You have completed your studies and now it’s time to get paid instead of a grade for all your hard work! Hopefully it will not take you long to set up for your first job interview. Though it is impossible to prepare for every single question they may throw at you we will review some of the most common. Also, it is important to make a good first impression and avoid things that could turn potential employers away. There is always a good possibility that there is more than one applicant for the position.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT!
Of course you should dress professional and exude confidence when you walk in the door. Confidence is different than arrogance, do not confuse the two, but this is your chance to show that you are confident in your skills. Be courteous; make eye contact, but most importantly BE YOURSELF! Hiring the right personality fit for the practice is extremely important. Once you are hired you will appreciate the fact that they knew you would “fit in”.
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS
How did the interviewer make you feel? Can you see yourself being part of this dental practice team? Make sure their corporate values are in line with your own personal values and that you are not having to compromise your morals in any way to be a part of this team. Dentistry is a business, but a practice that over diagnoses treatment needs and herds patients through like cattle is unethical. Do your research and know what you are getting yourself into.
PREPARE FOR THE MOST LIKELY QUESTIONS
You cannot prepare for every single question, but knowing the most popular questions will be helpful. However, there will always be those surprise questions that some interviewers ask like “if you were an animal, what would you be?”
Some of the most popular questions are:
- why should we hire you (what makes you right for the position)
- what are your strengths
- what are your weaknesses (do not say that you have none)
- previous job experience
- what are your salary expectations (do research to know what is average for your area and your experience level)
- what questions do you have (always be prepared with questions)
- what are your short term and long term goals, etc.
They may also ask for you to describe a specific example of a time that you had to overcome something or take initiative to solve a problem. If you are a recent graduate this should be an easy question to answer! Dental Hygiene school provides plenty of obstacles to overcome!
WHAT NOT TO SAY
This is your chance to make a good first impression. You don’t want to screw it up by saying something that will have them marking you off the candidate list! Here are a few things to avoid: don’t ask immediately about salary and benefits, do not say that you have no questions for them, do not speak badly about previous employers that you have had, and do not set unrealistic expectations.
ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
- How many active patients does the practice have
- What is the estimated overhead cost for hygiene per hour?
- Is the practice primarily HMO? PPO? FFS?
- How much treatment time is allotted for hygiene patients?
RELAX AND BE YOURSELF
Practice what your answers will be for the most popular questions that will most likely be asked. Maybe even do a “mock” interview with a family member or friend so when the big interview comes you will be more prepared. Most importantly be YOU! This is for your benefit and theirs!