Hiring an office manager

Finding an office manager who fits your culture can make a big difference to the success of your practice. Here are some simple tips to help make that happen.

It goes without saying that you won’t hire an office manager who doesn’t possess the relevant skill set and work experience to do the job but focusing on qualifications alone won’t tell you how well they’ll mesh with your team. Cover the following four compatibility criteria in your job description.

Core values

Include a statement that best represents the top one or two values that matter most in your workplace. It could be honesty, compassion, the drive to succeed or a passion for having fun at work. Make it clear and obvious, so that a potential candidate understands exactly where you stand.


Some dental offices are all-business. Others are filled with laughter. There’s no right or wrong office culture, but you can easily see how an office manager who likes to joke around wouldn’t get along well with a team of quiet, driven individuals. Likewise, a manager who is solemn and stern might not mesh with a relaxed group of employees.

Work environment

Some people thrive in a pressure cooker, where every day is packed with deadlines and challenges. Others prefer a slow-paced workday where productivity matters but it’s not the top priority. Some people get bored with predictable routines and others need predictability to keep happy.

Emotional intelligence

All managers should possess a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ) to succeed. High EQ people are those who can manage their own and others’ emotions well. Common traits include: empathy, self-awareness, willingness to apologize and alter behaviors and introspection.

Touch on all these criteria during an interview

During interviews, it’s a good idea to ask for examples of relevant past behavior in given scenarios.

  • Ask for examples of when they demonstrated their core values in the workplace.
  • Find out what kind of personality types they prefer to work with.
  • Describe the work environment at your office and ask for examples of similar settings they’ve worked in before. How did they like it?
  • Ask for examples of instances where they had to manage their emotions or the emotions of other staff at the workplace.

You can always train for task-related skills on the job, but hiring an incompatible personality can lead to significant problems.