Navigating and Succeeding in a Post-COVID Job Market – Tips and Best Practices

I realize we’re all getting numb to hearing the term “The New Normal” in this post-COVID world. And along with everyone else, dental professionals have needed to adapt to this constantly changing environment.

As Canada’s largest and #1 rated dental temping and hiring service, at TempStars we have a constant “finger on the pulse” of the dental job market in Canada – for temping and hiring. And certainly, the job market dynamics have changed since offices re-opened in this post-COVID environment.

Having already completed thousands of temping placements since offices re-opened, and running an incredibly active Job Board for permanent/contract hiring, I wanted to share some insights, tips and best practices to help dentists and office managers navigate the current state of the dental job market.

What the Top Dental Offices are Doing

First, let me say – all of our data and experience in recent months has shown that the dental job market is in flux. As offices look for new people to join their team, there’s a bit of an employment shuffle going on. This has tipped the job market balance, making the demand for great people slightly more than the pool of good candidates.

Regardless of the current situation, here are some ways that you can still succeed at finding the best new team members, in any job market.

Ensure your office is complaint with current provincial dental and dental hygiene guidelines

Whether you are looking to book a dental hygienist or assistant for a temping shift, or looking to hire someone to your team, any potential new hire will be assessing whether your office is compliant with regulations.

Any candidate worth hiring will be aware of the current guidelines and won’t be willing to put their license, their safety or their patients at risk by working in an office that is not compliant to the current guidelines.

You many find someone who is willing to work at your office if you aren’t following the guidelines, but that’s a “catch-22” – do you want someone at your office who has compromised values when it comes to patient and team safety? That’s potential for more harm than good.

So, as a bare minimum, make sure you have the PPE, infrastructure and protocols in place to follow the most current regulatory guidelines.

And remember – perception matters. While just meeting the guidelines is adequate, patients and potential candidates alike are constantly assessing the level of dedication an office has to patient and team safety.

It not only shows you care, but it’s a good business decision. Not only will patients be more comfortable keeping their appointments, they’ll likely tell their friends and family how safe they felt at your office.

Likewise, in a job market where great candidates are hard to come by, you’ll impress and attract the best new members to your team if your office shows that you go beyond the guidelines to ensure everyone feels safe in their work environment.

“Sell” Your Practice to Potential Candidates

There’s a common saying in job market that “the best ones are already taken.” That may be so – but are they happy and fulfilled at their current office? Maybe they’re casually cruising the job postings looking for that sparkling ad that resonates with them and spurs them into considering making a change. How are you going to attract those great professionals to come to your office?

Sadly, among some dentists and office managers, there is an underlying mindset of “We’re going to pay you to work here and you’ll be lucky to have a job and get paid here.”

While this mindset is unhealthy at the best of times, it can be very detrimental to filling positions at your office in a job market where good talent is scarce. Luckily this mindset only represents a small subset of dentists and managers. But, if you’re reading this and lean towards this way of thinking, it will do a world of good in your efforts to find and hire good candidates if you flip your thinking a bit.

We have hundreds of job postings on our Job Board, so we see an abundance of ad postings by offices and witness first-hand which ones get the most applicants. If you want to see the most success in attracting good candidates, focus on the benefits to the candidate of working at your office. Think of it as marketing your office – not to attract new patients, but to attract great potential new team members.

Whether you’re writing a classified “Help Wanted” ad, or speaking with candidates on the phone for an initial interview – paint a picture of how much better their professional life could be working at your office. It’s much better to have every candidate excited at the prospect of working at your office, giving you the opportunity to choose among enthusiastic candidates to join your team.

On the other hand, if your communication style is stunted, cynical or demanding, you may find someone willing to take the job, but your ability to attract and retain the best candidates will be limited. I’m saying this because as we review and approve our Job Board postings, sometimes I’m confused at the tone in some of the ads.

So – enthusiastically sell yourself, your team, your patients and the opportunity at your practice to find those hidden gems! It will really pay off.

Tap your personal connections

Hopefully you have current team members that you like and respect who are a good fit for your team. Be sure to check with them to see if they know any friends or colleagues who might be interested in the position you have open.

Likewise, check with your own personal and professional network – a personal referral for your position can go a long way to speeding up the search for a great candidate.

Fill in the gaps in your team by booking dental hygienists and dental assistants for temping shifts

While you’re searching for the right new team member (or you’re having current team members off due to illness or possibly child care challenges, etc.), you can keep your schedule full, your production on track and your patients happy by booking dental hygienists and dental assistants for temping shifts.

Just be sure to do your research – there are dental agencies of varying degrees of quality and reliability out there. At TempStars, we connect over 3,000 offices across Canada to a network of over 4,500 dental professionals for temping and hiring. We are rated #1 in Canada, with over 97% of temping matches are reviewed as “Good” or “Very Good!” – so rest assured, as you search to grow your team with the best candidate, there are good options available if you need to fill your employment gaps with temporary help.

And don’t forget, you can tap the same network of thousands of dental professionals for hiring by posting your hiring needs on TempStars Job Board.

Best of luck and stay healthy – we’re all in this together!

About the Author

Dr. James Younger is a practicing dentist and Founder/CEO of TempStars, Canada’s largest and #1 rated dental temping and hiring service.  For further information, please contact Dr. Younger at