The Need to Connect Online: Associates, Principals and the Hiring Process

May 15, 2013 | Dental |

What is the first thing that comes to mind when considering the associate/principal hiring process? Overwhelmingly, I have found that the common answer to this question is frustration. Dentists are fortunate to have bucked the universal unemployment trend due to their specific training and demand – yet the hiring process has remained static, inconsistent, and inefficient, leading to frustration for both associates and principals.


Since the Internet reached mass adoption, hiring processes have been integrated into the ebb and flow of online environments. The Internet provides increased transparency and accountability, something every employee and employer should intrinsically desire.


It is only in relatively recent times that the Internet really began attracting a diverse mass audience. Ten years ago, my parents (68 and 66 years old, today) were in their infancy regarding how to access the possibilities of the Internet. However, in the last three years they have begun to navigate the Internet like veterans – from their phone, no less.


This is largely thanks to Moore’s law. A term coined to describe the period of time – commonly acknowledged as 18 months – that it takes for computer processing to double its capacity. These exponential increases in processing speed translate into more efficient products, more user-friendly applications, and more dynamic online social interaction.


It might be hard to believe, but Facebook has been online for eight years, LinkedIn for ten. There are 4,600+ Canadian dentists with profiles on LinkedIn, and countless more on Facebook. With the new generation of graduate dentists, in many instances, their social networks will hold more relevant content than they would ever fit on a resume; but social networks are still maturing, and their content remains scattered and somewhat abstract. As social networks mature, perhaps the hiring process will be changed in ways we cannot yet conceptualize – but that future does not concern us now.


Right now, dentists – associates and principals alike – are evidently frustrated by the inefficiency and fragmentation of the hiring process. In the same ten years that saw my parents go from Internet infants to google gurus, the avenues for dental recruitment have not changed. Job opportunities are living breathing things, and the dental industry’s reliance on static print articles and cluttered, fragmented websites lacks that dynamic user-friendly feel that Moore’s law has otherwise pushed to the forefront.


You may be thinking, ‘Well, there are headhunters that can be hired to find associates,’ and there are, but headhunters are in the same boat as principals – they have no central associate source to rely upon. Again, the discovery process is fragmented and inefficient.


Principals and recruiters should be going to where the associates are. More and more associates are adopting an online presence, but there is no go-to place for them to create an identity and get noticed. Much like the job postings they are seeking, associates are scattered about, and opportunities are being missed.


Of course, by human nature, we all have our own professional and personal preferences and these differences can cause tension in associate/principal relationships. While individual differences will never be eliminated, aligning values and improving hiring processes will mitigate the risk of incompatibility, and will always result in better business decisions.


In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article on the Internet titled Content is King, explaining that content is the means by which money will be made using the Internet. Seventeen years later, we are absolutely inundated with content. Now and in the future, navigating that content is the name of the game; it can be said that relevant content is the ace.


Big business is leveraging relevant content because, although hard to specifically quantify, the return on investment cannot be ignored. Recent data shows that 79 of the Fortune 100 companies are using multiple social media networks to connect with and parse their stakeholders.[1] It follows that the relevant content revolution is inherently improving our hiring processes.


As a niche, associates and principals have unique needs such as confidentiality and anonymity. They deserve a service that addresses these unique needs and encourages the communication of relevant content. Associates should be able to search jobs and post their profile. Principals should be able to post jobs and access associate profiles.


A search of the online dental employment marketplace shows that there is more than one service, but they are difficult to navigate, and almost make it seem like the Internet is a fad. Associates want the perfect job; principals want the perfect hire; but print tradition and disorganized online attempts have suppressed the adoption of an effective central hub. The analogy that comes to mind here is plowing fields with horses: it has been getting the job done, but there is a better way. The above analysis led to the creation of, a site designed to be user-friendly, to facilitate relevant content, and to be that central hub.



Bottom Line: This article explores the catalyst behind our online presence, and how our online presence can be leveraged to improve the associate-principal hiring process.


Greg Tanner is a co-founder of, a website designed to improve the hiring process between associate and principal dentists. He is an investor, entrepreneur, lifelong student, and outdoor enthusiast. Reach Greg by phone at 289 407 8772 or by email at