Job Sharing/Passing the Baton

An Option for Covid-19 Team Development

Back in the mid 80’s I was a single mother of three with 2 daughters in school and a son who was pre-kindergarten.  Unfortunately, as a single working mom there were few options as far as daycare.  Private children centers had not come to prominence as yet, and the only choice we had was for a family member, friend, neighbor or paid babysitter to help care for our young.

I was working in dentistry at the time, holding a position in the business office. I was fortunate to have a wonderful neighbor with a morning kindergartener who kindly offered to watch my son.  I was so grateful and she was appreciative of making some extra money.  The only challenge was that she was only able to assist me from 9-1 while her child was at school.

I was working with a wonderful, caring dentist at the time and between us we decided to find my “counterpart” to manage holding down the fort from 2-6.  It was an unusual approach for our industry, but we both felt that with the right “partner” it could be a winning situation for all.  And now that I think about it, this was my first exposure to dental team hire.

Placing an ad in the newspaper was the best alternative then, and I was fortunate to find a perfect ying to my yang!  We worked together for two years.  From one to two was the lunch hour for the doctor and team, which gave Delores and I time for the “transfer”, as we called it. I would fill her in on the morning happenings from appointments scheduled, follow-up calls, the insurance I had submitted, etc. We really became a wonderful team as we passed the baton back and forth.  I would come in prior to the morning huddle and read her notes and the happenings from the past afternoon and be well prepared to start the day. The only thing we regretted is that we never actually worked side by side very much, other than the days we would return from vacation or holidays and both arranged to make this special time .

Do you remember the saying “when everything old is new again”? Well, I believe it may be time to look at some past approaches to business and apply it to our current hiring conundrum.

I realize that many of you will be saying, “if we are having problems locating employees, how are we ever going to hire two for one position?” I hear that, and I respect your concerns. But here’s some valuable information I’ve gathered from the many dental professionals I’ve interviewed and talked to over the past 5 months or so.

Many dental professionals want to return to work, but they are now faced with new challenges.  The childcare  options they have had are no longer there.  Many are not totally comfortable to work a full 40 hours.  For many employees, getting back to the workplace has gotten complicated, difficult, and costly.  And yes, let us not forget the fear factor–spending 40 hours per week in the dental environment is a concern to some as well.

Perhaps reinstating Job Sharing could resolve some of these issues and help dental practices to recover the manpower that has been weakening over the past few months.  I know how much employer/dentists have been struggling, as I’ve been working diligently to locate and onboard new employees.

If anyone is interested in learning how to orchestrate Job Sharing, please send me a private message and I’ll gladly fill you in.

Working Interview vs. Skills Assessment

Why not consider skills assessments?

I replaced Working Interviews with Skills Assessments over 15 years ago. My clients have genuinely appreciated the shift and job candidates applaud the concept as well. In light of the pandemic I believe this approach to evaluating potential team members as well as the potential employees having the opportunity to evaluate the practice, is even more critical than ever before. Those that have not worked with me have been inquiring as to what the difference is between the two. Here is an overview of both systems that I hope will illustrate how they differ .

Challenges with the Working Interview

· How has the decision maker (dentist/owner) had the opportunity to truly evaluate the candidate while they are conducting business and treating patients? Receiving secondhand information from current employees can be skewed, slanted or inaccurate.

· How does the job applicant evaluate the practice culture/style while they are trying to navigate through the working interview on their own? Typically, little direction is offered as team members are busy supporting their jobs and managing their responsibilities.

· Not having some form of control can be dangerous, particularly in the case of reviewing a business office position. Often this person is alone at the front desk, or at best accompanied by another employee who will infrequently check in and out, enabling visibility to records including health histories, social security numbers, credit card information, etc.

· We are all hoping to locate employees that are structured and organized. Without exhibiting structure, not only is it difficult to evaluate the candidate, but those of value do not find the traditional “Working Interview” a beneficial way to evaluate if this is the environment in which they can see themselves long-term. I believe that Working Interviews, as they have been orchestrated for years, do not support long-term commitments from employees, hence the reason turnover is so great within our profession. Neither the dentist/employer nor the job seeker can collect enough information during a Working Interview to assess if this will be the best business relationship for both. Conducting multiple days of WI’s is an option, although the way they are presently utilized, I do not feel this is necessarily the answer to longevity.

