Dating and Hiring a Dentist – They are Just Not That into You

Hiring an associate dentist is a lot like dating. A job seeker will do their best to impress while digging for information. A practice owner will tidy up and try to show the best face of the practice while probing for future issues. Both sides want to know if the other is interested but do not want to seem too anxious. Sound familiar?

As the process moves along, often the associate candidate will continue to push for the job even after the point there they realize that they would rather “keep dating other people.” It is important for the hiring practice to stay on the look out for warnings and clues before making an offer or, worse yet, hiring a dentist who really does not intend to stay with the office over the long term.


 Here is a list of red flags to look out for as well as advice on how to deal with each:


Commitment to the Process


When a candidate’s commitment to work with you is in question, you may wish to ask, ‘I am sensing that you are not 100% committed to making a career change at this time, and that is 100% acceptable.  Am I reading this correctly?’

–Candidate doesn’t do research on the practice

  • Ask how committed the candidate is to making a job change.

–Candidate coughs, clears throat, acts nervous.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the candidate to explain his/her nervousness.

–Candidate does not reply promptly to calls or emails

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the candidate how important the opportunity is to him/her, how serious or interested he/she is in the position.

–Candidate resigns from current job before accepting an offer.

  • Ask them directly for their reason for resigning ‘early.’

–Candidate does not respond to your requests.  Returns calls at odd hours or doesn’t return calls at all.

  • State “this is my last phone call to you” to force a response.

–Candidate nit-picks parts of an offer, deflecting your attention.

  • Ask how committed the candidate is to making a job change.


 Willingness/Availability to Relocate


When you have questions about a candidate’s willingness or ability to relocate, consider asking them if they will speak with realtor or relocation coach.


–Candidate agrees to relocate his/her family when significant other has a good job and children are in school.


  • Talk with significant other, recruit him/her and confirm that relocation is acceptable.

–Candidate has shared custody of children.

  • Ask how this will affect a candidate’s decision to move forward on an offer.

–Candidate has high school age children.

  • Ask if the candidate has discussed the potential of a move with the entire family.

–Candidate has recently purchased a house.

  • Ask candidates how long they have owned their homes or how much equity they have in their homes.  Ask candidate if they have checked with their accountant regarding their state’s capital gains tax laws.  (Some states require you to own a home for a specified number of years.)


When you suspect that a candidate has lied, exaggerated or generalized their qualifications or experience, you need to ask specific questions and obtain written documentation that verifies his/her claims.

–Candidate says he/she cannot share production figures because those numbers are confidential.

  • Reference check to assess candidate’s accomplishments. 

–Candidate provides unusually larger production figures

  • Verify their payment structure and ask them what their W2 income was last year. Simple math will verify if the production number was more or less accurate. Ask for a copy of the W2 if you feel it is necessary

–Candidate’s resume states an accomplishment as ‘number 5 producer in the region.’

  • Ask for specifics.  There might only be 6 in the region.


Unrealistic Expectations


It’s relatively easy to recognize when candidates have unrealistically high expectations about their next career moves.  What’s not as obvious are candidates who apparently lower their expectations for their future roles.  


–Candidate is unwilling to lower his/her expectations about compensation or is inconsistent about their desired salary.
  • Ask the candidate why he/she deserves a certain level of compensation and explain what level is realistic. 

–Candidate insists that his/her travel expenses for interviewing be paid up front by the company

  • Question the candidate’s commitment to making a change.


Candidates may provide incomplete or inappropriate references, or resist providing any references.


–Candidate can’t provide references; says they won’t compromise their current situation.


  • Explain the importance of good references.  Make an offer contingent upon satisfactory reference checks. 

–References are all peers, subordinates, patients, suppliers.

  • Be proactive by outlining what kinds of references are acceptable.


Material provided by Management Recruiters International. Contributed by Morgan Pace, Senior Dentist Recruiter for ETS Dental, | | 540-591-9102


Hiring Master Tip: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late Hiring

Hiring Master Tip: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Nov 3, 2021

As the largest and most successful dental recruiting firm in the country, we know a thing or two when it comes to growing your practice. In short, we've observed that practice...

Where Are All the Dentists? Hiring

Where Are All the Dentists?

Oct 27, 2021

 The market for dental talent has always been competitive. Several factors have combined to make what was already a tight market even more challenging. These include: Grad...

The One That Got Away Hiring

The One That Got Away

Jun 23, 2021

You thought your staffing issue was solved. You felt you had the right fit, you were confident the job offer was solid, you made the offer, and yet, somehow, they took another...

Are You Ready for What’s Next? Hiring

Are You Ready for What’s Next?

Mar 24, 2021

Everyone is trying to understand what’s coming next in a post-COVID-19 world. While we have no special foresight into the future of the pandemic, we can tell you what we hav...

The Right Questions to Ask When You Meet a Candidate Hiring

The Right Questions to Ask When You Meet a Candidate

Jun 16, 2020

There is a common perception that interviews are about putting the best face forward for both the practice and the potential employee. While it is natural to want to make a go...

Planning Ahead – Hiring for the Future of Your Practice Hiring

Planning Ahead – Hiring for the Future of Your Practice

Apr 22, 2020

With some states in the beginning stages of lifting isolation restrictions and making small, careful steps toward a new normal after the COVID-19 crisis, many of the practice ...

Interview Logistics 101: Putting a Candidate at Ease Hiring

Interview Logistics 101: Putting a Candidate at Ease

Jan 21, 2020

You think you’ve found a candidate who might just be the perfect fit and you’re looking forward to a great interview. However, your candidate could have a flight delay on ...

Ten Great Quotes to Inspire You to Find Your Next Superstar Associate Hiring

Ten Great Quotes to Inspire You to Find Your Next Superstar Associate

Jan 13, 2020

“Hire people who are smarter than you are—whose talents surpass yours—and give them opportunities for growth. It's the smart thing to do and it is a sign of high persona...

New Year. New Hire? Hiring

New Year. New Hire?

Jan 2, 2020

The big ball has dropped. The champagne has popped. The calendar page has turned.  A lot of the planning for 2020 has probably already taken place. Now it’s time to start ...

Playing to Win – How to Seal the Deal with a Potential New Hire Hiring

Playing to Win – How to Seal the Deal with a Potential New Hire

Nov 26, 2019

The rest of the corporate America is dealing with what dental practices have known for years: it's tough to attract and retain top talent. Even when you find a promising candi...