How to Hire a New Employee, Provider, or Associate Dentist

Amid a booming labor market, how does a small medical practice recruit a new employee? Dentists need a dental hiring plan to keep up with patient demand. Maven’s Founder and CEO, Jessica Nunn, spoke with Marti Law Group to bring both a financial and legal perspective to the hiring process. The two experts answered the following questions:

  • When is it time to hire another provider?
  • Where can you find potential candidates?
  • Do you hire an employee or independent contractor?
  • How do you compensate a new hire?
  • What is the onboarding process?

When Is It Time to Hire Another Provider?

There are two times to act with small business hiring: when a candidate shows up at your door, or when you begin booking patients weeks in advance.

  • If a qualified provider approaches your practice seeking an opportunity, you’re in luck. Think twice before telling them that you’re not hiring. Candidates are in high demand right now. So even if hiring was not yet on your radar, it could be time to welcome a new associate dentist.
  • If the front desk is booking appointments with patients weeks or months ahead of time, you’re in need. Patients don’t want to wait too long, and there’s an opportunity cost for those postponed appointments. Consider bringing in a new provider to meet patient demand and open the calendar for new customers.

Where Can You Find Potential Candidates With a Dental Hiring Plan?

So you’re ready to hire! Where will you find these candidates and how will you recruit them? What is your dental hiring plan? First, consider the exact position you want to fill and write a clear job description. When it comes to dental practice hiring, having the end goal in mind helps vet candidates who aren’t a good fit. 

Second, tap into your practice’s network to start recruiting. Tell your internal team, suppliers, industry peers, personal friends, and nearby dental schools that your company is hiring. Share the job description and consider offering a referral bonus. 88% of employers say that referred employees are the superior candidates, so use the resources already at your disposal to find a quality hire.

Do You Hire An Employee or Independent Contractor?

According to Justin Marti, a professional in dental law, choosing between a W-2 and 1099 tax form for employees comes down to control. Who is making the schedule, buying supplies, and offering assistance as needed? Who is paying taxes? Maven suggests that a new dentist fresh out of school should be hired as a W-2 employee, so they have the security of a steady paycheck and health insurance while they get their feet under them. On the other hand, a veteran provider may prefer to be a 1099 worker. This way, they can manage their own needs while offering services to your practice’s patients.

However you decide to hire, Marti recommends laying out the general terms in a short offer letter before sending over the 50-page agreement. Thus, your candidates can easily skim the conditions before they accept and sign a more formal document.

How Do You Compensate a New Hire?

Experience and market conditions play a key role in pay structure. Ensuring you have a competitive benefits package will help you recruit candidates. And compensation varies by industry. The dental industry typically pays associate dentists in one of three ways:

  1. Flat salary for candidates right out of school. A steady compensation allows new dentists to focus on quality over quantity and removes financial stress.
  2. Flat salary plus bonus based on collections. Once a new dentist has hit their stride, they can be rewarded for their productivity and earn more as they bring in more business.
  3. Commission based on collections. Experience providers may prefer a compensation that equals 30 to 35% of their net production (after insurance payouts). 

In the aesthetic industry, compensation is a bit different. Usually, providers are paid an hourly rate or flat salary plus bonus based on production or selling. There are various tiers to this structure, which often makes it more complex. Ultimately, providers are incentivized to sell when their compensation depends on it.

What Is the Onboarding Process?

When you’ve finally secured your new hire, there are a few steps to setting them up for success as part of your dental hiring plan. First, complete any of their necessary credentials. Next, you may need to expand your practice’s space if additional rooms, chairs, and equipment are needed to accommodate the new provider. Finally, begin sharing current patients with the new provider while they take time to build up their own patient docket. Your new hire should be well-integrated to work with your practice for the long term. Equip providers to be successful, and you’ll see even more patients line up at the door to receive your excellent services.


Maven serves as a CFO for small medical practices, managing all your small business finances like budgets, strategy, and provider goals. We help business owners with the numbers so you can focus on what you do best. If you’re a dental or aesthetic practice looking to grow your business, contact us today to learn how we can help!