Advantages of Skills Assessments

· They are conducted with structure and purpose.

· In the case of Business Office candidates, they are conducted under supervision (safer for everyone).

· When evaluating clinical candidates, the job candidates will be given a “road map” to track responsibilities. There will be little need to ask questions, and this approach enables the

reviewer to see how well directions are followed, although they will have the on-going support of the team should they require help at any time.

· The dentist/owner will have a much clearer picture of the skill sets the job candidate is capable of. These would be comprehension, the ability to follow directions, ability to apply decision making techniques, how they manage their time, and their ability to prioritize.

· Unlike Working Interviews that are typically one day or even ½ day, Skills Assessments should be conducted for a few. *Check with your accountant or financial adviser as to the best way to compensate candidates based on legal standards.

Constructing Skills Assessments

Business Office Positions:

· I prefer that all business office Skills Assessments be conducted during non-patient hours.

· A document should be drafted to reflect a cross-section of the responsibilities this position carries.

· This event should be facilitated (preferably) by the dentist, associate, or a “trusted” employee.

1. Are they familiar with your software? If not, offer them a quick overview of the product you use and ask them to perform a simple entry or two.

2. Do you have various materials for New Patient Intakes, Health Histories, Insurance information, etc.? Set up a mock situation with them to see how they deliver the information where you are in the role of the patient.

3. Offer them typical scenarios (examples might be: Patient is questioning their bill or why insurance didn’t cover; patient that was scheduled for lengthy appointment is wanting to cancel at the last minute–do they quickly offer to re-schedule or do they attempt to rescue the possible cancellation?

4. Since the Skills Assessment is an extension of the face-to-face interview and conducted during non-work hours, the Labor Board does not view this as actual “work”, so it really is not necessary to compensate for this review although I HIGHLY suggest that you do. Customary WI compensation should apply.

Clinical Positions (Dental Assistant and Hygienist)

· Skills Assessments for all clinical positions should be conducted during the workday. The job candidate should be assigned to a team member as their “go-to” person during the process. It is possible to conduct a SA using a typodont and scenarios as well, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic when observing distancing and limited contact is important.

· A template and road map should be created for these positions as well and they should be supplied with this template upon arrival the day of the SA.

· Their team guide should initially offer them assistance on the basics. Examples might be: Where are supplies kept? Offer a walk-through of the sterilization process. Does the hygienist need to call on team members to assist with periodontal charting or is it managed via technology?

· The hygiene schedule should reflect as diverse a day as possible with varied procedures. Please do not overload the hygienist with back to back difficult prophies and quad scales. A cross-section of treatments is one of the best way to observe skills. Be considerate and do not take advantage of “your guest”, after all even with guidance and support it is still new terrain to them.

· The clinical assistant should have the opportunity to assist with an assortment of treatments

as well. Their “buddy” should try to balance the treatments they assist with as they share the scheduled procedures with the job seeker.


· Opening one’s practice to numerous job applicants can be more challenging today during Covid-19. Applying Skills Assessment techniques will also help to minimize additional exposure to others.

· The “quality” employees truly do appreciate this format, which can be an indicator and a way of screening to the best behavioral styles to join your group.

· I also recommend as much “alone” time for the potential new hire and existing team to interact (without the dentist/owner). Many of my clients will have them go out to lunch as a group (unfortunately, during Covid-19 this is limiting)

· This method has proven to greatly reduce poor hires and increase long-term employment.

· The job candidates will be able to gather more information and will be more likely to terminate the process if they feel they are not the best fit, or that the systems and protocols do not align with their particular work style. Better to know sooner than later.

Why Am I Not Getting Hired?

Perhaps it’s Time to Evaluate How You Are Approaching the Process

I hear this question often and felt I’ve been overdue in addressing why this may be happening.  I’m particularly amazed when I hear this, given the fact that the market is rich with dental job opportunities.

