Teledentistry and the New Normal Job Interview

Julia Heinrichs, DDS

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I still have flashbacks of entering the school cafeteria, tray in hand, deciding where to sit for lunch. These socially awkward moments, the nightmares of my youth, have now become a 2020 daily occurrence.

Today, I enter business meetings trying to read the room for mask and greeting protocols. Moments like these are particularly awkward when combining traditional stressors, such as during a job interview. 

COVID-19 has changed the job interview process. One option is the mask-covered job interview, as candidates arrive in masks, exposing your team to needless germs. Plus, the interviewer and interviewee are both handicapped when it comes to reading facial expressions.

A better option is the virtual job interview. You may feel exhausted by virtual meetings. But the fact remains that almost everyone is proficient with teleconferencing technology these days, and conducting job interviews online has several other advantages.

The Pros of Going Virtual

You may think the obvious advantage is fewer COVID-19 exposures, and you would be right. Multiple people coming into your office to interview for one job exposes the entire dental team to needless germs.

However, I think an equally important advantage for conducting virtual interviews is seeing a prospective employee’s smile. The entire dental industry is dedicated to promoting oral health.

This message is lost when an employee who doesn’t value their own dental health is educating others. We know better than anyone that a smile tells so much about a person, so don’t let a mask cover what an applicant’s smile can tell you.

A virtual interview teleconferencing also allows an applicant to demonstrate comfort with technology, show their true personality, and provide clues into their lives. (Just look in the background.)

One way to take virtual job interviews to the next level is to use teledentistry software instead of teleconferencing apps like Zoom or Facetime. Using a teledentistry solution such as TeleDent by MouthWatch in a job interview could be especially revealing for key positions, including:

  • Front office manager/insurance coordinator: Do your applicants actually know what they say they know? With teledentistry platforms, you can talk to applicants and pull up an insurance claim. (Make sure to protect patient information first, though.) Do they understand coding and writeoffs? These are basics any insurance coordinator or office manager candidate needs to demonstrate.
  • Treatment coordinator: Teledentistry platforms enable you to simultaneously see an applicant’s body language and confidence in presenting treatment, while simultaneously offering treatment options. To achieve this, simply set-up a “dummy” file and see how an applicant masters reading a chart, creating a treatment plan, and educating patients.
  • Dental assistants: If your teledentistry solution is set up on your operatory computers, show your setup and current organization system to your applicants. Are they the personality type who can adapt to your system, or are they going to want to come in and change how your office is organized? Neither personality type is wrong, but you need to know what fits in your office and with your current dental team. Also, take this opportunity to see how familiar an applicant is with terminology, charting, and technology.
  • Dental hygienists and dental associates: Teledentistry solutions are great, particularly for early interviews with dental hygienists and dental associates. These apps allow in-depth conversations about treatment philosophies, educating patients and evaluating skill sets and experience while reviewing treatment plans, radiographs, and intraoral images.

Due to the number of employees and variety of responsibilities in a dental office, these are just general outlines. However, they can be customized to include the specific information you need for the roles you are filling. Don’t limit yourself or your candidate during a job interview.

The new normal of job interviews is just another reason to use teledentistry for a high-quality virtual interaction. Use teledentistry to truly get to know job candidates and to have them prove the knowledge and experience they have listed on their resume. And most importantly, please use teledentistry as one more effective way to stay safe.

Dr. Heinrichs is an owner and founder of Teledental Solutions, a teledentistry implementation and consulting company. She gained her experience from owning a highly profitable, teledentistry-equipped practice in Lenexa, Kansas, before selling it in 2018. She attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, where she received honors from the prosthodontics department and the President’s Award for public health. Dr. Heinrichs is uniquely qualified in the successful implementation of revenue-generating teledentistry in all models of dental practices as well as in creating strategies for corporations and their employees. She can be reached at HeinrichsDDS@TeledentalSolutions.com.

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