THE NEXTDDS Blog

How to Differentiate Yourself as an Associate Candidate

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

Identist-with-associate-and-tech.jpgt’s never too early to plan for your future. Whether you’re a first-year dental student who is just getting used to the dental school experience or a fourth year seeking associateship opportunities, looking ahead is a must to ensure your success. Dental school is the stepping stone launching you into the next chapter of your life and your career. Gaining experience during clinic and taking advantage of opportunities at school (through live events, shadowing faculty, and volunteering for outreach programs) will help you on your journey.

Knowing that your potential employer dentist will look at how well you approached your time in dental school, it’s important to take every advantage you can during those four years. Take time and do research on what your dental school has to offer. Are there extracurricular activities available? Any study clubs or groups that might be worthwhile to join? What about programs or organizations that might give you a leg up on other students who will be competing for residency programs, jobs, and other opportunities after graduation?

In a recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship,” Dr. Bianca Velayo, (practice owner in Henderson, NV, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, ’15) described ways she differentiated herself from classmates by creating a valuable dental school experience.

Be Energetic

Connect with as many people as possible. Between your peers, faculty, and the people you meet at various school events, network and make sure that they remember your name. Keep in mind, your peers will soon become practitioners themselves and may reach out to you or vice versa once you are both in that position. The more you build your reputation while you are in school, the better off you’ll be once you start to seek employment. Every interaction that you have may be the difference between a new job or picking up a valuable hire down the line.

Be Engaged

Get involved in student organizations such as Alpha Omega, the SNDA, HDA, or your local ASDA chapter. You might think it is just student government, but ASDA is a national organization that is affiliated with the ADA. Whether you decide to pursue a position as a vice president, a social chair, or a lunch and learn coordinator, you should make an effort to get involved in your local ASDA chapter. The events presented by these organizations offer more learning and networking opportunities at a national level as you begin to branch out in your career. Attend as many as possible to discover some of your options after school.

Be Authentic

Every case you complete in school will take you one step closer to mastering the clinical skills necessary in dentistry, while also building rapport and learning to communicate with your patients. Therefore, add to your repertoire by going beyond your core curriculum. If you’re a D4 and have completed all these requirements, don’t coast towards graduation. Dr. Velayo recommends that you make sure to do an extra denture or endodontic case, and/or assist more experienced students, such as residents, in other cases when possible. According to Velayo, it builds clinical experience, and provides valuable patient care too. Another way to develop your knowledge is to schedule a shadow day with a local dentist and follow his or her schedule accordingly.

How will you differentiate yourself from the pack? Don’t wait for your final year of dental school in order to make the changes that will open up your future. Your dental school has resources available to further your education and make sure you are on the right path towards being a professional. Leverage these assets and you’ll be better adapted for the post-graduation job search and employment opportunities ahead.

 

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Tags: associateship, differentiating yourself, associate dentist

7 Simple Strategies for a Successful Associateship

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

7-simple-image.jpgComing out of dental school, many graduates seek advice on how to best approach an associateship and the responsibilities that lie within the position. Despite the confidence that comes from getting your degree, there is still a new world in dentistry to explore: working with a mentor, dealing with more patients, and applying yourself to the everyday hustle of a practice. However, there are many ways that you can either improve or learn new skills that will ensure that your associateship is a success. With time, you’ll be on your way to becoming a leader, and potentially be in a position to manage a practice of your own.

Take every advantage you can to become the best associate dentist possible. Courtesy of Dr. Bianca Velayo, a recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship” highlights seven ways one can positively impact the practice.

1. Cover Important Topics During the Interview

We’ve previously covered important qualities that practice owners want to see in potential associates, namely being eager and coachable, while remaining humble and ethical about your practice philosophy. We’ve also presented questions you should prepare for in your interview. During your interview, source some important leading questions that give you a better sense of the practice:

  • What type of patients are seen and how is the treatment being presented?
  • How long do associates usually last?
  • What is the compensation?
  • What type of technology are you exposed to?
  • What does the typical day look like?

2. Recognize and Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Communication is key to many aspects of your associateship: how you interact with patients, how you lead your team, and how you approach mentoring with your supervisors. Communication has several aspects to it: body language, tone, and the choice of words. Better understand how you can approach this important aspect of life. Are you choosing your words wisely and in an appropriate manner?

