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Hiring Medical/Dental Office Staff

April 19, 2017

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The staff in a medical or dental office is the glue that holds the office together. They are the first people your patients encounter when they walk in the door and the last ones they encounter on the way out.  They can make or break a patient’s experience; therefore, making the right staffing choices is critical for medical/dental offices.

As most small or even mid-size medical or dental offices do not have a dedicated human resources employee, let alone an entire department in place to handle all hiring decisions, it often falls on the office manager and the physician or dentist.  Hiring a new employee can be a difficult decision, and a wrong choice can have costly implications.

Here are a few tips as you look to hire new staff for your medical or dental office.

  1. Create a truly accurate description of the available position.  You want candidates to know up front what all their potential new role will entail.  Get a real understanding from either the person leaving the position or someone who works closely with him or her in terms of what they really do on a daily basis.  The more you can include up front, the more likely you will be to attract candidates with the right skill set, as well as those who have a better understanding of what is expected.
  2. Develop your own unique interview questions.  Determine what is important to you in a candidate.  Some of those characteristics will be the same no matter the open position, but some will change based on the specific role.  Consider what kind of employee you are looking for overall, as well as those specific aspects that would make a person successful in this position.  Then use those identified characteristics to craft your interview questions.
  3. Experience isn’t everything.  Personality and culture fit are equally as important.  Whether you are in a medical office environment, or a more traditional business office setting, hiring an employee that is a fit for your company’s culture is key.  This is not always the easiest thing to assess, but incorporating some basic questions in the interview about their likes and dislikes in a work environment can help to identify any red flags.  An employee is much more likely to stay in their job and be successful when they are a culture fit.
  4. Think longer term.  When you have a gap in your office staff, it is tempting to jump to a short term solution or hire the first viable candidate.  However, it is important that you think long term.  Look at those candidates that would be more valuable to your practice over time.  For instance, if you’re looking for an office manager, do any of the candidates also have experience with social media or marketing?  Ask what else they have done in any former positions or even what they enjoy doing in their spare time that might not fit exactly into your job description. 

In any medical or dental office, friendly and skilled staff make all the difference.  Replacing a key member of your team can be difficult, but with preparation, the right questions and a focus on long term goals, you can continue to improve your staff and your patients’ experience.

For any questions, contact your MWA Advisor today.