Jan 19, 2024

Hiring in the Dental Industry: Finding Talent Beyond Traditional Boundaries

Hiring in the Dental Industry: Finding Talent Beyond Traditional Boundaries

In my role as CEO of Archy, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles that dental practices encounter in regards to hiring. The difficulty in attracting and retaining front office staff continues to be a thorn in the side of most dental practice owners. We see time and time again job candidates failing to turn up during job interviews, no-showing for work or disappearing entirely with no explanation. The shortage of qualified applicants is a growing concern, and one of the most critical questions is: How did our industry get to this point, and what can we do to address this problem?

The COVID-19 pandemic brought systemic changes to the dental industry. Many members of the dental field, from novices to veterans, left due to either health risks associated with high-risk exposure to the virus, burnout due to staff shortage, or simply because they no longer wanted to be in the dental profession. As a result, dental professionals have become increasingly scarce, and in turn, increasingly valuable. The demand for dental team candidates continues to outweigh the supply.

So, where do we go from here? It’s time for us to think outside the box and look for potential employees in unconventional places.

With the advances in technology that we’re developing at Archy, we can make it easier for people with little to no dental background to transition into the industry.

As we consider hiring individuals without a dental background for different positions such as front office, dental assistant, lab technician, etc., it is essential to focus on certain key qualities:

  • Willingness to Learn
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Positive Attitude
  • Experience Working in Customer Service

With these above traits, even those new to the industry can be valuable contributors from day one. Using Archy as well as receiving guidance from the existing dental professionals in the practice, these individuals can quickly adapt to the industry and become successful long-term employees.

In the search for new hires, we can turn to industries that emphasize customer service and frequent customer interactions. The real estate industry is a match in those areas.  The current economic climate, characterized by rising mortgage rates, has also significantly impacted this field. For instance, loanDepot, a major mortgage broker, recently laid off 4,800 employees—nearly 42% of its workforce. These mortgage professionals could be an excellent fit for dental front office positions. With many of them struggling to find new opportunities in the mortgage sector, they may be open to exploring a career change. Let’s welcome them into the world of dentistry!

Another potential source of talent for dental positions is the restaurant and hospitality industry. Restaurant workers often endure demanding and irregular schedules, sometimes working late nights at bars or dining establishments. These individuals possess strong customer-facing skills and could transition smoothly into a dental office environment. By tapping into this talent pool, we can continue to build a diverse and adaptable workforce in the dental industry.

A third ever-expanding pool of potential employees to consider is the retail sector. The retail industry has been experiencing a decline, with many once-prominent chains going out of business. Toys R Us, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and numerous other major chains have collectively closed over 1,405 US stores in 2023 alone, continuing a multi-year trend of decline marked by thousands of store closures each year. Employees from these retail establishments have exceptional client experience and could be excellent additions to any dental front office. By reaching out to this group, we can help provide them with new opportunities, while simultaneously addressing the talent shortage in the dental industry.

In addition to exploring these other sectors, Archy can step in to facilitate these potential transitions for the candidate into the dental field. Archy’s software is designed to be user-friendly, allowing new hires without any dental experience to easily schedule patients, communicate with them via text, and collect payments. Of course, more complex tasks such as insurance claims and EOB processing will take some time to master. However, Archy has built-in guardrails – like bumpers in bowling – that prevent errors from occurring. For example, our system will display warnings and prevent submissions of insurance claims without required photos and attachments. It will also alert users when scheduling appointments for patients who have exceeded their limitation frequencies for the year or are ineligible for specific treatments due to age restrictions.

We believe that this is the future of hiring in dental. Given the shortage of available staff, we must explore new avenues for talent acquisition. With Archy’s technological headway, it’s now easier than ever to onboard individuals from diverse backgrounds as long as they possess the right attitude, willingness to learn, and excellent customer service skills.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Archy can help solve your hiring challenges by enabling you to recruit staff, please feel free to reach out to us at Together, let’s embrace this new approach and revitalize the dental industry.

Jonathan Rat

Jonathan Rat

Leading product for major tech titans like Uber and Facebook, Jon has launched and scaled complex platforms that serve billions of people. For years Jon simultaneously moonlit in his wife's dental practice as a dental assistant, office manager, IT manager and more. Combining his tech talent with his dental experience, Jon is hellbent on introducing dental software to the 21st century.