How the dental industry has adapted its hiring practices in response to the COVID-19

The dental industry, like many other sectors, has had to adapt its hiring practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These adaptations have been driven by various factors, including the need to ensure the safety of both patients and staff, as well as the economic challenges that the pandemic presented. Here are some insights into how the dental industry has adapted its hiring practices and how these changes may continue to shape recruitment:

1.  Telehealth and virtual interviews: To minimize in-person interactions, many dental practices started conducting initial job interviews virtually. This practice has the potential to continue even as the pandemic subsides, as it offers convenience and efficiency, especially for preliminary screenings. Virtual interviews allow dental practices to cast a wider net for talent, reaching candidates who might not have been able to attend in-person interviews.

2.  Enhanced safety protocols: Dental offices have had to implement rigorous safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. New hires are typically trained on these protocols as part of their onboarding process. Candidates are now expected to demonstrate an understanding of infection control, personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and other safety measures during the interview process. This emphasis on safety is likely to continue shaping hiring practices, as infection control remains a top priority in the dental field.

3.  Remote work opportunities: In response to the pandemic, some dental administrative and non-clinical roles transitioned to remote work. This shift allowed dental practices to adapt to lockdowns and social distancing measures. As a result, dental practices may continue to offer remote work options for certain roles, which can broaden the talent pool to include candidates from outside their immediate geographic area.

4.  Increased use of technology: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology in the dental industry, from electronic health records to teledentistry. As a result, dental practices may seek candidates with a higher level of technological proficiency, and this requirement may persist in hiring practices. Applicants with skills in digital tools, telehealth platforms, and software management may have a competitive edge.

5.  Emphasis on flexibility and adaptability: The COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty to the healthcare field, including dentistry. Dental practices are likely to value candidates who demonstrate adaptability and flexibility in the face of unforeseen challenges. Being open to taking on different roles or responsibilities during a crisis can be a valuable trait.

6.  Staffing considerations: Many dental practices faced financial challenges during the pandemic due to reduced patient volumes. Some practices had to furlough or lay off staff. As the industry continues to recover, hiring decisions may be influenced by financial considerations. Practices may prioritize hiring for critical roles while maintaining leaner staffing models, or they may explore temporary and contract employment arrangements to maintain flexibility.

7.  Emphasis on soft skills: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of communication and empathy in healthcare. Dental practices may place a stronger emphasis on candidates with excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as these qualities are crucial for building trust with patients and ensuring their comfort during treatment.

In summary, the dental industry has adapted its hiring practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by incorporating remote interviews, safety training, and a greater emphasis on technology and adaptability. Many of these changes may continue to shape recruitment in the industry, even as the pandemic subsides, as they reflect broader trends in the workforce and the integration of technology in healthcare.

Are you struggling to find the right people to hire for your clinic? I’d love to talk with you and explain how my team has earned a 93% success rate in presenting quality candidates to our clients within the first 90 days of the recruitment process.