Dental Articles

Building a Dental Dream Team: 5 Things to Look for in a New Hire


Teamwork is at the core of any efficient and successful dental practice or any business for that matter. Once the Team works as one cohesive unit, you’re one step closer to a practice that thrives. Assembling a dental dream team isn’t simple, but there are steps you can take to make it easier. Here are four-character traits and one accomplishment that your perspective employee should have and how to spot them during an interview.

1. Strong Work Ethic

It’s no secret that employees who possess strong work ethic have adopted certain principles that positively impacts their behavior at work. And of course, excellent performance at work equals better revenue and higher profits for the practice.

Someone with strong work ethic is:

  • reliable and can always be called upon to go the extra mile
  • cooperative and flexible whether interacting with their co-workers, Dr, OM, or patients
  • a self-starter who doesn’t need to be told when a task needs completion: disciplined
  • dedicated to the task and consistently brings quality to it
  • productive multi-tasker that can be counted on to get the job done

You can ask a perspective employee about a situation in one of their past jobs and how they resolved it. You can also develop your own scenario and ask for the interviewee to resolve the problem for you. Their answers should help you predict how they will act in future situations.

2. Professionalism

Professionalism is the outward display of behavior of an employee. Professional employees  monitor all aspects of their behavior, especially how they talk. They embody principles that separate their personal life from their professional life, remain cool under pressure and consistently display a positive attitude.

Other characteristics of professionalism include:

  • A consistent ability to remain focused on the task
  • Remaining poised, irrespective of any negative activity
  • Excellent communication skills with the Team and patients
  • Extending common courtesy to everyone
  • An ability to own accountability when any task fails to materialize as desired

One way you can spot someone with this trait is to observe how the candidate interacts with others in your office. The candidate should also be able to discuss their relevant experience and knowledge thoroughly and in a meaningful way.

3. Attitude

It goes without saying that the power of positive thinking is an asset in any area of life. An employee who consistently displays a positive attitude can almost always cope better in stressful situations. They’re easier to get along with and can help increase morale and motivation in the workplace. No one wants to work with a “Debbie Downer.”

A candidate with a positive attitude demonstrates:

  • A development of soft skills and the ability to empathize with people
  • A real interest and attentiveness in what you are saying
  • A friendly and helpful attitude
  • Communication that includes smiling and eye contact

Asking questions like, “What was your former manager like and what might he or she say about you?” can shed light on your candidate’s disposition. Someone who reacts negatively and talks badly about their former employer or job may indicate a red flag.

4. Qualifications

The dentistry is a highly technical profession where skills, experience, and knowledge play a major part in the success of the employee and the practice.  The profession is constantly evolving and looking for someone whose ambition is constantly pushing them higher is an absolute asset to any practice.  No one wants to hire someone who is complacent and has no desire to come up higher in their profession.

A well-qualified individual is:

  • Career-oriented
  • Eager to learn and/or has practical experience
  • Willing to refine and enhance skills and knowledge through continued education

The “working interview” can put your practice at risk and in many states the practice is considered illegal. There are skills tests that can help you evaluate the skill level of the perspective employee, or you can consider having the interviewee shadow a team member. Chose a team member who can effectively communicate to you their feel for the skill level of the individual.

5. Passion

Dr. Travis Bradberry, President of TalentSmart wrote in an article on July 9th, 2016:

[Dr. Robert Vallerand at the University of Quebec has studied passion more than anyone, and he asserts that passion is self-defining.  According to Vallerand,  “Passion is a strong inclination towards a self-defining activity that people love, that they consider important, and in which they devote significant amounts of time and energy.”]

It stands to reason then that passionate employees who care deeply about their profession will be happier and more productive at work. It’s a win-win for the practice,  patients and the entire Team!

Candidates who demonstrate passion are:

  • Enthusiastic about their work; it’s all about their work
  • Highly motivated to do a great job
  • Optimistic and always chasing their next goal


Check your candidate’s answers for any creativity which might indicate passion. Someone who’s enthusiastic about the work he or she does will also most likely be interested in honing skills and building on knowledge. They may mention a desire to take a step at higher education such as an assistant who aspires to become a hygienist or someone who’s considering dental school.  You should also look for indications of personal and professional development on the resume.

Post your ads online and start building the Dream Team you’ve always wanted!



“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot;

 together we can do great things.”

-Mother Theresa

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