10 Elements of a Dental Job Description

Robyn Reis, the Director of Hiring at All-Star Dental Academy, is interviewed by Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA about the 10 elements of a dental job description, in this episode of Dental All-Stars. Robyn emphasizes the importance of having a clear and current job description that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of each role in the dental practice. She discusses the key elements of a job description, including the title, employee status, reporting structure, essential duties, qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities, licenses and certifications, physical and environmental requirements, and the inclusion of a phrase allowing for additional duties to be assigned. Robyn highlights common mistakes in job descriptions and provides practical steps for improving them, such as involving the team in creating essential job duty lists and seeking their input for potential new positions.


About Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn’s personal goals are to make a difference in someone’s life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham.


Welcome to Dental All-Stars. Our guest is Robyn Reis. Robyn is the Director of Hiring at All-Star Dental Academy. She is also a certified HR consultant with Ben Erickson and Associates and a guest faculty at the Panky Institute. She helps hundreds of practices with practice administration, marketing, HR, hiring, and team culture. The topic today is the 10 elements of a dental job description. This is part one of a five-part series on


the five steps of dental hiring. Please welcome Robin.


Hello, we are doing a five part series on the five steps of dental hiring. I remember talking with you, Robyn, and I’m like, let’s do a podcast on five steps of dental hiring, and we’re gonna do it in 10 to 15 minutes. You said, not possible, there’s no way. These are, this is probably a day long program. So let’s break it down into digestible parts. So we’ll do, we’ll start with the first step in this episode, the net.


Next episode, we’ll go to the other steps. And maybe you can, in each episode, just give us a broad view of the five steps so we know what they are. And then we’ll focus on the first step in this interview. We’ll do the next step and we’ll review as we go along. So Robin, take it away. Great, Alex. Thanks so much. The first step really is about the foundation.


It is making sure that practices have a personnel manual that helps understand the relationship between the employer and the employee or the doctor and the team member. Much like most practices have systems in place how to do certain tasks, we really need a manual to understand the relationship of our team members to our practice. And that really talks about vision, values, philosophies, of course, the legal.


parts, right? We can’t forget about the legal parts. But the first step for me is to really have a clear, current job description. And Alex, you and I have talked on numerous ways of what happens when we’re doing interviewing and practices make assumptions on, oh, this person has X amount of years of experience in this role. They automatically know what to do.


And we know that making those assumptions often lead to miscommunication or confusion. So the step one is to have that job description that clearly identifies expectations of what this role does for your practice. The idea that we are creating this recipe for success, the purpose of this job description will really be used throughout the life


span of the practice and it’s going to evolve. It’s not one and done and put on a shelf. It is really an evolving description of let’s use dental assistant for an example. As a dental assistant in our practice, you are expected to make temporaries, poor models, scan using a scanner or 3D printing or, you know, helping with the hygiene department.


Some practices, a dental assistant is only going to assist the doctor with some procedures. I’ve met dental assistants that have 10 years of experience and are able to use air and water syringes. That’s it. I’ve met dental assistants fresh out of school that have less than a year experience, but yet they can stain and glaze like nobody’s business on a CEREC machine, or they are exceptional at presenting treatment. So it really is


all for the benefit of the practice to understand how can we set this person up for success in our practice. And so there are key elements that you want to include in a job description. It’s not just a piece of paper with here are your daily tasks. You know, this is what we expect you to do. It’s much more than that. So there are essentially 10 elements to a job description. Really? The first. Yeah. The first is stepping back before you get right into it. Yeah. Give me a bit of a man. You’re


Right out the gate. So we’re talking about the five steps to dental hiring. And there are five steps, right? So just kind of give a broad view. The job description. We have the job posting is a second. Which uses the job description to write the job posting. OK. The interview. Interview process, yes. Then the offer and due diligence is four. Correct.


and then onboarding five. Yes. And it’s very important that we go in order and we follow these steps because, and I guess, do dentists don’t follow steps. They tell me just briefly, what are some of the mistakes that are happening in dental hiring in general that you see the biggest mistakes? They’re not clear.


on expectations of the role, they make assumptions. They don’t do their homework. They don’t check previous employment. They don’t do background checks. They hire immediately when they meet somebody and don’t have anybody else interview the applicant. And I would say there’s no onboarding process for the applicant to really understand, you know,


integrating themselves into a new office and into a new team. Do me a favor. As you get into the job description, point out any landmines that you find with doctors that they get into so that they can be aware of it. Because we’re laying out, for those that are listening, we’re laying out the steps that we use in our All-Star Dental Academy hiring service program for you. This is what we do. This is what we recommend. And I kind of glossed over your background a little bit. I mean, you have.


decades of experience hiring and HR consulting. So I just put, and I’ll put Robin’s full bio in the show notes so you can see how impressive she is, but we have her all the time. So it’s gonna get maybe annoying for the listener if I keep repeating how great you are. So read it in the show notes, but Robyn is amazing. So we’re gonna talk- That is annoying. That is annoying. We’re gonna go into the job description. Let’s go into that. You mentioned there were 10 elements of it. Let’s take a listen.


