Recruiting and retaining the best dental hygienists

August 9, 2019

Finding high-quality hygienists for your dental practice is almost always easier said than done. There are so many aspects you need to consider and finding someone who checks all the boxes can sometimes seem like an impossible task. But you need to try.

It’s not worth being lazy with a hire or hiring someone you’re not sure is qualified. There’s a good chance that behavior will ultimately have a negative impact on your practice. Here are some tips for what to look for during your recruiting process to ensure you can hire and retain hygienists that will have a long-term positive impact on your practice.

Know what you’re looking for

The first step in your recruiting process should be to identify the most critical needs for the hygienists within your practice. Some practices prioritize certain specialties and skills over others. Narrowing down the must-haves from the strengths you can live without will make the process easier from the outset.

Maybe you need a hygienist experienced in x-rays and endodontics. Maybe experience working with children is more of a priority. Figure this out so you know what skills you can live without – and which ones you can’t.

It’s not all about technical skills

Hygienists are integral to the patient experience, given that they spend more time with your patients than any other member of your practice. This is why hygienists need to not only be able to provide quality care from a technical standpoint – they also need to be able to comfortably and effectively communicate and engage with patients, that’s why dental hygienist training is must.

That said, you need to be considering communication skills during your interview process. Ask yourself:

  • How does the candidate communicate with you – both in-person and otherwise?
  • How much experience do they have working with patients?
  • Do they have any references who can vouch for their abilities?

Don’t just focus on a hygienist’s technical proficiency. If they’re not a good communicator, they’re going to end up costing your practice money.

Retaining talent

Once the right candidate is hired, it’s important the right steps are taken to ensure they stick with your practice for the long haul. This should also be taken into consideration during the interview process. If a candidate has moved jobs frequently in recent years and doesn’t voice a desire to be with you long-term, they might not be the right fit.

Once they’re on the team, it’s up to you and your team to make them feel welcome and valued. Listen to their career goals and work preferences and cooperate with them, ensuring they have everything they need to provide the best service they can.

Retaining hygienists isn’t all that different from retaining talent in other fields. As professionals, we all want many of the same things:

  • Adequate compensation
  • To feel valued
  • Growth opportunities
  • Flexibility
  • An inviting culture
  • And so on

No candidate is perfect

It’s also key to understand that there’s really no such thing as an entirely perfect hygienist – but there is such a thing as the best candidate for your practice. This is why narrowing down the needs of your search at the beginning is important. You need to be able to hone in on the abilities most crucial to your practice or else the search may never end – or worse: it will end with a bad hire.

Recruit and retain your ideal hygienists with White & Associates

As your personal dental coaches, White & Associates is here to help you with the business side of your practice so you can focus on your patients. We have the business expertise, industry experience, and personal skills to increase profitability, reduce stress, motivate staff, and more. Contact us today to start making the most of your dental practice.