Challenges of Hiring Receptionists for Dental Offices Post Pandemic

Connect the Doc Icon
The Connect the Doc Team
June 14, 2023
min. read

Dental receptionists have an integral role in the office’s performance. They are the first point of contact for clients. They also make sure that all the processes run smoothly. In the post-pandemic work market, there is a significant shortage of such professionals.

Together with Jooble experts, we’ve dived into the topic and reasons behind such a situation.



Who Are Dental Receptionists?

A receptionist is an administrative position crucial to a dental office. These specialists handle various administrative tasks, such as taking calls, meeting clients, making appointments, and taking care of supplies.  They are a representative of the office and often the first person you see when you get there.

Receptionists maintain all the schedules and appointments and ensure a proper flow of customers to the dental clinic.

Common Duties of Dental Receptionists

The exact duties might vary based on the clinic and its specific needs. However, the fundamental responsibilities are the same. Those are:

  • Meet and greet patients on arrival;
  • Schedule, reschedule, confirm, or cancel patient appointments;
  • Manage and maintain patient records and information;
  • Prepare the bills and invoices;
  • Submit claims from clients to insurance companies;
  • Help customer to fill in the medical forms;
  • Answer calls and emails;
  • Track office supplies and order refills when needed;
  • Taking payments from patients and making billing statements;
  • Ensure the proper functioning of all dental equipment in the office;
  • Maintain the reception area clean and professional.

It is a decent list of duties for one to handle. Dental receptionists are not required to have post-secondary education. Often, the educational expectations are limited to a high school diploma and/or GED.

However, the associate degree in administration is a benefit for job seekers. There are also several related certifications available for those, who want to advance their resume. In the majority of cases, specialists get on-job training where they learn all the tasks and processes.

Receptionist Skills

As the position includes a lot of duties, it also requires a wide range of hard and soft skills. First of all, one needs to showcase excellent verbal and written communication. Other expected skills are:

  • Responsibility and organization;
  • Time management;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Teamwork;
  • Patience and empathy;
  • Emotional intelligence;
  • Flexibility and adaptability;
  • Punctuality;
  • Conflict resolution;
  • Decision-making.

Also, one needs to have basic computer skills to manage all schedules, emails, and spreadsheets. Sometimes, professional receptionists might also operate accounting software.

Why is it so hard to find receptionists for Dental Offices Post COVID?

After two years of the pandemic, many dental clinics and offices are understaffed and ready to hire. Yet, there are major challenges in the way.

Based on the report by American Dental Association (ADA), COVID-19 resulted in a labor shortage in the respective work market.

  • 26.5% of dentists are looking for administrative staff (receptionists);
  • 35.8% are looking for assistants;
  • 28.8% are searching for hygienists
  • 13.1% are trying to recruit associate dentists.

All of these numbers have significantly grown compared to pre-pandemic levels. Overall, more than 80% of dental clinic owners are hiring and claim that they experience difficulties with finding the right personnel. More than 70% of respondents said that hiring a receptionist is very challenging.

What are the reasons behind it?

Similarly to many other industries, dentists experienced a lot of trouble during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the personnel decided to retire earlier or leave the job for other opportunities.

As offices were not operating at the normal scale, a lot of professionals had to look for other options to earn a suitable income.

This situation is not unique to the dental industry; it was even called the great resignation. A lot of adults decide to leave their jobs to find more flexible positions, travel, or be self-employed. Also, the salary expectations from candidates have grown. Not every dental office can fulfill those. According to the HPI survey, the majority of dentists have raised the salary rates for all positions (about 67% for receptionists).

Because the market lacks suitable employees, the hiring process has sped up. There are many cases of candidates not showing up for interviews. They might have gotten an offer from another company already.

Another factor is that on-job training was also difficult to maintain during the pandemic.



Tips for Hiring a Dental Receptionist

As was mentioned, this role is integral for productive office functioning.  Although the situation with recruiting is pretty challenging, several things can help.

Here are the best tips for finding a suitable specialist:

  1. Diversify the advertisement. If your offer doesn’t attract candidates, try new platforms and places. The more people you reach, the higher the chances of success. Use online platforms and do not limit the ad to only the “dental” category. Post in the administrative category.
  2. Make the offer more attractive in general. Showcase the benefits and values you offer. For instance, tell a bit about the team of office culture.
  3. Act fast. When you receive an application, reach out as soon as possible. Appoint interview at the nearest time. If you are sure about the candidate, make an offer right away.
  4. Schedule a lot of interviews. If you’ve received several applications, talk to all suitable candidates. Do not expect that the first application will be a perfect match.
  5. Skip on prior experience in a dental office. With on-job training, a motivated and willing individual will become an ideal addition to the team.
  6. Ask staff, colleagues, or friends for referrals.

In Summary

Hiring a dental receptionist is quite hard after two years of the pandemic. A lot of administrative specialists moved on to other careers or industries. The salary expectations are high and the competition to recruit talent is tough. But with the right approach, it is possible to find the right fit.

Interested in working with us?

See firsthand how Connect the Doc can fill your pipeline with new patients.

Book a Free Demo