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Inside Dentistry
November 2021
Volume 17, Issue 11

Are You Hiring With Confidence?

The Secret Is in the Data

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

Have you ever met someone and made a snap judgement about them-good or bad-only to realize later that you were wrong? They may have reminded you of someone in your past, or had a familiar look, sound, or even a name that triggered something in your subconscious. Unfortunately, the truth is that we all do this whether we realize it or not. Studies of human behavior have shown how easily unconscious biases creep into our everyday decision-making processes, including our screening and hiring procedures. We are far more likely to trust and favor people who are similar or familiar to us in some way. When considering a candidate, bias can creep in regarding factors such as gender, age, appearance, culture, and even for things as simple as a candidate's name or your preference for certain colleges or universities. As a dental practice owner, manager, or department leader involved in hiring, it's key to constantly self-check your internal leanings. Are you being objective?

If you are not being as objective as you can be, you are potentially missing out on great candidates. By learning to identify and reduce our subconscious biases and make data-driven hiring decisions, we can be more confident that we are hiring the best candidate for the job in each situation, and our dental practices will benefit in additional ways as well.

The Benefits of Diverse Teams

Harvard Business Review has reported that teams that are more cognitively diverse solve problems faster, resulting in increased financial success for businesses.1 That's because a diverse work team represents a variety of life experiences, social styles, community associations, knowledge bases, approaches to problem solving, innate talents, strengths, and more. For example, how likely are you to produce innovative solutions to problems if everyone on the team has similar backgrounds with similar experiences and thinks the same way? How likely are you to attract a culturally diverse clientele if everyone on the team is the same as you? Although we can't hire a truly diverse team if the candidates are not available for hire, we can take steps to identify and reduce potential bias in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates and, in so doing, include more great candidates to help us achieve our goals.

Reducing Screening and Hiring Bias

We can reduce screening and hiring bias in two primary ways. First, we can become mindful of our default attitudes as we review resumes and self-check our internal leanings. When you are eliminating a potential candidate, you should ask yourself why. Is your decision based on solid criteria or on personal tastes and preferences? The second way that we can reduce screening and hiring bias is by intentionally zeroing in on certain types of data on candidate profiles, so we focus on the things that really matter.

In an effort to help dental practices expand their candidate pools and reduce unconscious bias in their hiring processes, DentalPost recently introduced SmartView, a new blind screening feature that temporarily hides candidates' names and photographs while hiring managers first screen for the characteristics that best meet their needs. These characteristics include skills, qualifications, and personality assessment insights. Once employers have reviewed the profiles for the candidate data and experience that they're seeking, they can reveal the jobseekers' full profile details, including names and photographs. Rather than thinking of diversity hiring as a subtractive process in which the pool of potential candidates is narrowed down to focus on candidates with diverse backgrounds, think of it as an additive process in which the candidate pool stays at a maximum size while you screen based on the skills and qualifications that really matter for the position. Only after the reveal does a more subtractive candidate screening process begin.

Using Assessment Data to Hire Right the First Time

As a dental-specific platform that provides candidate and employer matching, DentalPost has put research-based assessments, including DiSC®, emotional intelligence, core values, skills, and workplace culture evaluations, at the core of our job matching technology. These assessments are free to users and provide data that enables employers to find candidates that best match their needs and the dynamics of their teams. These assessments facilitate an efficient first-round screening process and can help narrow down the candidate pool by as much as 40%, which is particularly critical in larger metropolitan areas where search results can be in the thousands. They can also highlight the more engaged and enthusiastic candidates.

A Comprehensive Approach to Hiring

There is a common belief right now (across many industries) that some hiring managers are so desperate to fill gaps in teams that they'll hire candidates that they know are not the right fit. Although it certainly is a candidate's market right now, the most successful practice owners still understand the importance of hiring a candidate who fits the team and workplace culture in order to avoid the wasted time and money as well as the stress that comes with a bad hire. By learning to identify and reduce our screening and hiring biases and tap into the data that is available to us, we can feel confident in our hiring decisions and build our teams and dental practices to thrive instead of just survive.


1. Reynolds A, Lewis D. Teams solve problems faster when they're more cognitively diverse. Harvard Business Review website. Published March 30, 2017. Accessed November 23, 2021.

About the Author

Tonya Lanthier, RDH, is the founder and chief executive officer of DentalPost, a dental job website committed to helping dental professionals connect and creating teams that excel.

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