3. Building Patient Trust & Rapport

Working with your patients on case acceptance and compliance is another ongoing challenge for many less-experienced associates. There are many things one can do to make sure that patients trust you and your diagnosis. Work on educating the patient rather than selling them a treatment, and truly believe in your diagnosis. Respond gracefully to rejection by giving the patient options, your own medical opinion, and leading them to long-term success and production.

4. Be True to Yourself

Keep your priorities in line. What matters the most to you in life and your profession? Know that the associate dentist position has a learning curve. Manage your expectations in accordance to both this position and your own personal career goals. Don’t get too ahead of yourself and take this time to learn. You have to learn how to walk before you can run!

5. Improve Your Time Management

If you feel like you are having difficulty managing your time, go to your employer dentist or another experienced member of the team and ask how he or she manages time. What small changes or workarounds are they doing that you can leverage? Building up your hand speed is also a manner of time management. Track how long it takes you to do a procedure, and continuously chop at that time to set personal bests. As you note this, you’ll be able to easily recognize that you are indeed getting faster over time.

6. Providing Excellent Patient Care

To provide better care for your patients, look into continued education opportunities. Be a sponge that soaks up as much knowledge as you can to translate it into your approach chairside. Sometimes, practices offer such opportunities to staff members who seek continued education. Additionally, begin a mentor relationship with your senior dentists to better shadow their schedule and see how they go about their day. Join associations, study clubs, and other organizations both in and out of school that might help you continue this educational pursuit.

7. Readying for the Transition

As you prepare to leave dental school and find the next chapter awaiting you, grab your future by the reins and take advantage of the last resources available to you as an impending graduate and future alumnus. Network and explore events that allow for recruiting and potential employment opportunities, take a look at your financial profile and how you can best assess your future student loans. As you begin your associateship, continue to build your confidence practicing more dentistry, and you’ll be on the right track.

Overcome the challenges of an associate dentist position by taking a look at these seven steps. What can you improve upon? What have you not considered that may be worthwhile to explore? Build your confidence and skills and you’ll transition perfectly to your next career step. Good luck growing towards career prosperity!

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Tags: associateship, interviewing, interpersonal skills, building trust, building rapport

Associate Dentists: What Traits Do Practice Owners Want in Potential Candidates?

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

aspen-efficiency.jpgDental students receive the clinical training necessary to become dentists while also developing a philosophy of patient care that will become the framework of their future practices. In this way, becoming an associate dentist after school comes with its own set of challenges once preparing for that big interview with an employer dentist or practice owner. Once graduates find that perfect associateship with a mentor that has a common way of thinking about treating patients, a new question soon emerges. Assuming a candidate and employer dentist have similar philosophies, how can one differentiate him or herself in the eyes of the interviewer?

Courtesy of Dr. Bianca Velayo, this recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship” highlights important qualities and character traits that practice owners desire in applicants and future associates in their practices.

Humble But Hungry

According to Dr. Velayo, practice owners want friendly, personable candidates; an associate dentist who can work cooperatively without any problems. Her presentation explained that experienced dentists are usually able to provide further clinical support to their associates, but they can’t teach attitude and how an associate approaches issues. A candidate should be willing to learn about all the facets of the practice, yet still be humble in his or her abilities. Candidates should know that they still have a lot left to learn. Are they driven to become better dentists?

Confident and Passionate

When candidates are asked that age-old interview question, “So, tell me about yourself,” it could be easy to blank on an appropriate or relevant answer. Candidates might even feel that they have so much they want to say, but don’t know where to start. All in all, interviewees should show the passion they have for dentistry. Have they volunteered? Taken advantage of ASDA events to learn more about the profession? Showing passion goes hand-in-hand with showing confidence, and candidates should make it clear that they are ready for the opportunity that an associateship brings them.

Ethical and Coachable

Can the practice owner put the trust in a candidate to handle patients with ease? Candidates might not have extensive experience coming out of school. Showing to the practice owner that one is coachable means being open to criticism and feedback. A candidate can be easily taught to keep up with the hustle of appointments, treatment, and the typical daily workday. Candidates should focus on patient care, not on money, buying power, or any other factors that might distract from important goals in the short-term.

 

While in dental school, candidates should take advantage of the resources that will help them out as much as possible during the job search. Networking, contributing with peers, and cultivating positive relationships will mean a successful future. Utilizing alumni and a dental school’s career services will also allow young dentists to be more knowledgeable about different options after graduation. To hear Dr. Velayo’s recommendations in their entirety, be sure to click here.

Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now

Tags: associateship, personality traits, leadership traits

A Few Simple Strategies to Get That Successful Associateship [Webinar]

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 12:30 PM

An associateship after dental school is a great way to begin practice, and there are more associateship opportunities available today than ever before.

The vast majority of your dental school education is focused on making an accurate diagnosis and implementing an appropriate, evidence-based treatment plan. As you near the end of your time in dental school, however, you will need to tap into skills that are not so measurable when it comes time to score that first associateship. How do you relate to people? How do you sell yourself? How do you get started in the position? And how do you know if this position is right for you?

For many new dentists, associateship is an important step along the journey into the dental profession. It’s a time for building your diagnostic skills, confidence in patient care, enhancing your clinical skills, and for developing an understanding of the business of dentistry.

Recenly, on Thursday, February 23rd, THE NEXTDDS and Dr. Bianca Velayo (Tufts '15) presented a webinar for students to learn more about the above and additional tips and recommendations.

This webinar covered:

  • Interviewing with owner dentists
  • Developing diagnostic and clinical skills as an associate dentist
  • Improving oral health in your patients by providing excellent clinical care
  • Building rapport and communicating effectively with patients

NEXTDDS LAYOUT FB 2_2.jpg

Click the picture above or click here to watch the webinar on Youtube.

Tags: associateship, webinar, virtual event

Establishing a Plan for Your First 90 Days as an Associate Dentist

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Male-dentist-shaking-hands-with-patient-resize.jpgThe vast majority of your dental school education is focused on making an accurate diagnosis and implementing an appropriate, evidence-based treatment plan. As you near the end of your time in dental school, however, you will need to tap into skills that are not so measurable when it comes time to score that first associateship. These are the people skills or “soft skills” that are also important yet seldom discussed. How do you relate to people? How do you sell yourself? How can you convince an employer dentist that you are the right fit for the position? And how do you know if this position is right for you?

The process of interviewing is an interesting sociological balance between buying and selling. You, of course, want to sell yourself as the answer to a practice owner's problems, including some that they didn’t even know they had. But you’re also being a savvy shopper, not wanting to buy into a practice that is inefficient, ineffective, or dysfunctional. In this sense, the act of interviewing is truly a two-way street, and gives you a unique opportunity to know whether or not you truly want to be a part of this practice. Dental practices may have hiring opportunities for a variety of reasons, and some of those reasons may be red flags that tell you to shop elsewhere.

If you want to make a good impression during your interview, you must come in prepared to answer and ask thought-provoking questions. And if you want to make an even bigger impression on the hiring manager and differentiate yourself from other candidates, you have be prepared to let him or her know what you will do your first 90 days on the job.

The first 90 days are crucial. It’s the standard grace period for new employees and the time during which first impressions are made. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have a plan that will show that you can perform the role and alleviate any concerns your potential employer dentist may have. With a one-page summary, prepared in advance, you can indicate what you will prioritize in the first 90 days, and you’re making it easier for the practice owner or hiring manager to envision you in the role as a new associate dentist.

To create a 90-day plan, you want to think about the dental practice that you’re interviewing for and what needs to be accomplished. This will require some background research and may even the occasional “secret shopper” tactic. Here are a few questions to consider to help with your strategy.

 

What are the goals and objectives for the practice?

Whether you already received this information during the interview process or not, it’s important to get a firm understanding of what the employer dentist and other members of the dental practice identify as their important goals and objectives. Revisit conversations and strike up new ones to help you clarify what needs to be emphasized. Be prepared to listen and observe to not only learn what is being said but also what is unsaid.

 

What are the practice’s main priorities?

This question will help you connect the job to the practice’s objectives. How does your skill set help the dental practice achieve its strategic and financial goals? Furthermore, based on what you are learning and observing, which of your skills are the most important? Take the time to discover the answers to these questions, then draft a plan that will show how you intend to approach these priorities in the first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment.

 

Who are the people with whom I will work to help me reach my goals?

Work relationships are invaluable when it comes to your career as a dentist. Get to know everyone in your practice and their strengths and weaknesses. Not only is this good information to know generally, but it may also help you in your responsibilities. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with collaborating practices outside of yours and who the key people are in each. Learning about your referral network, specialists, and dental laboratories will help you connect the dots and see how your role relates to others within the larger organization.

 

What are the “quick fixes” and what requires more time?