Let’s start with this:

As a Job Seeker do you believe you present yourself in the best light?

If you are a tenured dental professional do you highlight your accomplishments? And yes, a near perfect attendance record counts as well as showcasing your strengths, i.e.; “I’ve been told my cosmetic temporaries are excellent! My ability to maintain patients’ attendance (excellent confirmation skills) and low collection rate is one of my hallmarks.”

If you are a new grad with little or no previous employment history to offer, are you able to transfer some of your strengths and skill sets from past work experiences that could be applicable for this new position? Attention to detail, the ability to prioritize, strong verbal skills or even simply “I find it very natural to smile and be positive every day.”

Let’s talk about the process itself:

  • Do you submit a resume that is well constructed, free of typos and comprehensive?
  • Once you apply for a position do you pay attention to responses that may come in via email and phone?
  • Do you return all correspondence from interested employers efficiently and as rapidly as possible (you snooze you lose).
  • Are you prepared to receive phone interviews? Are you there to take the call and in a quiet place where you can be responsive (not on a cell phone in your car)?
  • If you are offered a face-to-face interview do you show up on time? ACTUALLY IT SHOULD BE EARLY!!
  • Are you dressed professionally for your interview with a clean resume in hand (in a folder if possible).
  • Do you ask pointed questions at your interview and do you conduct some due diligence on the practice so that you are equipped to interview as well as to be interviewed?

Can you truly look in the mirror and say “I do believe I am doing all that I can to make myself hirable.” If you can’t respond positively to all of the aforementioned situations then perhaps you are not as ready to be hired as you think you are.

Do You Leave Candidates Hanging?

Consider the Golden Rule

Those of you that follow my blog and other social media posts that I generate know that I am consistently reminding all employers to prepare well for the interview process. Have all your ducks in a row, including documents such as comprehensive job descriptions (in writing) along with any other materials that you might be able to supply the job seeker with to help them better understand what the position entails, the practice philosophy, etc.


But what if after thorough due diligence, vetting the candidate and evaluating their skill sets and their “soft” skills, you come to realize they are not going to be the best fit for your practice?  Do you get in touch with them or do you wait for them to call the office inquiring about status?


And what about the job seekers that appear to have promise–the ones that could be ideal candidates for your practice and the position you are looking to fill? Do you find yourself drifting off, losing contact with those that could be valuable assets to your practice or do you maintain an ongoing dialog with them?


It’s quite common for me to give my clients light nudges to remind them that “candidates you have interest in are not going to hang around long.” Or, ” Did you communicate with the clinical assistant that didn’t make the cut?” It’s not fair to her if you feel you want to curtail the forward motion and the hiring process with her.
I get it! This is one of the “yucky” things the practice leader, owner, dentist has to deal with.  This is why I’ll often hear, “Deb, can you call Suzie and let her know we’re still looking, or we are changing the job description, or our employee decided she is staying with us, so we stopped the process”. While I know this is a difficult task for many, the best thing to do is firstly, don’t leave these people hanging.  Be as honest as possible without hurting feelings.  Some are holding out for you and will stop seeking other opportunities as a result.


Heck, I know of a couple of instances where the job seeker was so certain the job was theirs that they excitedly give notice to their present employer. But what bothers me most is when nothing at all is said.  Rather than have to deliver this tough message, the job candidate is conveniently forgotten. Sure, it’s a tough conversation to have, but the least you can do is send a thoughtful, short email thanking them for their time and wishing them the best of luck.  No stories. No excuses. Simply. “We don’t believe we are the best fit for each other.”


While I don’t have a problem delivering the message (although I don’t find it particularly enjoyable) I have been the messenger for many of my clients for fear that these candidates would be patiently waiting for some news.  I’m troubled if I feel as though they are living on false hope or perhaps missing out on opportunities that could be more suitable for them. This is but another challenge of being a business owner and while I’m at it, please don’t have someone other than the person who will be generating the paycheck (the boss) finalize this relationship.