Correct. First is the title. You have to give it a title so you know how to classify this particular role in your practice. And then the employee status. This is a landmine for a lot of practices. This identifies from the government standpoint and labor law standpoint, is this person an exempt position or a non-exempt position? 98% of dental team members in the dental industry are considered non-exempt.


which means that they’re entitled to minimum wage. If they work over 40 hours in a work week, they get an overtime premium. Now again, that’s a high level description. An exempt position is typically for a higher up regional manager, office manager, administrator who has oversight, but they must meet four very specific duty tests according to the government to be classified as exempt. So,


Again, high level, those four duties, you have to meet all four. It’s not just, well, they meet one, but they don’t meet the other three. Then it can’t be an exempt position. And that really, you know, most often is a salary position. They typically are working more than 40 hours in a work week. They might be traveling to different locations, but what’s most important part of those duties test is do, can they make


decisions in matters of significance for the practice, such as hiring, firing, buying a large piece of equipment, making investments on behalf of the practice. So that’s a landmine. The employee status classification is what is most important to identify early on. Is this an exempt or non-exempt position? You want to have the third element to a job description is who does this person report to?


who’s gonna be doing their coaching conference or performance review, who do they go to if there’s an issue or a problem. The job summary, a real brief paragraph, this role is a key member of our team or our clinical team, and is responsible for assisting the dentist. Things like that, that you wanna make sure that are clearly identified because again,


One dental assistant responsibility enroll in one practice could be very, very different than in your practice. So you wanna do a nice little summary. Again, using this recipe for success will also help step two, which is the job posting. But after job summary, the fifth element is the essential duties. What is this person going to do as a primary essential duty?


Now, some people’s teams are small enough that they have multiple hats that they wear. We just wanna focus on primarily, what are the essential job duties? What are we hiring you to do on a regular, consistent basis? Now, you might have secondary job duties. You might be cross-trained to do other things, but you want the essential job duties. The next element is qualifications. What specific…


educational qualifications does this person need? Is there a certification that they need or a certain training ability? So qualifications for sure you wanna know. The next part is the knowledge, skills and abilities. What specifically are you expecting at a bare minimum that this person have? The knowledge, skills and ability is a key part.


to also meet EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Council, requirements on are you offering this fairly to every applicant that applies. These are also things that help in the job interview and the recruitment process on understanding what is the bare minimum, what do we need to have in order for this person to function in our office.


So the knowledge, skills, and abilities are also sometimes considered the people skills or the soft skills, the things that sometimes you can’t necessarily train for. For example, the ability to engender trust with your team and patients and supervisors, the ability to accept constructive feedback to learn on the job, things like those.


are what you want to include under those knowledge, skills, and abilities. Next element is the licenses and certifications. Is there a certain level of education, not education, but certification that you need in radiographs? Sometimes that’s part of the licensing requirement. Other states don’t require that.


And then going back to the education and experience level, is this an entry level position? Is this a position that really requires two or more years sitting chair side in a private practice? These are the things to think about, again, coming up as a recipe for success. And then the other element and landmine to consider.


is the physical and environmental requirements. This helps with the EEOC, but also the Americans with Disabilities Act. A lot of job descriptions that we get are just a sheet of here are all the tasks, open the office, listen to voicemail, water the plants kind of thing. But under physical and environmental requirements, you really have to list, is this a sedentary position? Do you have to be able to bend down and lift and twist?


Do you have to help sedate patients from one room to another? So these are things, you know, what kind of noise and smells will this position be subjected to? So those are the elements that you want to include in a job description. And then last but not least, this is what we call the magical phrase.


you put in at the bottom of your job description, additional duties may be assigned occasionally at the discretion of the employer. And that does meet, again, requirements for assigning somebody a job duty that may not appear on their essential job duties, but you need that person to do it to help the office function, or for that day, if you’re missing some team members.


that they can step in and help out. That goes hand in hand with the cross training. But that phrase also prevents somebody from saying, which doctors tell us all the time, they don’t like hearing is, well, that’s not my job. My job is to stay in my lane. Well, that magical phrase, it allows you to assign something to someone for a day, a week, a month, whatever it might be, at the discretion of the employer.


