Fling a toothbrush in any direction, and you’re likely to hit somebody ready to regale you with commiserative stories of stressful job-hunting. No matter which side of the desk you find yourself on, the search for that perfect employer-employee fit can be a nerve-wracking ordeal that drives even the most promising candidates into the arms of a third-party agency pledging to alleviate the pain while simultaneously introducing all new obstacles to hurdle. With such a pervasive shared experience, one can be forgiven for surrendering to the process under the assumption that it’s an inescapable part of modern life. But wandering the floor of the 2014 CDA Presents convention in San Francisco, I encountered someone who has sparked a plan to combat the status quo and executed it with deft precision, inciting in me a bittersweet mixed reaction of “Sweet! What a great concept!” and “Blast! Why didn’t I think of that?” That person was Andrew Lee, CEO and founder of ToothPyk.com.
Andrew tells an all-too-familiar story. After graduating from a dental hygienist program, the scarcity of local opportunities compelled him to sign with a local staffing agency specializing in dental careers. Unfortunately, for someone seeking full-time employment, the blade was double-edged: The agency, like many others, bound its constituents with contracts that disallowed them from accepting an employment position unless the hiring dentist paid a contract buy-out fee to the agency. With these buy-outs priced well into the four-figures, Andrew’s skills and rapport with the dentist of the day did little to tip the scales of a cost-benefit analysis when pitted against another candidate unbound by the same contract. Additionally, while the hourly wage paid by the dentist was commensurate to industry standard, Andrew would see only a percentage of that wage after the agency garnished the gross for its fees.
Over eight years in the industry, he earned his Master of Business Administration with a focus on health care management. Once armed with both an MBA and an RDH, Andrew created ToothPyk.com, an internet startup company designed to establish a system that puts the power back into the hands of the dentist and the auxiliary staff member, and removes the third-party self-interest from the equation. “The motivation came from a need to help the dental industry recover from an employment issue that has challenged dental professionals for decades,” he told RDH magazine in a September 2014 interview. “I was able to amalgamate the education and experience from both dentistry and business to design and create an easy-to-use tool that helps job-seeking dental professionals enhance their visibility to hiring dentists, while helping these dentists find us without the additional fees and contracts.”
For those proficient with business-related social media, the site will be a familiar affair. Candidates create a professional profile complete with qualifications and license information, days and times available to work, and the ability to attach a resume and a picture. The profile also stores the candidate’s location of residence, which lies at the heart of ToothPyk.com’s user-friendly conceit: Hiring doctors, for a nominal membership fee, can perform searches customized to the specific needs of their practice, with the results displayed on a GPS-driven map that shows the location of all auxiliaries fitting the criteria within a 60-mile radius. The clinician can then peruse the candidates and contact them directly, without the need for any third-party mediation.
As an RDAEF2 who’s done her time on the headhunting circuit, I would have been grateful for the opportunity to present myself directly to potential employers, rather than go through the hand-wringing stress of a job interview knowing that the immediate outcome would be little more than a low-priority spot in a candidate pool. With no preferential treatment given for generating revenue or unwittingly meeting criteria an agent finds personally appealing, candidates at ToothPyk.com can enjoy enhanced visibility constrained only by proximity, and be confident that their depiction to hiring dentists is exactly as they wish to be represented. Likewise, because no one knows the needs of the practice better than the dentist, ToothPyk.com provides the tools necessary to locate the ideal employee for his or her unique business. Through well-defined, thorough profiles, clinicians can find candidates available on the days needed and licensed in the disciplines required. Doctors can even get a sense of candidates’ personalities, all while resting assured that the potential auxiliary resides within the distance of a reasonable commute. And with no staffing fees or additional costs, a temporary or temp-to-hire position can be made permanent with the straightforward dignity of a one-to-one offer. Candidates will see the monetary rewards of their labor in their entirety during trial staffing, and dentists pleased with the fit can offer a staff position with no penalty incurred for removing themselves from the market.
The digital age has brought with it a litany of advances that have increased economy, convenience and communication, and the advent of social media has removed many of the third-party barriers that once stubbornly separated people. With ToothPyk.com, Andrew has tailored these technologies to the distinct staffing needs of the dental industry, providing a user-friendly framework for auxiliary and clinician alike. Placing the power into the hands of those most affected by the outcome, ToothPyk.com removes the hoops imposed by intermediaries, allowing each side of the equation to control its own variables and increasing the likelihood that the expended effort will be rewarded by the perfect match.