How to Make More Money with Your Next Associate Hire

Making a poor choice when choosing an associate for your office can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Alternatively, hiring the right associate will have a tremendously positive impact on your bottom line. So, by hiring the right associate, you’ll make more money…here’s how to do it.

  • Find an associate who will
    • Treat patients the way that you would
    • Be an asset to the practice
    • Fits your practice culture and gets along with your entire team
  • A bonus would be an associate who would one day seamlessly take over your practice when you are ready for that step.


To reduce the stress on yourself, your patients and your team I would suggest the following steps when interviewing someone for the associate position:

  1. Decide in advance if you want someone in the office short term or long term for your practice. Be clear in your own goals on this point so that you can clearly communicate it to the applicants. Decide the hours available, type of patients that will be available and services that you want performed so that you start off the relationship in a clear and honest manner.
  2. If you are interviewing multiple applicants use the same set of questions for all of them so that you are able to compare their answers on an equal level. Some of these questions could be:
    • What experience do you have with molar endo, crown and bridge (or substitute any procedure that you prefer not to complete yourself) and do you enjoy these procedures?
    • What are your strengths as a dentist? What are the areas that you could improve your skills?
    • Do you enjoy working with children?
    • Are you used to doing hygiene recall exams during the time that patients are in your chair?
    • What is your ideal work environment?
    • Do you have any CE plans?
    • What are your long-range plans?
  3. As the interviewer when you are asking the above questions you can gauge their confidence with patients by the level of confidence that they will show when providing you with the answers.
  4. References should be checked thoroughly; you shouldn’t go with your gut opinion on whether or not you like them. In the case where they can’t provide a reference because they are leaving an existing office then ask for them to take copies or photos of completed radiographs of treatment they have recently completed so that you can feel confident with the quality of work that they will be delivering in your office.
  5. If every question they have is about their compensation or how busy they will be then you may want to look at this as a warning sign that their interest may be more about the money than the patients. This is where you can use your gut and ask more direct questions of their expectations, when talking about compensation and their expectations’ you may find that their philosophy is different than yours.
  6. Once you are down to your final candidate(s)  you may want to bring in two other team members for some role play with you observing. To do this you would have one team member role play the assistant and one the patient. Use a recent new patient chart for the radiographs and have the applicant go through a new patient exam as well as describing treatment options, especially major restorative options. Also, this will give you two more opinions of how the applicant would integrate with the rest of your team.

Transitioning a new associate into your practice needs to be planned with verbiage for the team and verbiage for the patients. The associate also needs to be able to replicate the philosophy and verbiage existing in your practice to have a successful transition with all. If you want to make money with your new associate integration, I want to help you.

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