Once you’ve jumped through all of the hoops required to start a new dental practice and the doors are almost open you need to start thinking about hiring practice staff. We’ll talk about hiring dentists at a later stage and the different ways that can be done, right now we’re talking about admin staff and dental assistants.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published an excellent guide to hiring new employees online which can be found by clicking here but we thought it would be worthwile to summarise the guide here and add a dental-specific flavour.

Step One: Know the law

If you’re going to be an employer you need to understand Australia’s National Employment Standards to know your responsibilities and the rights of employees, particularly when it comes to leave entitlements and termination.

If you haven’t negotiated an enterprise agreement with your employees then a modern award will set out the minimum wages and conditions that apply. For the dental industry the award is MA000027 Health Professionals & Support Services Award 2010. There are two key documents which can be found online regarding the Health Professionals & Support Services Award:

Click here to open the full award including all conditions and definitions.

Click here to open the current 2016/17 pay guide for the Health Professionals & Support Services Award. Please note these pay rates are adjusted each year at 1 July.

You also need to be across your taxation and superannuation requirements as well as record-keeping requirements and your obligations regarding workplace health and safety (as soon as you hire your first employee don’t forget to register for Workers Compensation insurance with your relevant State body).

Step Two: Think about hiring

It is important to consider the types of personalities, without discriminating of course, that you would like in your business…people that match your style and temperament. This will obviously lead to a happier workplace.

The importance of defining the roles that are required within the practice cannot be emphasised enough. Breaking down all of the duties required and assigning them to specific roles within the practice will ultimately lead to a more efficient team who understand their responsibilities clearly (and a more efficient team leads to a better bottom line at the end of the day).

When you’re interviewing prospective employees a clear list of their duties will also allow help you to understand if they have the skills and/or experience for the role.

For the dental profession you also need to include the appropriate immunisations and licences as part of your hiring checklist.

Step Three: Attract the right people

Make sure you include plenty of detail with regard to the required skills and experience when advertising the role…it’s best to ensure that hopeful candidates meet the criteria before coming in for an interview, this just avoids anyone’s time being wasted.

And advertise everywhere to get the best applicants.

Step Four: Choose the right person

Shortlist applicants for the most suitable fit before interviewing. Click here for Fair Work’s online course ‘Hiring employees’ which provides some excellent insight into good interviewing skills.

Step Five: Offer of employment

Along with a phone call you should always provide a written letter of offer outlining the duties and employment conditions. Along with the employment offer you should send all necessary paperwork for compliance including the Fair Work information statement, tax file number declaration and superannuation choice forms. This compliance can now be done electronically via nifty tools like Deploy Onboarder to make life super easy for you.

Getting things off on the right foot with new employees is critical to a happy and productive workplace…a comprehensive approach to hiring is the best start. Good luck with it!


The Finance Dept is a Brisbane-based accounts firm specialising in the Dental industry. Call 1300 855 721 if you wish to discuss how we can help you or please click here to submit an enquiry and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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