Certified dental assistants play crucial supportive roles in dentistry. Top dental assistants can be found on dental specialist job boards as well as general job posting sites.
How to Hire a Dental Assistant:
1. Write the perfect dental assistant job description.
With more and more research showing connections between tooth decay and serious conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, people are visiting the dentist with much more frequency. As a result, dental assistants are in high demand, and finding a dental assistant that blends the qualities of technical skill and good patient care can be a challenge.
You'll want to think hard about the way you advertise your dental assistant vacancy. Try to sell them on your dental practice and its ethos. What can you offer them? A fun and close-knit work environment? Rewarding work? Great health benefits? Going beyond the minimum requirements for a job description will help you attract dental assistants who want to make a difference.
Use a dental assistant job description template as your guide to creating the perfect job post.
2. Post your job to multiple sites.
Start by posting to general job posting sites such as Indeed. This is a great place to start because they get plenty of traffic and they're free.
You'll want to ensure your site is picked up by Google for Jobs, too. Google for Jobs allows your posting to be seen in search results. This can greatly increase your job visibility. You can get it picked up by Google by having someone properly format it on your website, or by using a service that creates a properly formatted jobs page for you automatically.
Your next step is to target dedicated job boards for dental professionals. This will narrow your search to people who work in dentistry. Use a job posting site for dental professionals to advertise vacancies and recruit a dental assistant.
3. Partner with colleges to hire dental students.
Some dentists prefer training their dental assistants when they're fresh out of college or high school.
- Start by targeting dentistry schools in the vicinity of your dental practice.
- Contact each school's campus career service office and inquire about forming a partnership.
- Ask about attending campus job fairs.
- Speak to the campus career service office about the process of creating a dental assistant internship with their school.
- Talk to them about the opportunities your dental practice can offer to promising students.
- Connect with dentistry professors and teaching staff and build strong relationships with them. They're your best source of identifying promising students.
4. Develop an internship program.
Internships are the best way of hand-picking the best students to supervise and train as prospective employees of your dental practice.
- Create an internship as part of dentistry students' degree program.
- Meet the legal requirements for internships in your state, such as minimum wage and workers' compensation. The rules differ by state.
- Speak to your partner college to determine whether your internship can count towards college credit. This will further incentivize students to seek an internship.
- Promote your internship at campus job fairs.
- Interview and select students you feel have potential.
- Treat their internship as you would any employment. Give them a proper onboarding, allocate resources to them, and make them feel tended to.
- Ensure that the internship is well-structured and emphasize the educational benefits. Provide clear learning objectives and goals, as well as assignments and daily responsibilities. These can include assisting dentists with teeth cleaning, taking X-rays, sterilizing equipment, managing administration, and more.
- Agree on a length of time that corresponds to a semester.
- Market your interns as testimonial figures who speak about the benefits of a dental assistant internship with you.
- Ask your interns to refer you to other students at their college whom they rate highly.
- Offer your interns the chance of full employment pending the success of their internship.
5. Screen your dental assistant applicants.
People often overlook job requirements and apply anyway. Filter out the unqualified ones by sending out a short email that asks a few basic questions, such as:
- How long have you worked as a dental assistant?
- What year did you get certified by the Dental Assisting National Body (DANB)?
- Are you available to work on weekends?
This way, they cannot ignore your questions. If you're worried that your applicants may not be responsive to an email, you may want to try delegating someone to make short phone calls to ask these questions.
If you want to verify that the candidate has been certified by the DANB, go to their website and search their social security number in the database.
6. Conduct background checks.
Once you've narrowed your candidate pool, you'll need to conduct background checks to verify their employment history, application details, criminal record, and more. Read our guide to the best background checking services for new hires.
7. Conduct a phone interview.
In-person interviews take up a lot of time for everyone involved. You can schedule short phone interviews and quickly learn which candidates are the best to continue investing your time in. During these interviews, review the screening questions to see if their answers are consistent, check that their expectations for salary and benefits line up with yours, and find out why they no longer are at their previous job.
- What brought you to the field of dentistry?
- Why did you leave your last dental assistant job?
- What do you expect for salary and benefits?
- What days are you available to work?
- When would you be able to start?
- What made you interested in this job?
Use this step as an opportunity to identify red flags. If they left their previous job because of issues that you know will be present at the position you're offering, for example, having to work weekends, the candidate won't be a good fit. The same if they want a salary that's outside your range, or they cannot work during your business hours.
For candidates that meet your standards at this point, be sure to review the highlights of taking the job, and see if there are any other questions they have. Remember to keep selling the job, as they may be entertaining other offers.
Pay attention to why they're interested in the job, and reiterate particulars of it they're most attracted to.
8. Conduct an in-person interview.
At this point, you've got most of what you need to know if a candidate is the right fit for your practice, but an in-person interview will give you insight into how you'd work with them, if they are reliable, and how they'll fit in with the rest of your staff.
More importantly, it's a chance to continue selling them the job. Introduce them to co-workers, show them around, review the reasons they want to take the job, and discuss the benefits you offer. Have a look at our dental assistant interview questions for useful questions to ask. Your questions should gauge their experience with different procedures and administrative tasks while probing their ability to show compassion and attitude towards patient care.
9. Make an offer.
You've figured out how to source a dental assistant that fits your practice, so you'll want to make them an offer fairly quickly, to take them off the job market before another company finds them. This is often best done in an informal call first, followed by a letter or email that provides the job description, as well as salary and benefit information.
Where do dental assistants look for jobs?
Is it difficult to hire dental assistants?
Finding the right dental assistant that combines the qualities of patient care and technical proficiency can be challenging, but not impossible. Start your search on specialized job boards and filter out your candidate pool as you go.
How can I find a good dental assistant?
What skills do dental assistants need?
- Knowledge of various orthodontic procedures and practices.
- Good dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Effective communication skills.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills and a commitment to patient care.