Don’t burn bridges, no matter where we reside, be it small towns, suburbia or major cities, dentistry is a close-knit community.   Good reputations travel fast, but bad ones travel faster.

Surveillance Cameras for Team Management?

Be a manager, not a spy

We’ve come a long way in numerous areas of technology, and I believe we all appreciate what these advancements have accomplished to assist in enabling us to work more efficiently and effectively. 

Surveillance cameras in the workplace offer many applications. Some great uses would be observing patients in treatment rooms to be sure they are comfortable, and perhaps giving the doctor and team the ability to see patients enter the practice so that they can be properly greeted if the team is spread throughout the practice.  

The ability to check the office afterhours and watch for any questionable behavior while the evening cleaning crew go about their work.  I can even see the value of these cameras for the doctor who might want to quickly see the location of team members during the workday. The entire team should be informed that they are present and why well before they are even installed. There are no doubt advantages to surveillance monitors, but I do have concerns when it comes to using them for a different purpose—that is to secretly observe the team. 

I fear that many see this as a way of “managing” one’s team. Utilizing such a system to check in surreptitiously and, wellbasically spy on what they are doing (or not doing). 

Prior to integrating team members into a practice, I would hope that not only would there be a thorough interview process in place, but that every team member is properly vetted via background checks, drug tests and fully educated as to what is expected of them should they join the practice.  As always, this should be in the form of a well-defined, comprehensive document that is spelled out in detail, approved by the perspective team member and then signed off by them.   

We talk about trust.  We hire “trusting” that this new team member is going to be honorable, loyal, honest, reliable and represent your practice in a professional manner.  If these personal attributes are not present at the hire and during the 3-month integration period, then chances are you will not be witnessing these important qualities at the end of 3 months.  The trust between the employer and employee is critical to a respectful and reciprocal business relationship.  If there are any concerns and or doubt in the mind of the employer that an employee cannot be trusted, then chances are they should not be maintained as an employee in the first place.  

So, the very important point I am trying to make is that I don’t ever want surveillance cameras to serve as a substitute for proper team management.  I have personally viewed the fallout that can occur from quietly and secretively installing this equipment without sharing the fact that they have been placed in order to help us all to better manage patients, business operations, and monitor the premises when we are not here.  With the many advantages that come with technology, the one thing technology cannot manage is “people” This requires human involvement. 

Please don’t make surveillance cameras or secretive phone monitoring a segment of your team management protocols. Texting “I’ll be late today” or “I’m home sick” will never replace a phone call to inform management of this information. And the “I quit” text is unconscionable, and is NEVER appropriate.  

Let’s start talking more, openly share, lead with a transparent mindset in the hopes that we can learn to trust each other and regain old business values. 

Are You Missing A Critical Component of the Interview Process?

Can you recognize “Soft Skills”?

My client orientation is probably more thorough than most. I want to learn as much about the practice dynamics as possible. I ask about the practice culture, the history of the practice, where this new client sees him/herself in the coming years.

Do they have a mission statement? How much experience do they feel the candidates I present require to effectively fill the position they are offering? And when it comes to the “skills” required I will often pause and ask them “What about “soft skills”?” It’s surprising to me how many either don’t know about soft skills or don’t appreciate their importance.

So, before we discuss the skill sets that will either make or break the candidates offered, I first discuss how critically important that I feel soft skills are to the hiring process. I believe that soft skills should supersede skill sets first and foremost. Behavior is something that is ingrained within our psyche. These are the characteristics that cannot be taught.  If soft skills are strong and in place, then “skill sets” will follow organically.

What are Soft Skills?

  • The ability to successfully oversee Conflict, Stress and Time Management.
  • Fine-tuned Communication Skills
  • Healthy Emotional Balance

For those professionals that have been able to address their soft skills and further build and cultivate them successfully is “the gift that keeps on giving”.  These are the people that could pick up and learn what is expected of them and naturally grow and enhance the new skills that they master.  These are the people that don’t necessarily multitask but prioritize, which is a valuable and manageable skill.  These are the people that give more effort to maintaining an even keel rather than making waves. These are the people that take their job seriously, are loyal and respect others’ feelings.

