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Practice Owners: How To Find An Associate

Practice Owners: How to Find an Associate

At Carolinas Dental Advisors, our goal is to bring you relevant content throughout the year to help you continually improve your practice. In today’s video, Brad McKeiver of Aprio CPA Firm and Ben Shaver discuss how and why practice owners seek associates.

Introducing Ben Shaver

With 15 years in the field, Ben Shaver is a member of Carolinas Dental Advisors and runs Venture Practices. Venture Practices develops management systems geared toward leadership development and team optimization. The goal is to make sure each team member is proficient and passionate about his/her job.

Venture Practices also focuses on the organizational structure and branding. Branding goes beyond just marketing. Clients learn to actually connect with the community so marketing is more than traditional advertising.

Carolinas Dental Advisors: Not Just Any Group of Advisors

Carolinas Dental Advisors is not just a referral network. Our team spends time together brainstorming ways to help our dentists with issues they may be having. 

Why Do Practice Owners Seek Associates?

One of the current issues we see is that many dentists want to execute a business plan that involves having an associate. However, they need help finding an associate with the right fit.

Tools Used to Find an Associate

Associates now are becoming the lifeblood of a practice. Finding the right one depends on what you want.


When hiring an associate, you need to develop the criteria for what you want. If you are a solo dentist of a practice, you may have a particular goal. 

Do you want to scale back and not work as much? 

Do you want to do more production work? 

In multi-location practices, the issue of associates always comes up. This is a big deal. We start with the criteria to determine what you need in an associate.

Do you need a leader or someone who simply works, does the job, and goes home at the end of the day? 

An active associate has a leadership role, whereas a passive associate is a staff member who simply does the job and is part of the practice culture. 


Assessments are also part of finding the right associate fit. We look at behavioral, values, and attributes assessments. 

  • Behavioral assessments look at how someone behaves on the job. Is he/she a people person? Are they task or detail-oriented?
  • Values assessments determine what drives the person. A high-economic associate is driven by money and wants a financial return. A high-political person wants to be a leader and would be an active associate. The high-political associates tend to leave faster, usually in 18 months to 2 years, but they are higher producers. A high-aesthetic person loves what they do but wants a work-life balance. A high-altruist loves working with people.
  • Attributes assessments are done less often. If something shows up during the interview, an assessment is done to see if there will be any issues with the associate fit. 

As Dr. Michael Williams shares with us, clinical assessments are also done to see if an associate is the right fit for a practice. Clinical assessments can only be performed by the dentist or doctor. You may assume that with the same educational background that everyone has the same clinical skills, but that’s not always the case. 

In the early stages, you may hold an associate closer, collaborate on diagnoses and treatment plans, and make sure everyone is on the same page. On some level, you may go back and check an associate’s work, but you also need to give clinical autonomy

Contact Carolinas Dental Advisors

Let Carolinas Dental Advisors help you find the right associate for your practice. Contact us today for more information and check out the full video of today’s discussion on associates.

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