Aug 4, 2011

Landing Your Top Associate Candidate (Part 2)

This is part 2 of our 3 part series.
Click Here for Part 1

Click Here for Part 3.

Example 6: (Answers to basic questions)
Unprepared – The Practice Owner did not prepare to answer important questions that would be asked by the Dentist Candidate such as: Compensation, Hours, Potential for Buy-in, How new patients would be assigned, Schedules, Would more staff be hired, What materials are used, Plans to upgrade equipment… The Associate candidate chose another opportunity because “the practice seemed to have its act together”.

Prepared – The Practice owner took an hour to brain storm all of the questions he would ask if he were a candidate. He spoke with a recruiter to find out what questions she hears frequently. The Associate candidate chose this practice because the owner “really seemed to be on the ball”.

Example 7: (Below Market Compensation)
Unprepared – The Practice Owner did not research current Associate compensation plans. During an interview with a promising Associate candidate the owner “threw out a figure” that was 30% to 50% less than the candidate could make somewhere else. The call ended shortly thereafter and the Practice Owner was frustrated the candidate didn’t return his calls.

Prepared. – The Practice Owner researched current Associate compensation by reading Dental Economics and speaking with an ETS Recruiter. He quickly realized that although he is busy, he was not at the point he could afford a new Associate. For the next six months he worked on improving his recall system, which increased revenue allowing him to start looking.

Example 8: (Involving the Staff)
Unprepared – The Practice Owner did not prepare his staff that an Associate candidate was coming to interview. The Associate candidate showed up for the interview but sensed the staff was shocked and surprised that the Practice Owner was looking. The Associate Candidate chose another position due to the uncomfortable office environment.

Prepared – The Practice Owner discussed his plans to seek a new Associate Dentist long before he started interviewing. He asked for the staff’s input as to what he should look for in a new Associate and got them excited about what this could mean for them.

Example 9: (Budgeting)
Unprepared – The Practice Owner did not prepare a budget to see if he could afford a new Associate. The Owner interviewed an Associate candidate. Both parties were very interested. Then the owner realized he needed to add staff, add equipment, add operatories, add patients and transfer some of his patients to the new Associate. After two or three months of putting off the Associate candidate, the candidate found another opportunity.

Prepared – The Practice Owner worked with his CPA to see what he had to do to afford a new Associate. He realized he had to add two operatories and increase his new patient numbers before he could take the leap. It took two years but he found a great Associate who was impressed by the updated office and new marketing plan which added 30 new patients a month.

Example 10: (Space Constraints)
Unprepared: The Practice Owner did not think about space constraints. Although the practice had healthy cash-flow it only had one additional operatory. The practice continued to operate 8-5 Monday through Friday. Over the course of the two years, the practice added then lost three Associates. All left because they couldn’t produce as much as they could elsewhere using just one operatory. The practice lost time and money because of the turnover.

Prepared: The Practice Owner turned the space constraint into a selling feature. He prepared his staff to move to a six day, 11 hour daily schedule. The selling point for the new associate was that he could work from two full operatories and get four days off a week.

Example 11: (Sell the Community)
Unprepared: The Practice Owner was not prepared to sell the community. He owned a highly successful, long-established practice in a community with a struggling local economy. The school system was rated poorly. The owner interviewed multiple Associate candidates who seemed very interested in the practice, yet they all turned him down at the last minute.

Prepared: The Practice Owner spent time with each Associate candidate to give them a complete overview of the practice and the long-term opportunity. He also took them around to community to show them the nicer neighborhoods. He also talked with them about the variety of private schools in the community that had outstanding ratings.

Written by Mark Kennedy, Owner/Managing Director of Executive Talent Search (ETS Dental, ETS Vision, ETS Tech-Ops). To find out more, call ETS Dental at (540) 563-1688 or visit us online at


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