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How to Secure a High-Impact Chief Dental Officer

The Chief Dental Officer role is a challenging one, particularly in an FQHC, where budgetary considerations require leadership to wear several different hats. FQHCs require an interdisciplinary approach, so finding the right Chief Dental Officer with expertise in general medicine is important. After selecting the right candidate, it may be difficult to negotiate a proper salary, agreed upon by both parties. Here are ways an organization can guarantee the successful placement of a Chief Dental Officer during the stressful offer stage of the hiring process.

The Hiring Tightrope

Until the Chief Dental Officer walks in the door of your clinic, it can feel like a tight rope balancing act. Organizations can go through the hire and offer process only to lose the candidate at the very end of a long search. That’s in part because of the competition for Chief Dental Officers. In this job market, one can assume the candidate has more than one offer.

The recruiting process requires knowing your candidate well enough to be able to negotiate an offer. Part of the role is asking qualifying questions not only to thoroughly vet the candidate but to also understand what they want in their next position. All of these things should be reflected in the candidate offer letter. Once you get to the actual offer, the candidate relationship should be firmly established and the organization “sold” to the Chief Dental Officer. Sending an actual offer can be an intense and stressful process, no matter how well you know the CDO candidate.

How can your FQHC set itself apart so the candidate becomes the new hire? Here are some suggestions:

  • Set clear expectations for the hiring process. Most executive-level candidates will not suffer fools gladly; make sure they clearly understand the workflows and timelines of your hiring process. If you fail to set expectations and follow them precisely, it opens the door to another facility.
  • Do not make the candidate wait for the offer. Traditional hiring processes can drag on for weeks. In a competitive market, we know that shortening time-to-hire sets the odds in your favor for a successful offer.
  • Do allow the candidate to thoroughly review the offer. This is potentially a huge career move for the Chief Dental Officer and their family. Get a clear timeline from the candidate on how long they’ll need to weigh the offer. Avoid making this decision more stressful by trying to rush their decision.
  • Make sure the offer is complete with all the details you discussed during the process. Do not go off script and do not surprise the candidate with a last-minute change – or you will lose them.
  • Always let the recruiters make the offer. Taking a new job is an exercise in trust. Whether the candidate worked with a recruiter or hiring manager, make sure the person trying to close the deal is the one who developed enough trust with the candidate to make the offer. Switching ponies’ mid-race could derail the entire process.

Finding a Chief Dental Officer

Recruiting a Chief Dental Officer or any executive-level position is a delicate balancing act that incorporates sales, trust and closing the deal with an accepted offer. Knowing your candidate means developing enough of a relationship with them so when the offer letter goes out, you know instinctively they will say, “Yes.” This is exactly why FQHCs seeking executive-level talent turn to UHC Solutions. We are experts in this process and can improve the chances that your Chief Dental Officer candidate will turn into an employee. Contact our leading executive recruiters today.

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