get to know your team

The only way you can find out how well you work with your team is to get to know them. Learn what they want, what their secret desires are. In my previous position as a customer service representative, my boss took an interest in me and learned that my passion was more for writing than taking customer calls. So instead of having to hire outside of the company for a content writer, through getting to know an employee inside his office, he was able to leverage my talents as a writer, and I was able to be passionate about my job. A happy employee is a productive employee.


Are you ready to start the hiring process but would still like more information and ideas for how to move forward, check out all the links below, including Alex Zlatin’s book, “Responsible Dental Ownership: Balancing Ethics and Business Through Purpose” in which he gives examples of good ads versus bad ones, offers advice regarding in-person interviews, and provides insight on how to motivate your employees once you have successfully hired them. You can also view his website at for even more resources and articles.



  1. Don’t Hire Like Amazon: How to Hire Right and Avoid Layoffs
  2. Business for Breakfast 7/27/18
  3. Hiring Without a Net
  4. Diversity Matters

Zlatin, A. (2018). Responsible Dental Ownership: Balancing Ethics and Business Through Purpose. Charleston, SC: Advant