TOP TIPS: How to release poor new recruits from your dental practice

How you recruit is fundamental to the future of your practice and the realisation of your business goals, but how robust is your HR policy?


Recruitment errors happen and the damage must be limited by quick action because poor performers are unlikely to get better, they take up everyone’s time, they frustrate co-workers and they delay the hiring of a quality replacement.

Here’s our top five tips to dealing with the issue:


  1. The no-fault divorce after six months. Offer several months of pay and a good reference in return for their resignation, with the caveat that there will be no severance money and a bad reference at a later date.
  2. Extended onboarding. Facebook do this for six weeks as a secondary assessment level. It allows more time to accurately reveal skills and cultural fit. Some firms actually pay recruits to leave after onboarding if they realise that this is not the job for them because the negative ROI outweighs the damage they could do to the business long term.
  3. Use a more rigorous probation period. Probation periods are often ineffective because they are unstructured and they are supervised by managers who are naturally reluctant to fire someone who they just recently picked themselves. This is an even more acute problem in small dental practices. Better to set periodic objective assessment points, with passing scores, and stick to them.
  4. Allow the team to vote them out – Whole Foods allows team members to vote at the end of an assessment period on whether to make the new hire a permanent member of the team. Because there is a team-based performance reward, it makes sense to give team members a voice on whether to accept weak performers or bad hires, and helps to build team cohesion.
  5. Encourage the dissatisfied recruit to leave quickly. It makes financial sense to take proactive action to encourage an unhappy recruit, even if they are good performer, to quit even sooner than they would naturally. If you are empathetic and generous you may also create a long term friend of the practice who may yield future referrals.

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