3 Tips for Hiring Your Next Healthcare Assistant

Female Physician small 2

Hire only the best. Newly-experienced hiring managers often believe perfection is the standard. They assume that they should only hire the student who was best in his or her class, or the dental assistant who has the most experience. In the healthcare and dental industry, where precision and accuracy are of the utmost importance, it’s difficult to not seek out the best. While this noble pursuit should be highly regarded, it should not be at the forefront of your hiring expectations.

Generally, looking for perfection is usually followed up with the best intentions, but the truth of the matter is you will never find the perfect candidate.


The hiring and interviewing process is hard enough on its own. However, this isn’t to say that healthcare and dental practices should settle when hiring a nursing or dental assistant. Instead, take a deep breath, make your expectations more realistic and look forward with a positive mindset.

Simply changing your outlook will allow the best outcome to occur, both for the individuals you hire and for your practice. Finding the right candidates with the right qualities while entertaining a positive perspective should outweigh any perfection you thought you needed.

Don’t Overlook the Basic Qualities

Because healthcare and dental practices have such a unique and dynamic culture, it’s difficult to hire a cookie-cutter candidate with cookie-cutter qualities. Granted, there is a measure of importance in regards to quality of work, precision and experience, but these skills should be regarded as the standard and not as defining qualities in a candidate.

When interviewing potential nurses or dental assistants, put the industry-standard skills on the back burner. Continue to seek out assistants with plenty of experience, but first and foremost, ask yourself these questions:

Is this candidate a good person?
How are this candidate’s bedside manners?
Will this candidate break under pressure?
Do I like this candidate as a person and as a potential employee?
Will this candidate be beneficial to your practice’s atmosphere?
Is this candidate confident in his or her skills?
How well will this candidate self-manage?

Many of these questions and the answers that follow will determine the dedication, loyalty and hard work that your practice needs. Libby Kane from Business Insider recently interviewed founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments Sam Zell. When asked what he looks for in potential employees, Zell responded, “What best predicts your success in my world is drive, energy, attitude, judgment, conviction, and passion. And an ability to cut to the center of an issue. I’d trade another twenty IQ points for those qualities any day.”

You will, of course, ask yourself the questions and seek out the candidates that best match the atmosphere you’ve already established. When hiring, however, keep in mind that there is much more to the candidate than how they look on paper.

Don’t Overlook the Industry-Related Qualities, Either

So, you’ve put the industry qualities on the back burner. But don’t forget them entirely. Depending on the position you’re hiring for, it’s important that your candidates know how to properly dispose of sharps, what the protocol is for handling bodily fluids and how to spot a potential cavity, among many other industry qualifications.

The trick to hiring (and to life, to be honest) is to find a balance. Newly-appointed hiring managers often sway to the extreme in one direction or the other, and therefore often fail to hire a candidate that displays all the required qualifications.

How? How do hiring specialists find this balance? If your company is using Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn or another career finding tool, use these platforms to first analyze your candidates and look over their previous experience. This is where the industry-related qualities matter.

Then, use the interview as a stage for your candidates to showcase their personality, drive, confidence and any other qualities you believe are valuable to your practice. Work from the skills they’ve flaunted on their resume, and try to gauge their disposition and answers as they respond. It may take a few interviews to get the process down, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is when it plays out.

Learn to Spot Charisma and Confidence

What does confidence look like? On an individual basis, confidence can be recognized in many different forms. There are, however, certain types of confidence that society values over others. Confident employees and assistants that patients enjoy being around often display a certain charisma that allows them to be more quickly recognized. This charisma is exceptionally important, as some individuals who come off as confident may struggle with narcissism or a smug disposition, which sometimes causes assistants to be difficult to work with and relate to. This charm will unveil itself in friendly smiles, eye contact and a sense of surety when challenged. And as you grow to learn more about each of your employees, you’ll often see these confident individuals displaying a measure of relatability and better connections among employees and patients.

This relatability, confidence and charm will display itself early on. You will usually be able to see if the candidate has this charismatic confidence you’re looking for from the interview. However, you must be careful, as sometimes this confidence and charm hides other flaws among candidates, such as a short temper or a tendency to procrastinate.

To effectively avoid this, be sure to consider their previous work experience and confide in their provided references, as previous employers will be able to inform you of any red flags.

If hired, these individuals tend to make incredible leaders, take initiative, improve your practice and provide patients with a memorable and positive visit.

As you go through the hiring practice, keep in mind that what your practice’s leadership puts into its employees is what the practice will get out of them. If you lead with an iron fist and a cold demeanor, you may not be getting the most out of your employees. Look to empower and inspire your employees by hiring well, keeping communications open and constantly seeking improvements.

new 2010 Legally Mine Logo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: