The Best Job Candidates are Interviewing You Too

James V. Anderson, DMD, Founder and CEO
James V. Anderson, DMD, Founder and CEO
eAssist Dental Solutions

Those of you who have been through the stress of recruiting and hiring can understand that finding someone with experience to manage your practice the way you envision is very difficult to somewhat impossible. Often, we settle for the best we can find and cross our fingers it all will work out.

If you change your mindset that hiring is based solely on experience in your software, patient communication and basic administrative skills such as answering the phone, you will see that the “good people” are looking for more than just a set of job skills as the determination for the right position. Good people know they have the skills and what they want is the best culture to work in. What many dentists are also looking for is whether the applicant is a “good fit” for them on a philosophical level, but they seldom hire for these reasons.

Unfortunately, many dentists hire with a physical bias. Appearance and attractiveness often lead the way to more job offers. Attractive people for a dental office that performs cosmetic services makes common sense – but not often good business sense.

“Research shows that not only are good-looking applicants more likely to be hired, but they are likely to be hired at a higher starting salary. Attractiveness makes a difference with promotions, too. People ascribe more positive characteristics to attractive people.”
(Eichinger, Lombardo, & Ulrich, 2004, p. 124).

“Using appearance as a screening mechanism is a form of hiring bias,” explained Patrick McKay, Professor of Human Resource Management at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “Selection decisions should be based upon job-relevant knowledge, abilities and other characteristics - such as temperament - but not on appearance.”
(From the Society of Human Resources Management or SHRM.)

Before hiring anyone, you should take some time to profile the person you are looking for. What skills and education do you require for the position and what temperament/personality traits are best suited? If attractiveness is first on your subconscious list, you will eliminate many qualified people from being considered.

For me, it was a process of acknowledging that I wanted to hire a person who likes to read and learn new things, shows interest in living positively with goals for personal growth, and most importantly someone who wasn’t afraid to speak to me about concerns for the practice. At some point, you will have to “let go” with this person(s) and trust them to clean up their own messes, rather than micromanage them daily. Allowing the job applicant to interview you too opens a line of communication that will reveal whether this person will be a good fit for your practice.

Within eAssist, because of the large number of applicants applying online, we have ascribed to a highly structured screening process that evaluates candidates before visual interviews and helps eliminate the subconscious bias in hiring. The applicant enters the online portal and provides personal and contact information, uploads their resume and continues through a series of vetting modules to measure their experience relevant to becoming an Insurance Billing Expert to serve our clients. 

The vetting modules also define eAssist’s culture of caring, and important cultural pieces such as taking A Message to Garcia” and Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Anyone applying for a position at eAssist will know how important it is that we hire by culture and experience.

Passing the vetting modules is followed by a reference check and finally a personal Skype interview with our HR department. Sometimes the applicant gets to the Skype interview and fails to pass the personal interview. A background check is performed on all passing applicants prior to assignment to a client office.

“Don’t applicants lose their patience and give up?” I was once asked by a colleague. I quickly responded, “No, they feel like they have accomplished something valuable and have had an opportunity to learn as much about eAssist as we have about them.”

Defining your culture and your practice vision and mission prior to hiring will help you attract the best people – people who are interviewing you while you are interviewing them.

If you would like additional help, email Dr. Anderson at