Archive for November, 2012

Business Employee vs. Assistant…Whom to Hire First?

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Holiday!  We know a few New Dentists out there are planning to open a new practice and are currently thinking about hiring staff to help run it.


So, who do you hire first?  You could say it’s a bit like the chicken or the egg analogy, which comes first, the business employee or the doctor’s assistant. For new dentists who are opening their first practices, few can afford to hire multiple employees, so they typically must choose between hiring an assistant and hiring a business employee initially.


There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring either at the outset, but dentists should look for an assistant with front desk experience. In addition, if the new practice has computers in the operatories many of the front desk duties can be handled chairside, such as scheduling appointments and collecting payments. And if the doctor has an assistant, s/ he can work out of two rooms and that helps to increase production.


If the dentist is hiring an employee to perform both jobs temporarily s/he should hire for the business skills. That person needs to be nurturing and friendly, but s/he also need an analytical and logical side because s/he will be handling insurance, asking patients for money, organizing the schedule. Additionally, think long term. A new dentist wants to look for someone that they would like to keep on staff for many years.



We invite you to share your thoughts with us here.  Have a hiring nightmare story or question? Let us know.


Need more help with Hiring The Right Employee?  Check out our Recruitment and Hiring section of our Bookstore at

What to Look for in an Office Manager

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

So, you’ve decided it’s time to hire an office manager. It will be essential that this person possess a set of skills that goes beyond being a loyal employee and working well with staff and patients.


S/he should be a natural leader and comfortable taking the reins on an issue and addressing it. Being a good problem solver by nature is essential because the office manager, not the doctor, should be the first point of contact for the patients and the staff when issues arise.


S/he needs to have the right personality traits for the position, both personable and efficient. Additionally, if this person is going to be best utilized by the practice s/he should be comfortable working with numbers and be able to access as well as fully understand practice reports. Moreover, the office manager must be able to work well under pressure; s/he will be pulled in multiple directions.


But that is just the beginning. You’ll need to determine your definition of “office manager.” A “true” office manager is responsible for overseeing practice overhead and her/his most critical duty is effectively managing the office’s human resources. This person is in charge of recruitment, hiring and firing all employees, performance reviews, schedules, grievances, raises, salary reviews, employee policies, team meetings, overseeing and managing the all of the business measurements, analyzing fees, and profit and loss reports just to name a few. The duties can be many, which is why the specifics of the job description should be customized to best fit the needs of the individual practice. Most importantly, this person should have access to professional training.

Need more help with Office Manager Training?  McKenzie Management offers great resources right here:


Sally McKenzie is the Publisher and Owner of The New Dentist Magazine. She can be reached at Toll Free 877-777-6151 or via email at