In the early days of a new position, it’s beneficial to identify the “quick wins,” those tasks that can be completed easily in a short time frame and will visibly improve some part of the practice. There may be an unmet need for a particular set of dental skills within your community, skills that you may be able to bring to the practice on day one. Avoid making hasty decisions by working with the necessary challenges to determine which needs can likely be addressed immediately versus those that need more time and planning.

 

How will I measure my progress?

As you contribute to the practice, what tools of measurement will inform you of your progress after 30, 60, and 90 days? It may be setting up weekly or biweekly meetings with your supervisor or utilizing performance metrics (e.g., patient satisfaction surveys) to track your progress along the way. Regardless, the idea is that you will want to establish a system to help you understand how you’re doing and whether any changes need to be made.

 

Conclusion

By addressing these questions in your 90-day plan, you will show the employer dentist that you’ve given serious thought to your role in the prospective dental practice and have created a strategy accordingly. Your plan will also communicate that you’re able to hit the ground running and do what you’re getting paid to do in an efficient and effective way. Present them with a well-crafted 90-day plan and watch them drop their forceps!

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Tags: associateship, soft skills

Answers to Five Key Questions You’ll Field While Interviewing for Your First Associateship

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

bigstock-Young-Girl-Gives-Her-Cv-resize.jpgEvery job interview comes with a set of standard questions, and chances are they’re ones that you will come across at one point or another as you seek your first associate dentist position. Even if you encounter the same questions many times, you’ll still have to work hard and prepare beforehand. Every interview is sure to work organically.

Many of these questions can be tailored to your advantage. If the employer dentist or interviewer approaches them in a certain controlled matter, you will have a great interview. Take a step back and understand what exactly the interviewer is trying to learn from you when posing these questions.

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

This is probably one of the most common questions, and in some aspect you’ll be asked at least one of this two-parter. For strengths, play back to your experience and qualifications, asserting your most important qualities confidently. Include some personal traits as well, things that dental school faculty or patients have said of you, and other relevant credits. This might be the easy part, but don’t take it for granted.

For weaknesses, it’s easy to think you’re winning them over with an answer like, “I’m a perfectionist,” but employers have heard that before. Be honest in your reply. The important part is describing ways in which you’re trying to improve your weaknesses, or planning to overcome them. If you lack experience in root canal preparation, for example, explain that you are taking the necessary steps pursuing additional training or exposure to similar procedures to improve your competency in endodontic treatment.

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

This question asks to see if you’ve done your research on the practice, the position, and the necessary qualifications. How quickly and easily will you be able to fit in their atmosphere? The name of the game is both the context in which you present the answer, and the tone in which you deliver it.

Hopefully you are eager enough about the position that you have not only researched the qualifications involved with the position and how you accomplish them, but also talk as if you really want to begin working at the position. Employer dentists will be able to tell if you’re just telling them what they want to hear, or if you are being genuine. Your excitement should show in your answer. If this is a position that you would like to start right away, you should have no problem answering this question.

Where Do You See Yourself in 5/10/15 Years?

Another mainstay to the job interview, this question is a test to see what you’re working on now that you hope to expand upon in the future, what clinical skills or interpersonal traits you’re looking to improve upon, and other things that show your work ethic. It shares with your potential employer dentist your vision of practice ownership and potential impact on his or her own plans regarding the future of the practice.

It’s important to also focus this question on the employer. Where do you see yourself advancing in the position that’s being offered? Being modest and without getting too ahead of yourself, how are you going to make an impact on the practice in the long term? This is what they’re after.

Why Should We Hire You?

What a better time to shine during the interview! This might he posed during the tail-end of the interview. This is a good opportunity to do two things: initiate discussion of your clinical and/or diagnostic experience and qualifications, and pair that alongside what the employer dentist is seeking.

This is where all the preparation pays off. Confidently assert the experience you have, relevant to the practice for which you are interviewing. Combine your experience with the requisites you’ve researched through the job listing or description. Emphasize how that experience will meet any and all requirements they need.

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

This question is the dagger at the end of an interview. Sometimes, when you’ve done all the research beforehand, you find yourself at a loss for questions that might be useful to pose at the end of an interview. Always write down a list of possible questions that you could ask. If you’ve read the job description or outline, that will be a good place to start to find questions relating to the job or practice itself. Asking about the timing and notifications process associated with the hiring decision is always pertinent.