And that then follows some legal requirements for making sure that the person does the job, you’re asking them to do a task on that particular instance or day. So those are the elements of a job description. The title, the employment status, who they report to, you want to have a nice little job summary, the essential job duties, any…


qualifications that this person might need, knowledge, skills, and abilities, education and experience, licensing and certification, physical and environmental requirements, and of course that magical phrase at the end.


We talked earlier about mistakes in general. What are some mistakes relating to the job description that you see often?


A lot of practices don’t have one. So that’s mistake number one. Uh, number two, they don’t have all the required elements to be compliant with regulatory, uh, requirements. The description really, um, misses some of those pieces. They might have a really good essential job duty list, but they might be missing. Gosh, you have to be able to lift 25 pounds on a regular basis. Um,


The other part I would say too is when a job offer is made, it’s not clear on the job description on whether it’s a full-time, part-time or temporary position. What is the next step, my action step that I can put in place tomorrow to start improving my job description? Any exercises or recommendations to move forward? Great question, Alex. And I think it’s an,


Awesome opportunity if you are listening to this and think, oh my gosh, we don’t have any job description. It’s a great team building activity. Have your team members in each role that they’re sitting write down here’s what I do on a regular basis. And sometimes I help Sally in the hygiene department or sometimes I help Mary at the front desk. So if you can distill down a great essential job duty list, you can build the rest of that job description around that.


and know pretty much the knowledge, skills, and abilities and the physical and environmental requirements are gonna be pretty similar to all the positions in your office. So you can build that template to begin with and understand who do they report to, is this an exempt or not exempt position? And again, we already talked about most dental practices are not, team members are not exempt and start there.


just start with the team filling out a form that says, here’s what I typically do, and ask them, do you need any additional training? If we were to add another position, what would that look like? What would you suggest that we look for? So it really is a team sport to put those job descriptions together. If you don’t have one, the other option is to, do a Google search or reach out to an HR.


company that has job descriptions that can help you in that process. With the hiring service, do you do job descriptions? What do you do at All-Star Hiring and why would I consider that versus doing it myself? Another great question, Alex. And yes, we will help our hiring clients to create those recipes for success.


in taking a look at their job description to make sure that it is clear and understandable and it’s achieving what they want to achieve in this particular role. Also to make sure that they are compliant with certain labor laws. And also to get them started on putting together a wonderful team driven part of their practice which is helping everyone understand what each person does in their role.


It’s the collective wisdom and efforts of the team that really helps drive practice success. So we know that if a practice doesn’t have clear, understandable job descriptions, there may be room for miscommunication and confusion, and maybe even stressful situations that could be avoided if other people know what everyone does in the practice. And I think starting with


hey, let’s as a team, let’s list everything out that we do in doctors. What a great opportunity for you to know, gosh, I didn’t know so-and-so did that for us, or I didn’t know that person was responsible. I just thought it magically happened. And sometimes doctors don’t really recognize a lot of the energy and effort that team members put into their role to make things work so smoothly.


So you would facilitate with your hiring service the creation of the job description, both either you write it or help facilitate it with the dentist, correct? To get what they’re looking for. Yes, we absolutely can do that and assist them with that process, yes. Okay, and then you take it all from the beginning, from the job description all the way to hiring, the interview, to the onboarding protocol at the very end. So your full service from the beginning to the end hiring.


correct, finding a candidate and so on. Okay. Yes, we do all of it. And that’s been very popular because doctors are like, okay, this is, is this worth my time? Do I do it well enough? Because first they start out saying, all right, I’m just gonna post on Indeed, whatever, and hopefully I’ll get some resumes. And it’s a lot of work. And knowing the nuances.


and outsourcing where I can be producing $500 an hour running my business, which is what I enjoy doing and have someone do it that knows what they’re doing is really nice. And the genesis of the All-Star Hiring Service was that so many team members that we worked with and coached with over the years, Robyn, or dentists were like, I can’t train because they don’t have a team. So we said, wait a second, Robyn ‘s like, I’ve been doing this for decades. Let me help them. And we’ve done that for


Gosh, a handful of years behind the scenes. And then the last few years, a few years ago, we launched All-Star Hiring officially to help with hiring team members. So I’ll put the link, it’s allstardentalacademy.com/hiring, I’ll put the link in the show notes. You can learn more about that, see testimonials, see how the pricing works, and very straightforward. Robyn, we completed the dental job description. There were 10 elements. In the next episode, we’ll talk about


the dental job posting. Thank you for being on the podcast. And please remember everyone to follow us on Apple podcasts and Spotify and the more five star reviews and comments on our show page tells us you like what you’re hearing. And until next time, go out there and be an All-Star.


We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at AllStarDentalAcademy.com.


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