Four “P”s of Evaluating Every Dental Hygiene Job

You and I have both heard lots of horror stories about how an employer mistreated an employee – maybe you are like me and have even experienced a little of it yourself.

While you can’t predict with 100% accuracy when you are going to accept a job that is horrible, often times there are warning signs – little red flags waving around that things don’t seem quite right.

So here’s the four “P”s of evaluating each job you consider – from job announcement to job offer. I would suggest these are also good criteria for evaluating a job you have been at for a long time.

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4 Ps of Evaluating Every Dental Hygiene JobPeople
The Goal: Join a team of like-minded professionals, who compliment one another.

What to Watch for: Try to determine if the office has a high employee turnover rate. You can often casually ask staff you come in contact with how long they’ve worked there – it’s a common small-talk type question as long as it’s not the first thing you bring up.

The people you work with are really important to your overall job satisfaction. If it doesn’t feel like you would click with the personalities you meet during the interview process, consider your decision carefully. Every office has some drama and different personalities, but if the “crazies” are running the office it may not be the best fit for you.

The Goal: Join an office that focuses more on patients than revenue.

What to Watch for: Sometimes the salary structure can tip you off, if it’s heavily-laden with bonuses, quotas, goals and benchmarks and if that seems to dominate the doctor or office manager’s discussion with you – more so than building relations and caring for patients – this might be a sign of an office that lacks a solid purpose.

Some people are comfortable with that kind of atmosphere. But I am a big believer that profits will take care of themselves the better you serve patients. If your office just absolutely bends over backwards to ensure every patient gets a personal touch attention (even the fussy-difficult ones), they will sense it and help you grow the practice just by word of mouth.

And a word about “fussy” people – I have also found that I have grown and benefited more from working with them than any other personality type. Why? Because they challenge me and when I am challenged I get the opportunity to learn new things and become a better professional – I get the chance to rise to the occasion to meet the challenge.

The Goal: Join an office that invests in technology and advanced learning.

What to Watch for: Ask them in your interview what kinds of equipment they have purchased recently and how they like it. You could even ask what their plans are for future investments. And, also, ask about any on-going training they offer as a staff. Take note of how up-to-date the waiting room is and other aesthetics.

This, too, is important because an office that is not investing in new equipment, office cosmetics, or training can mean they are struggling to cover the costs they do have. Maybe they would like to do those things, but their patient load or collections rates are going south. This can, of course, create many potential problems for you as that lack of in-coming business may lead to you getting laid-off or a reduction in hours.

The flip side, of course, would be an office that is over-spending on new equipment without being able to justify it with the current patient load. That’s a little bit harder to see, certainly a red flag if you sense it.

To stay viable, dental practices have to make continued capital improvements to equipment and invest in training. The competition is too stiff not to so it’s important to watch for any kind of history of steady investments in these areas.

The Goal: Join an office that has a strong upside.

What to Watch for: Talk to the interviewer about how long they have been in business and at that particular location. It wouldn’t be appropriate to ask about their production numbers (unless the job is commission-based), but you want to try and determine if there is an air of optimism about the direction the business is going in.

You want to know that the business is not going backward but also not just staying the same year after year (staying the same is not much better than going down). This can manifest itself in many ways, but listen carefully about how the doctor or office manager talks about the future of the business – do they seem to not care or are a little pessimistic? Probably some red flags.