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May 2022--When you think of the key positions in a dental office, you may think of the dentist and the hygienist first. Let’s take some time to consider the role of the receptionist!

The receptionist can make or break your dental office. Think about it: who is the first person a potential patient talks to? Who is the last person your patients see as they walk out the door?

That being said, how do you hire an excellent dental front desk receptionist at your practice?

In this post, we outline some simple steps dentists, and office managers can take to hire an excellent dental receptionist. These steps can be applied to hiring for other dental positions, too.

Your dental receptionist is creating the first impression and often the last impression people have of your office, your team, and your professionalism.

That’s why hiring the best possible person for the job is vital - just like you would do when hiring a hygienist or dental marketing role for your office.

Table Of Contents

Clarify Your Needs

It can be easy to panic if your receptionist has just resigned and you need to fill the position quickly.

However, it is worth the time to clarify the receptionist’s job description and think about the skills and personality type required to successfully hire a replacement.

You don’t need an unskilled worker who can pick up the phone. You need a warm, friendly professional who can put people at ease and help them get the dental care and service they deserve.

Dental Receptionist Job Description: Craft a Creative Ad

Dental Receptionist Job Description Craft a Creative Ad

Write an ad that outlines the position's role and responsibilities – and the preferred personality type.

It’s essential to include specific instructions, such as attaching a cover letter and a resume, when applying.

That will help you weed out whether the applicant can follow simple instructions. It will also help you understand whether the applicant is computer-savvy.

Evaluate Resumes

Sheri Kay recommends sorting resumes into three piles or online folders.

  • The “definitely no” pile is for people who don’t have the right skills or temperament. Their resumes often include spelling errors and other problems.
  • The “definitely interested” pile is for the people who seem to have the proper criteria.
  • The “maybe” pile is for the rest.

Do they have excellent customer service skills? Will they be comfortable going through patient records and dental office procedures? Dental receptionists must be comfortable and able to perform administrative tasks.

Conduct a Phone Interview

Your receptionist will be on the phone all day, so she must have excellent phone skills. Is the candidate articulate? Does she come across as warm and friendly?

Ask the candidate about the ad that attracted her to it.

This will help you know if the candidate is interested in the position for the right reasons or if she was just applying for any job she saw.

Pay Attention During The In-Person Interview

Pay Attention During The In Person Interview

It’s essential to look the candidate in the eye and form an initial impression. After all, this is what your patients will be doing every day.

Is the candidate professional and composed? Is she engaged in the discussion?

Do you end the first interview feeling like this is somebody you would want to work alongside for the next 10 years?

Conduct a Second In-Person Interview

Hiring the right person is a process, not an event. It’s important to take the time to talk to the person a few times.

Ask open-ended questions such as, “What are some of the things that are important to you on a team?” and “Tell me what you think makes a good work environment.”

You may want to also ask some questions about patient interaction, such as how they would handle an upset patient.

Listen carefully to the answers to confirm the person will be an excellent fit for your team.

Have the candidate observe you and your team to understand your workflow and how the team members collaborate together, as well as picking up some dental terminology.

Involve Team Members

Sometimes candidates will say something to a peer that they won’t say to the hiring manager. Invite key team leaders to meet the candidate and listen for strengths and red flags.

Also, the team members can give their impressions of the candidate’s skills, friendliness, energy, and chemistry. The decision of who to hire will affect them just as much as it affects you.

Make a Good Offer

Make a Good OfferThe receptionist position is often seen as entry-level and isn’t paid very well. But a great receptionist will facilitate more callers to schedule appointments, which generates more revenue for your practice.

Suppose the receptionist is the reason that just four patients with significant cases choose your dental office each year. In that case, the position has more than paid for itself.

Overpay, so you attract good people and keep them. You want them to be able to live on what you pay them, so they’re not out looking for another job.

Your dental receptionist sets the stage for your patient's experience in your office. Take the time to hire a great receptionist; you, your team, and your patients will all benefit.
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