So, I recommend that we make the evaluation of skill sets a segment of the interview process.  I’d be lost without my SELF Profile when it comes to vetting team members.  Although I understand that this is a small snapshot of our behavior, it can still deliver additional information that can prove very beneficial when it comes to making your final hiring choice.

For those of you that administer and are trained in facilitating DiSC, I strongly suggest you incorporate this in your hiring protocols. This assessment evaluates behavior and not “personality” as many think it does.  It will require some training to be savvy in the interpretation of this assessment, for it isn’t always cut and dry. Consider incorporating the gathering of soft skills during your interview process. It really will deliver additional information that will prove invaluable.

For those of you that are interested in my own dental-specific SELF Profile Assessment, I’d be happy to discuss the possibility of administering it to candidates that you might be considering (or even for existing team members). This is accomplished remotely and is coordinated with a ½ hour phone call with the candidates in question to be sure that the results generated by the profile align with how they present.

My Adventure Building a Sales Team

What I learned when I stepped out of my comfort zone

It takes an attentive, focused team to locate and assemble the BEST team members!

With a goal to recruit 10 Sales Executives from various markets nationally over the course of 8 weeks or less, I was able to meet the challenge and proudly delivered viable candidates to InnobioSurg of America for their review as they continue to methodically apply a thorough vetting process.

The advertising verbiage that I created was brief yet offered the interested candidates enough information to pique their interest, which then generated a valuable response from many sincere, motivated, passionate and talented job seekers.

My role was then to capture their “soft skills” based on my phone interview coupled with the facilitation of my SELF Behavioral Profile. During the process and prior to advancing them to the second interview, I made certain to continue both phone interaction as well as email exchanges. I’m always watching, listening and vetting—probably more than most.

I am happy to announce that orientation for the 10 candidates chosen will be commencing on May 6th through May 10th. There will be structured onboarding with speakers currently on the team to both welcome them and share some of the highlights of the company’s philosophy.

The new sales force team is positioned in Seattle, Atlanta, Arizona, Detroit and Dallas. Many have strong backgrounds selling dental implants. Others bring knowledge in medical/dental devices and one is a dental hygienist with fine-tuned skill sets in periodontics, with another who was a Research Scientist in the Department of Periodontics at the University of Washington. I have recommended that we create a very specific job description for this extremely talented recruit. We are currently developing this for him, adding more value for the dentists that utilize the products and services offered by IBS.

It was a pleasure for me to contribute to the process and I’m proud to announce that this project was not only completed on time, but actually a few days ahead of schedule. Some of the secrets to this successful endeavor:

· Working cooperatively as a team

· Not opening too many markets at once

· Daily open communication regarding candidate status

· Paying close attention to how each job applicant managed each stage of the process

· Not one of my ads made mention of salary or perks, just factual information referencing the position along with the phrase “Competitive base salary/generous performance-based commission scale.”

· Making sure that all prospective job candidates were kept abreast of where they are in the process

· The majority of the responses were from truly interested, career-focused job candidates who were more interested in the “health” of the company and their sincere desire to grow with the organization. Stability seemed to be the one word I heard the most and the Uniqueness of the company was also of great interest

It does take the harmonious cooperation of a “Village” in order to successfully build a strong Dream Team! This was an ambitious undertaking for me, considering that I managed this project while maintaining my other business obligations successfully.

At first, I thought it would be a bit of a stretch for me to enter into a slightly different genre than I have been accustomed to, but it wasn’t that far removed from what I have been managing for my private dental practices all these years. It was a very rewarding experience that I enjoyed, and it appears as though IBS was pleased too. I’m now seeking an Experienced Business Assistant to support the COO here in the states.

Does Your Practice Have a Culture Guide?

