A dental office manager is an integral part of the running of a dental office. Their role is focused on running the operational and non-clinical aspects of the dental office.
This can include all the administrative aspects of running an office, such as overseeing staff, conducting meetings, organizing and scheduling staff rotas, and dealing with staff recruitment and payroll.
Dental managers work within a team of qualified clinical staff and administrative staff. Given the wide range of skills and experience that dental office managers need to carry out their roles effectively, you need to be sure that those you are recruiting have what it takes to be successful in the role.
This article explores the essential skills, abilities, and attributes of competent dental office managers and how you can assess these as part of your recruitment process to recruit the best candidates for your roles.
What should a dental office manager be able to do?
The primary duties of a dental office manager are centered around the smooth running of the dental practice to deliver the best patient care. As part of this, dental office managers are involved in all aspects of the non-clinical side of the dental practice.
Focusing on staff working in the dental office is a large part of the role, such as staff recruitment, training, and HR administrative duties. Ensuring staff payroll is kept up to date, budgeting, and monitoring office budgets also form part of the duties that dental office managers are responsible for.
Dental office managers should be able to manage the internal process of the office, ensuring that protocols are followed, standards are met, and any patient queries are dealt with promptly.
Where clinical staff require administrative support in liaising with specialist clinical dental departments, dental office managers must ensure that these requests are carried out, and that staff within their administration team maintain accurate patient records to reflect this.
A dental manager must be able to work with clinical staff, non-clinical staff, and patients, effectively dealing with any queries or requests while ensuring that patient and dental standards are upheld at all times.
Skills to look for in a dental office manager
There are several skills that effective dental office managers use daily that enable them to carry out their role to the standard required. These skills are needed to fulfill daily tasks and ensure that regulations placed on a dental practice are met.
You must assess your candidate pool for these skills during recruitment to make more informed hiring decisions.
Reading comprehension: dental office managers must read and understand regulatory documents that the dental practice must adhere to and interpret to ensure that the dental practice meets these standards.
Interpersonal skills: as part of their role, dental office managers deal with various stakeholders and clients. They must demonstrate active listening when speaking with people, respond appropriately, and vary their communication style as appropriate.
Critical thinking: critically evaluating information to reach the best solution when dealing with problems is an essential skill needed in many aspects of the role. This could apply to patient issues or concerns with staff or clinical documentation required by the dentists at the practice.
Time management: having the skill to manage your own time and the time of others effectively ensures that the dental practice runs smoothly and patient appointments are met, reducing operational delays for the practice.
Organisational skills: dental office managers are involved in all aspects of running the dental practice. They must have strong organizational skills to carry out their role successfully.
Microsoft Office suite: practical working knowledge of Microsoft Office ensures that dental office managers can deal with the role's electronic systems and administrative aspects.
Useful abilities for a dental office manager
Successful dental office managers possess inherent abilities that enable them to run a dental office successfully.
These abilities include:
Problem-solving: using inductive and deductive reasoning abilities means that dental office managers can solve problems and reach the best conclusion for the patients and dental practice based on the information available
Logical thinking: the ability to think logically ensures dental office managers can deal with issues and make sense of pieces of information relating to patient queries or requests from the dental staff.
Written expression: communication with stakeholders is a crucial part of the role of a dental office manager. Being able to express themselves in writing is essential to ensure that requests are communicated accurately and appropriately depending on the audience.
Teamwork and leadership: dental office managers work as part of a wider team. The ability to bring the team together, work effectively and ensure that everyone works to the best of their ability ensures the team upholds the highest standards.
Oral expression: working with several people in their daily role calls for dental office managers to be able to verbally express themselves clearly so that others can understand the key messages.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a dental office manager?
When hiring a dental office manager, to ensure you hire the best people from your candidate pool, the following soft skills tests can be used as part of your recruitment process:
Leadership: a scenario-based multiple-choice assessment that evaluates how well candidates can delegate, handle difficult situations and manage their time. The test uses scenarios that candidates will likely face when working in the role.
Interpersonal skills: this test looks at an individual's skills in working with others, varying their communication style, and whether they can deal with difficult situations with empathy to reach an amicable solution. The assessment is scenario-based, with the test taker selecting which of the options given is their most preferred and least preferred way to respond in the given scenario.
Time management: a test of how well individuals can manage their time to meet a deadline or goal. This assessment also looks at how well candidates can work under pressure and juggle multiple tasks.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a dental office manager?
Several pre-employment screening tests can assess candidates for the technical and aptitudes needed to be a dental office manager.
Logical reasoning: designed to determine whether candidates can think logically to solve problems. This test evaluates an individual's deductive and inductive reasoning skills and ability to keep calm when working under pressure.
Error checking: a multiple choice assessment designed to assess an individual's ability to identify errors in sets of data.
Numerical reasoning: tests an individual's ability to work with numerical data. This test requires individuals to use basic mathematical concepts such as fractions or percentages to select which of the multiple choice answers is correct. This test also evaluates individuals' ability to manage their time.
Verbal reasoning: an assessment of an individual's reading comprehension ability. Candidates need to read, interpret and analyse short text passages to make logical inferences or conclusions based on what they have read and understood.
Microsoft Word: a practical assessment of an individual's skill level when using all elements of the Microsoft word package.
Our recommended test battery for a dental office manager
Based on the skills and abilities needed to be a successful dental office manager, we recommend using the following assessments:
Leadership: a test of whether individuals can work effectively and lead a team while being a productive team member, bringing out the best in others, and helping the team to reach a common goal.
Interpersonal skills: assessing candidates' ability to communicate with empathy when dealing with difficult situations. This test also evaluates an individual's emotional intelligence.
Logical reasoning: evaluating an individual's problem-solving ability using inductive and deductive reasoning. This test uses non-verbal information and also assesses candidate's analytical thinking skills.
Numerical reasoning: an assessment that looks at whether individuals are able to work with numerical data to solve problems.
Microsoft Word: a test that determines how competent a person is when using Microsoft Word as relevant to the role of a dental office manager.