The State of the Dental Job Market

Adjusting hiring to fit the market

Working in this arena as I have for many years, I closely observe the trends and the highs and lows that occur in the job market. It will swing to the side of employers and then swing back to the side of the employees, and all spots in between.

Currently the opportunities, particularly in healthcare, are voluminous, with open positions from hygiene to clinical assistant and administrative personnel to marketing assistants.  The requests I have been receiving for my help with placement have been coming from all parts of the country from employers basically experiencing the same challenges.

“I need help. Reliable, experienced and highly professional job candidates. Where are they, and how can I afford what they are requesting?”

If locating, integrating and maintaining a strong team wasn’t tough enough, it is now getting tougher. Like most other aspects of business, it’s governed by supply and demand and unfortunately when the supply is weak the demands become strong.

While I often find myself talking my clients down from the ledge based on the stress and challenges of building and maintaining a great team, there is still no need to ruminate. If you haven’t had a firm grip on your hiring methods or systems, now is the time you need to instill them more than ever before.

Learn to recognize the sincere, logical and sensible job seekers.  Those that are not entirely focused on dollars and perks. Those that are not looking at you as a stepping stone or leverage until something better comes along, but those candidates that truly have value and the best credentials to assume the position you are wanting to fill.

It’s often a “knee-jerk” reaction when desperation is at hand for employers to offer the moon and the stars and outrageous salaries just to get a new hire on board.  They will even throw a number out there that causes them buyer’s remorse and loss of sleep simply to get the help.  They will offer everything from travel expenses to 2 weeks of paid vacation for less than a year of employment, not to mention a salary that they know will be difficult for them to deliver.  Hence, one of the main reasons that we experience the employee turnover that we do in our industry.

While I highly support rewarding tenured, valued employees (and the sky’s the limit here) it is never wise to overcompensate based on fear and scarcity. Think of the loyal employees that have been with you for a while.  Those that have done a great job for you over time, have had your back, support you, your patients, their team members and your practice. Have you acknowledged them lately? Don’t ever take your long-term employees for granted and please consider them when you onboard new ones. I understand that there can be some level of desperation considering your existing team could be running short-handed, having to chug that much faster and as a result, they too are anxious for help.

I have had numerous conversations lately with job seekers that are adding dollars to their price tags simply based on the fact that we are in the midst of an employee shortage. Those of you that know or have worked with me know that I am very turned off by applicants that are totally or mostly money-driven.

I continue to believe that fair wages are heavily based on skill sets, attitude, work history and market; and although historically when the supply of anything is down the cost increases, I do believe that it is important to look beyond the hire and never forget those team members that have come through first.

The Progressive Salary Program that I developed years ago is a great way to responsibly integrate new hires. It’s a system for “all seasons” and one that is a balance for both the incoming team member and the employer.

Watch for information to follow as I will be giving a series of (free) webinars on this topic along with many others that will surely resolve some of the issues we all struggle with when it comes to hiring and related subjects.

 

 

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