This is a “must have” when conducting a face-to-face interview

Is your team 100% clear with everything that contributes to your culture, along with the message you wish to stand behind for your practice, the team, as well as the message that you will be sending out to the community?
This document should include the practice philosophy and flavor of your practice. What is your practice watchword? Do you have a Mission Statement and is your team aware of what it is? The dialog within it should be rich with the soft skills that you see as necessary requirements for every team member to honor, respect and adhere to.
Some examples:
  • Autonomy when it comes to sharing private information with other employees (like their salary structure).
  • How to resolve disputes and disagreements with fellow teammates.
  • What are our main priorities as we service our patients?
 Consider utilizing this short but comprehensive overview as a vital piece to present and discuss with job candidates PRIOR to even hiring them.  The more information that is shared up front, the more successful the final hire will be.  Ask them if they are okay with the culture you have created and continue to nurture within the walls of your practice.  Confirm with them that they do not have a problem respecting the protocols that are in place.
Many interviewees will acquiesce for the moment, but later feel as though they will not be personally able to agree with the structures of the practice as outlined. It is far more important to know this up front, rather than investing the time and effort to integrate a new employee when they may never feel comfortable aligning with your culture.
My recommendation is to have them review your outline during the interview itself. Then ask if they are comfortable to sign off and agree to its content, at which point they will either agree or choose to move on.  This is not a binding agreement, but it will give the job candidate pause to think about whether or not they can move forward with the process, understanding that this will be the culture that they are entering.  Some will find it totally acceptable while others might feel as though they can’t see themselves conforming to the cultural style you have established for your practice.

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.



Interviews Are Not Interrogations

No time for the “third degree”

As we close out another year and begin to lay the groundwork for a new one, I would like to address an area that seems to be more and more prevalent—that is the purpose of the initial face to face interview and what my observations have been this past year. I’m uncertain if this is the result of anxiety of the process itself, entering into it with a negative outlook rather than an open mind or simply an impatience to collect quick answers rather than garnering valuable information in order to make an educated decision for both the potential employee and employer which enables both to gather important facts to lay the groundwork for the rest of the process.

While the purpose of an initial interview is to share and gather information between the potential employee and employer, we must not lose sight of what this meeting is to accomplish. “I love being interviewed” or “I love conducting an interview” are statements that are rarely if ever stated by the interviewer or interviewee. The face to face encounter is a very important segment of the interview process and one we shouldn’t take lightly and rush through. It is the time for both parties to get their first exposure of one another and the first opportunity to share information regarding the practice culture, style and philosophy along with the skill sets, abilities and temperament. This hour or so is meant to be an uninterrupted time to capture some valuable traits, so preparing well and making sure it is a safe place to share is important.

One of the very first considerations is to set “the stage” for the interview. This requires creating an environment where it is safe and comfortable and where the exchange of information is open and honest. You want to establish an atmosphere that promotes openness and complete honestly as the approach taken will make a tremendous difference for both the job seeker and interviewer. What I am experiencing are verbal exchanges that are clearly causing a smokescreen that will often cause job candidates to run the other way and potential employers chose to move on to other candidates. How does this happen? It occurs when the “tone” of the conversation becomes more of an interrogation rather than a healthy and informative think tank.

“Why did you leave your last job?” “I’m concerned that you have never worked with our software.” “It is important for you to understand exactly how we set up for an implant.” While these are all valid questions that certainly need to be addressed as the process moves forward, there is more to discuss and establish up front. And job seekers, questioning salary, benefits, vacation arrangements and sick pay are subjects that should not take precedence during this initial interview. When statements of this nature monopolize the discussion, it tends to become more of an interrogation and less of a “getting-to-know-you” opportunity. What about– “What interested you in the field of dentistry?” “What are your long- and short-term goals for your career?” or “Doctor, what is it that you hope I will bring to support the health and growth of your practice?”

Sadly, many great employer/employee connections have been known to come to an abrupt halt based on focusing on topics that should be managed later in the process. Perhaps my bringing this to your attention will cause many of you to look at the purpose of the initial interview in a different light, thus rescuing what could be the perfect, long-term hiring commitment based on the ability to identify the strong viable candidates and the practice cultures that are ideal for the new team member.