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12 Ways to Recruit (and Find) Top-Quality Associate Dentist Candidates

By April 10, 2019February 27th, 2020Human Resources

The table of contents is just an overview, please dig deeper into the article to see some of the interesting twists on each of the 12 ways.

Finding associates (and retaining great ones) is difficult, to put it lightly. And as you grow, you realize that finding good people is one of the most important decisions your group practice will make.

The #1 rule for recruiting new dentists is this: Cast A Wide Net. So you’ll need a multi-pronged approach for best results.

The overall objective is, of course, to have a consistent flow of highly qualified applicants. And that’s the result of building and optimizing a hiring funnel, which is a topic for another day. For now, let’s focus on filling up your funnel with candidates.

One of the questions we get asked often is “Where do I actually FIND the associates to hire?”

So after tapping into the power of peer-based learning and the ENTIRE DEO community consisting of:

  • Dozens of DEO events, Summits, and emerging DSO & dental industry experts
  • Hundreds of interviews and conversations with experts and successful DSOs
  • Over 100+ dentist entrepreneurs and executives—who collectively own 425+ locations

Here are their answers and shared resources:

1. Referrals From Your Best Employees and Associates

Like attracts like. Start with your best qualified, best producing, highest core value-matched dentists.

Some of your strongest candidates will likely come from this pool. Some DSOs report up to 50% of their associate hires come from referrals, so leverage this avenue as much as possible.

You’ve heard this tactic before, but our community put some twists on it.

Hear Smile Brands’ Multi-Prong Approach to Recruiting (they hire 275-300+ dentists/year) Using Technology

Have Your Team Use Their Social Media Accounts

Leverage your best employees and associates to work for you in a different fashion.

Have them post a strong “we’re looking for a great associate” post to their Facebook or LinkedIn profile. Think of this as running a patient referral program, but for the provider side.

To fuel the fire, give away a referral bonus to whomever gives X number of referrals and/or leads to an actual job offer.

Cameron Herold, an expert at scaling companies to $100M in revenue, recommends giving a $30,000 bonus to employees who find you an “A player” employee. (See the video clip for a formula for how to determine the actual bonus and compensation structure)

And it doubles as a retention tool. See how to implement it in your practice today.

If you don’t do this, you’re missing out, big time.

Hear Cameron Herold’s Recruiting Incentive that Doubles as a Retention Mechanism

Wasn’t that such a smart way to leverage your current employees to find other great ones?

That clip was just a small glimpse of the discussions we have on a near weekly and monthly basis inside the DEO community.

If you liked that clip, learn more about how we help group practices grow.

If you didn’t watch the clip, play it now — at least for the “Long Island Iced Tea” story.

Also be sure to create a ‘system’ out of this that is replicable, such as templated graphics, sentences or blurbs, or social media posts that your team can use over and over. Especially from the “campaign” that was successful — don’t templatize duds unless you absolutely have to.

2. Run Advertising on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google

Dental associates and new grads are also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google. The largest DSOs are running ads directly on these 4 platforms. If you’re experienced in this or work with a marketing company that is, it can be quite simple and very, very powerful.

Facebook has an entire post on how to use their platform specifically for hiring.

If you’re doing this in-house, be sure this person understands copywriting and direct marketing.

The same goes for LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google Ads.

By the way: (Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook ads) and (Facebook ads only) are some of the best resources for learning how to get a positive ROI on paid ads.

3. Leverage Your Professional Network and Referrals

If you thought, “I can use the same tactics from above,” now you’re thinking. Leverage tactics and merge them together.

Your professional network can be used much like your personal one.

Locum Tenens

This is more of a temporary solution, but can become permanent.

Search for “roaming” associates or locum tenens online and attract them to your practice by helping them with the licensing, malpractice headaches, and maybe slightly higher pay if their production meets a certain level per month.

If you can help them with travel and housing accommodations, even better.

Reach out to Past Candidates Through an “Applicant Tracking System”

Every time you put a hiring ad out, you get applications from dentists. who don’t get hired. Over the years, this list grows and grows.

Are you keeping past applicants in a database, and releasing the job opening to those folks? If not, this is a huge opportunity not only directly for candidates, but to generate word of mouth.

Maybe someone who didn’t quite work out before is a fit now? Maybe they’ve grown and gotten more experience?

After all, dentists with 1 year of experience, will have 2 years worth in a year, so reach out to them again.

So keep all those resumes and then contact the most promising ones every 6-12 months.

Organic Social Media

If you or someone on your team has copywriting or sales chops, get them to help you with this one. The 2 power platforms: LinkedIn and Facebook are the ones to focus on. Use them to:

  • Ask personal friends, colleagues, and associates if they know anyone and if they’d be willing to warmly introduce you
  • Contact dental recruiters directly and see if they can place candidates for you

Think of your LinkedIn posts as posts.

How are you attracting your ideal candidates to your “destination?”

Do you have attractive photos of the area? A list of fun attractions, things to do, and activities for kids?

If you go the “cold” route, it has to be done very carefully so you don’t look like a LinkedIn spammer.

There are 2 ways to make a cold message warm:
A) to find someone/something you both know or have in common and lead with that
B) Look for trigger events like when new dental school students graduate, when a local location is closing down, or when another DSO is downsizing.

