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The Dental Associate Interview

Something that all dentists want is a great practice that they can call home. For some, that means purchasing an office. For others, that means finding a great associate opportunity. If you are someone looking for an associate position, how do you determine whether an office is a good fit, and somewhere you want to work? Furthermore, if it is indeed a place you are interested in, how do you make sure you are the one to land the job?

In my position with DecisionOne Dental Partners, I am constantly interviewing and hiring dentists, as well as training and on-boarding them. Below are some of my tips for a really great interview.

1. Research the Office or Organization

People want to hire associates that are eager and excited to work for them. Before the interview, review the website. Drive by the office and evaluate the location. Call the office as a patient and see how their customer service is. When in the interview, if you are able to talk about specifics of that organization or office, it proves you are serious about the position and you took the time to research them. This always makes a great first impression.

2. Culture Fit

Remember that the interview process is a two-way street, and you should be interviewing them as well to make sure you will be happy in the position. Is the culture of the office something that you fit into? Meet with team members or other doctors in the office to ensure that you will work well with everyone and that everyone shares a similar treatment philosophy.

3. Long Term Goals

When associateships do not work out, often times it is simply because expectations of the future were not discussed early on. Before signing a contract, make sure you and your employer are both on the same page about the future. If you are someone that wants to be an owner, is this a possibility? If there is a veteran doctor in the office that you will eventually take over for, how long do they plan on staying? What are your financial goals in 1,3, and 5 years, and will this office be able to support that?

4. Contract Questions

Before interviewing, make sure that you understand some basics of associate contracts. Without this knowledge, you will have nothing to base the contract on and will not be able to ask any questions during the interview. Some key things to be aware of are:

-How are you paid as an associate (salary, percentage of collections, percentage of production)

-How is the lab bill handled

-Is there a non-compete if you were to leave

-What type of benefits are there

I would always recommend to have a lawyer or someone who is well versed in contracts to review it prior to signing, in order to protect you from getting into a bad contract.

5. Follow-Up

After the interview process, make sure there is some sort of follow-up. If you have never spent time in the office when patients are there, schedule a chance to come to the office to shadow. Send an e-mail or a hand-written card to show that you are thankful for the interview opportunity and are serious about the position.

By following these simple recommendations, not only will you ensure that you find an associateship that suits you, you will also be prepared to really impress during the interview. Best of Luck!

This article was originally published as part of the Insight from the Experts series on Linkedin at

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