How to Hire a Dentist

How to Recruit a Dentist blog post cover for prodent search

Last updated on April 13th, 2023

According to U.S. News and World Report Rankings, dentists rank #2 in best healthcare jobs, #10 in best paying jobs, and #4 in best STEM jobs. If you’re planning to recruit a dentist for your company or private practice, it’s mission-critical to keep this context in mind—a dentist’s first career decision will often determine his or her career trajectory for life. 

Establishing a dental practice takes time and dedication, and it’s a well-established trend that dentists are unlikely to switch jobs down the road. In 2020 and beyond, recruiters will face an added challenge of a dental industry job market that’s growing faster than other sectors due to high pay, quality of life on the job, and the impacts of medical innovation—such as 3D printing, augmented reality, and tele-dentistry —that are becoming commonplace in practices.

To hire the best dentists for your organization, you’ll need to fight hard to win them over. The decisions you make now, as a dentist recruiter, have the potential to impact your company, group, or corporation for decades. That means building a magnetic employer brand that positions your organization as an employer of choice.

At Prodent Search, our team keeps a close eye on dental industry trends, particularly among recent dental graduates who are making their first—and potentially final—career decisions. Corporations, groups, and private practices are competing with a world of options to reach the best and brightest. We’ve found that becoming a first-choice employer is a far from easy task that takes time. To plant seeds that will help dental practices grow in the long-run, recruiters need to focus on the following:

1. Provide dental candidates with a high-touch recruiting experience

Your budget, on-campus presence, and industry reputation is only part of the formula for sourcing, screening, and hiring the right individual. Especially in today’s digital age, every interaction counts—and in a candidate-driven market, it’s important that every touchpoint leaves a lasting, positive impression. Giving each candidate the attention that he or she deserves is easier said than done, however. For large groups and corporations, bureaucracy often means that hiring cycles are slow. Meanwhile, smaller private practices hire dentists so infrequently that they don’t have structured protocols for engaging with candidates. As a result, rare and exceptional candidates often fall through the cracks.

One way to solve this challenge is to work with an established dentist recruiting partner. 

Dental recruiting agencies have established, repeatable, and scalable processes that ensure quality interactions throughout the entire recruiting lifecycle, from candidate sourcing to hiring. As an example, you can learn about Prodent’s aggressive, high-touch, and tested methodology here.

2. Appeal to family values

Our team at Prodent Search has found that for dentists, choosing a job is often a family decision.  It’s common for candidates, at all life and career stages, to bring their spouses—and sometimes, their children—to locations where they are considering accepting a job.  One way that dental practices can stand out is to demonstrate empathy for candidates’ family members. There are a few resources that you can provide to help make the decision-process easier:

  • Create factsheets that describe costs of living, school districts, housing data, childcare options, and more
  • Work with a recruiting partner that can offer spousal relocation support for an employment search
  • Offer to pay travel and accommodation expenses for spouses and children who are visiting the area

3. Build relationships with dental candidates before their graduation dates

Given the rigorous demands of dental school, it’s unlikely that candidates will begin searching for jobs before their final year, after they’ve passed their matriculation exams.  Even though they may not be taking action on a job search; however, they’re still laser-focused on the future.

One way to reach candidate pools of unicorn candidates and future high-performers is to build relationships with them earlier in their educational trajectories. To do this, your practice will need to build relationships with on-campus career centers that are in charge of offering educational programming and networking opportunities.

As the recruiting market for dentists become more competitive, institutional partnerships—for the purpose of building long-term relationships with candidates—are a must. These relationships have the potential to last a dentist’s entire career, which means that over the long-term, your practice will build a pipeline of potential future career changers. Even if dentists are unlikely to change jobs, it is well within your power to nurture these bonds for the purpose of winning them over.

4. Offer transparency into your organization

With dentists steering the trajectory of their careers, it’s important to keep in mind that the highest performers want to work for the best practices. Often; however, it’s tough for candidates to peel back the curtain to study the reputations of prospective employers. For that reason, they’ll rely on peer referrals, patient reviews, and recommendations.

If you’re a practice owner or hiring manager within a corporation, it’s essential that you take control of your organization’s narrative. Share outcomes data, trends related to patient foot traffic, and plans related to your business’s future evolution and expansion.

One solution to help build your organization’s story is Prodent Search’s Employer Brand Maximizer, which can help you assess your dental practice’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Final thoughts on Recruiting a Dentist

When you appeal to candidates’ human instincts, you’ll have an easier time building a pipeline of talented candidates. An effective recruiting practice has added benefits of creating a referral engine and amplification effect to your business. Dentists who have positive experiences with your practice are likely to send fellow dentists—and patients—your way.

At the end of the day, every human being cares about finding meaningful work opportunities. Every recruiting touchpoint has an impact in shepherding dentists along their professional journeys.

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