Lunch & Learns / Happy Hour / Dinner

If you keep this simple by avoiding logistical nightmares, getting to know candidates face to face in a non-stressful environment can show you if they will really fit into your culture…sometimes better than a formal interview can.

Maybe tack on the Lunch & Learn after a free / low-cost seminar you give to new grads?

Have you ever reached out to dental schools and offered to show how your practice does certain procedures, techniques, and processes?

You might be one dinner away from a great associate.

AEGD / GPR Post Doctorate Departments

These dentists will be looking for a job to help them solidify things they learned in residency (and a way to start paying down that debt).

But residency doesn’t prepare them for a work environment. Plus, they get on-the-job experience with you because you can show them things not taught at an advanced level in dental school like (implants, special needs patients, advanced oral surgical procedures).

And you get a chance to improve your coaching abilities by showing them how to develop their communication skills with actual patients.

4. Dental Associate Job Boards and Hiring Websites

5. Dental Schools

This one’s obvious right? Approach dental schools and use their job boards or get (re)connected with your Alumni school. Some resources:

6. Dental Associate Recruiters

If you’re going to outsource it, be sure to work with a company who only handles dental, and you’ll save yourself a bunch of headaches according to John Owens, Senior Manager of Doctor Recruitment at Smile Brands.

Our Member Curated List of Dental Recruiters

ETS Dental on Where to Recruit Dental Associates

ETS Dental recruits and places more than 42,000 dental professional per year.

7. Dental School Job Fairs

Let the candidates come to you. Be sure your booth/area is catchy and your giveaways are of more value than the other employers.

Inoculate them against your competitors, and make it so you’re the no-brainer — by actually being the best in your area.

Highlight all the different ways working for your practice (your Unique Selling Proposition) is better than your competitors.

8. Practice Brokers

Brokers are connectors — they spend most of their time bridging two or more resources.

So connect with at least 2-3 brokers and see if they know any potential candidates or if any associates at other practices have voiced wanting to work elsewhere.

9. Local Dental Societies / Study Clubs

Again, you’re starting to see the theme of “Go fishing where the fish are.”

Have someone in your practice go and be a wealth of information to them.

Focus on providing goodwill and let them know your office is always looking for great associates to join.

Here’s an example of a Facebook group: Greater Houston Dental Society. Don’t have time or resources to go in person?

Join Facebook groups in your area and have someone answer all the questions that have been posted — you’ll be noticed in the best way possible.

Don’t have time to type all those answers? After finding all the questions, record a quick video or voice memo and have a non clinical staff member post them.

Be sure to compensate that staff member.

Bonus points if, “Hey why don’t I create a study club, so I can potentially have a consistent pool of candidates to choose from” came to mind.

10. State Dental Associations

You or someone in your company are attending these, right?

If you’re a member you have access to the membership directory right?

You can send them snail mail, emails, messages on LinkedIn / Facebook right?

You get the gist: being proactive gets results and standing still guarantees a “no.”

11. Solicit Vendors and Vendor Reps

Just like practice brokers and The DEO, vendors and their reps have a cross-section of the industry that practice owners rarely get to see, due to their respective positions.

Leverage that.

Contact your vendor, whether that be Schein, Patterson, Benco, or others.

Do they know any associates in your area looking for a job? Any new grads? Can you get them to ask someone in their network on your behalf?

Tip: Make that easier by having something pre-written or something with example language in it, for when they say yes.

Pro Tip: Give them a well-designed PDF or video to pass along to potential candidates that describes the position and the great perks you offer. Referrals can feel slimy or hurt the other person’s reputation — this tactic mitigates that by giving the referrer a “thing” to refer instead of referring a company.

Remember — if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

12. Send Out Letters to the ADA, State, and Local Directories

Go old school and escape the online noise. Physical junk mail has decreased.

To all dentists above a certain age, send them snail mail. If you don’t want to do that, cold emailing works wonders if mimicking or

Tip 1: In copywriting, an unspoken rule is “Don’t be boring.”

Tip 2: “The sales message itself must be valuable to the prospect.”

Want more resources like this?

Then please share this with one person who could use it the most and bookmark this page, that lets us know what content to focus on next.

This list of resources and knowledge is just a peek into the power of putting great people together and asking them to give their best answers to “keep you up at night” questions.

Great things happen when you have the courage to ask for help when stuck.

So instead of struggling alone and spending valuable time unknowingly reinventing the wheel—place yourself in a community that helps you make great leaps towards your vision and goals.

What to do next

The DEO has developed a process we conduct virtually or over the phone—called a Growth Accelerator call — to help dental entrepreneurs figure out where to best focus their efforts to grow with more certainty and less frustration.

The 30-45 minute call is conducted by Darin Acopan — our EVP — who has been in the dental industry for over 5 years after helping take the Bowflex machine organization from $50 to $400M in less than 10 years.

If you need a connection to anyone in the industry, chances are they’re in Darin’s rolodex…seriously.

So connect yourself to the best resources, mastermind with the best people, and know that you are one connection away from the growth you want.

If you want to be connected to the best dental entrepreneurs, and someone who knows the ins and outs of growing a group practice…

Schedule your free Growth Accelerator call today.

And as always — no pressure and no obligation; your goals are our goals. We don’t lose sight of that. Ever.