Note more questions than you’ll need, as some may be answered during the interview itself. It’s good to have at least one or two to pose at the end. Sometimes as you’re working through an interview, a question may arise from something the employer said, even if it’s a clarification about a point that they’ve made. Make sure you’re paying close attention during the interview. If your potential employer dentist has not already shared his or her philosophy of patient care, be sure to solicit during the interview as understanding this outlook will be important to your compatibility.

 

There’s no doubt that employment interviews are stressful, and no matter how hard you prepare, it all comes down to how well you perform under pressure. There’s no guarantee as to what your potential employer might throw your way. One thing is for sure, however: you will come in contact with these questions at some point as you look for employment. The more interviews you go on, and the more you become comfortable and confident answering each question, the better chance you’ll have at securing a position with a practice.

Tags: associateship, interviewing

The "New Dentist Track" at the CDS Midwinter Meeting

Posted by John Papa on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 09:39 AM

This year, the Chicago Dental Society offered a track of four courses specifically written and designed for new dentists. These courses were intended to give new dentists insight and tips in certain areas that might be overlooked or not covered in-depth in traditional dental school curricula. The four courses that were included in the “New Dentist Track” were:
  • Leadership in Social Media for New Dentists: Presented by Ms. Rita Zamora
  • Risky Business: What are the Dangers and How to Prepare: Presented by Dr. Roy Shelburne
  • Career Paths in the Private Practice of Dentistry: Presented by Mr. Peter Ackerman, and
  • Sales free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of New Methodology: Presented by Dr. Steve Fretzin

In her social media course, Ms. Rita Zamora began by establishing the idea of creating and maintaining your online brand/identity. Her words of advice to the would-be social media savvy dentist were: know yourself, know your brand, live your brand, be visible, and lead by example. She went on to discuss social media marketing through Facebook ads or Google ad words, and suggested using small incentives to get patients to “Check-in”, “Like”, or “Follow” your social media outlets; such as giving out whitening strips (or some other one-time-use item) for check-ins before appointments. As for negative patient reviews on social media, her advice was to either ignore them or to reach out to the complaining patient personally via email or phone, talk to them, and see if they will take the review down afterwards. You can read more about Social Media Marketing and Integrating Social Media in your Future Practice on THE NEXTDDS.

Dr. Roy Shelburne’s presentation on risk management was focused on pointing out the small things that sometimes get overlooked by new dentists which could result in a visit from the IRS. He began his presentation by saying that every new dentist should know the legal definition of intent. He then went on to describe what, in his eyes, constitute the five biggest legal threats to your practice: failure to comply with HIPPA, OSHA, tax laws, the dental practice acts of your state, and other contractual obligations. He touched briefly on informed consent, malpractice claims, and record keeping; stating that keeping air-tight records of every procedure, why it was done, and how it was done is a good way to insulate yourself from malpractice suits, but that the biggest protection from malpractice suits is to have a good relationship with your patients.

Mr. Ackerman led off his “Career Paths” course by explaining his outlook about the future of the dental profession. Due to a number of factors including increased competitiveness in the field, growing student debt, distribution of new dental offices, changes in patient values, and older dentists being forced to work longer, the allure of “corporate dentistry” appears to be growing for new graduates. He does, however, still believe there are viable paths to private practice ownership for young dentists. He went on to discuss associateships at length, including why they sometimes fail, how to best insulate yourself from liability and failure, many legal issues that arise through associateships including contractual obligations, terms of agreement, compensation, "due diligence" research, and types of practice sales (retirement [full]) sales, delayed full sales, extended sales, and partial sales). Read more about making the transition from Student to Professional in THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Steve Fretzin ispecializes in coaching business owners on the finer points of sales and investment. In his presentation, Mr. Fretzin explained his new methodology of sales, which favors a much more consultative and relationship-oriented approach over the traditional sales model. He then explained how his sales model is specifically applicable in the dental/medical fields, especially during patient consultation and in attempting to garner interest and consent for treatment plans.

The New Dentist track at the CDS Midwinter meeting is a way for young dentists and current dental students alike to learn some of the finer points of business management, legal matters, and marketing that may not have been covered in depth during dental school. Each of the speakers were passionate their subjects, and gave easily applicable tips that could improve business, exposure, and revenue while reducing risk and liability for a new practice owner. As dental students attending the CDS Midwinter, the New Dentist track is one way to get a jump on one’s professional career, and to start thinking about the real-world business of dentistry in a new and exciting way.

Tags: midwinter, CDS, CE, continuing education, marketing, liability, sales, New Dentist Track, social media, legal, associateship

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