hire a hygienist

The role of a dental hygienist is vital in providing quality dental care; however, despite the value they add, dentists need help hiring new hygienists. In today’s competitive market, there is much more to hiring than just posting a job ad. You must put yourself out there to hire the best people, not just a paper version of who you are. Hygienists are highly sought after, giving them the upper hand in hiring. Therefore, your hiring strategies should be on point to reach top talent, including areas you may not think others are looking.

What to do to Hire a Hygienist?

American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) from September 2020 to August 2021 indicated that the pandemic resulted in a voluntary reduction of the US dental hygiene workforce by about 3.75% or roughly 7,500 dental hygienists.

Why is it still hard to hire a hygienist? Most reasons primarily steam from dissatisfaction and under-appreciation related to:

  • Insufficient childcare
  • Inadequate benefits
  • Feeling overworked
  • Safety concerns during and after the pandemic
  • Demanding job both physically and emotionally
  • Lack of Growth
The answer is not to use recruiters to find out the reason; check out: Why Recruiters Aren’t Finding You Any Candidates.

A recent poll conducted by the American Dental Association shows nearly 40% of dentists are trying to recruit hygienists. Of those, 95% say it’s been extremely or very difficult to hire someone. In the 20 largest U.S. cities, the ADA’s polling says only half of hygienist positions are reported as filled.

Motivate Your Team From Within

What can your office do to set you apart? Simply stating you are an excellent employer to work for means very little. For potential hires to believe this, they must see it. Multiple factors contribute to job happiness, like adequate compensation, work-life balance, paid leave, and professional growth opportunities. A happy staff is a powerful recruitment tool. Your team is and always will be your number one resource.

  • Ask your staff what they love about their job, and use this as a selling point for others
  • Use staff retention bonuses to show that their contribution to your team has not gone unnoticed
  • Referral packages allow incentives for your team to assist in the hiring process. After all, if they reach out to people they know and trust, they are more likely to work well with each other.

Job Ads: Less you, More them

Potential hires will definitely be searching job ads. What you put in ads will determine if potential hires will take the next step. As stated above, this must include better pay, work environment, and hours. Advertise what you do to set yourself apart. Don’t be afraid to say it; if you pay well above average, tell them. If you offer flexibility, tell them. Anything you can do to make the job more enticing, list it.

It may seem taboo, but everyone thinks it: often, it comes down to money and benefits. When the market is highly competitive and you are sought after, employers must meet your needs, including salary and benefits. Matching or bettering wages will keep talent coming to you. Signing bonuses and benefits also sweetens the deal.

Flexible hours are another key to hiring. While most dental offices have set hours, job sharing may be a way to attract more hygienists. Two hygienists can share the responsibilities of one full-time staff to allow for flexible hours.

Make sure you are clear about who you are, what you expect, and what you offer. Keep the potential hire engaged throughout the process. Finally, if you like someone, offer them the job as soon as possible to avoid them getting scooped up by the competition.

Reach Out to Schools

After the pandemic, a great deal of hygienists left because they were close to retirement. While there is great value to a seasoned employee, don’t dismiss someone for being new.  Generally speaking, most hygiene jobs require the same skills. However, employing someone new to the field means they are more malleable and open to how you like tasks completed.

Don’t be Afraid to Get Social to Hire a Hygienist

In this competitive market where it is increasingly hard to hire a hygienist, don’t be afraid to get social. Dental hygiene groups offer a unique way to connect with local markets and those looking to relocate to your area. Be certain to read all the requirements carefully, as some groups are only for support for hygienists and not for recruiting purposes.

It is also important to remember your own social media presence. If you used correctly, social media is an excellent resource for recruiting. Showcase what sets you apart from others by simply posting on your socials. What better way to advertise your great company than by showing real-life footage; think of social media as a free way to promote who you are as a business. Social media illustrates credibility and approachability to potential hires.

Learn more on how to Build a Leadership Brand that Works

In the end, hiring top talent comes down to what you offer as an office. Creating an office that meets the physical, emotional, and mental needs of a potential hire is vital to gaining top talent. Your office should look to hire a family that supports and works together. Solid core values will allow you to stand apart in today’s competitive market.

About the Author Brittney McDowell

I have worked in a variety of roles within marketing, recruitment, and communications over the last 15 years. Supporting organizations with their recruitment and branding strategy is truly my passion. There is nothing more rewarding than supporting those who prioritize and deeply value their teams and employer brand.

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