When interviewing, the dentist wants to learn whether you're qualified for the position and if it will be a mutually rewarding professional relationship. You will need to determine whether you can be successful in the position and if the practice will provide you with the opportunity for growth and development.
To make a positive impression during the interview:
- Be on time for your interview. Dentists expect their staff to arrive on time. They may think that someone who is late to an interview will have difficulty arriving on time or maintaining a patient schedule.
- Smile and maintain eye contact to convey confidence.
- When shaking hands, make sure your grip is firm and confident.
- Be conscious of nonverbal communication. Don't slouch in a chair, twiddle your thumbs, or cross your arms.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- When speaking, be polite and professional and avoid using slang.
Keep the interview positive. Let your enthusiasm show. Be excited about what you've accomplished. Avoid making negative remarks about any previous positions or employers, but answer questions truthfully, frankly, and succinctly.
If you are asked a tough question, maintain your composure and take extra time to think before replying. Rather than recite your history, emphasize problems solved and contributions made.
Ask the dentist to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can apply your background, skills, and accomplishments to the position.
Find out about the challenges the practice may face. Make sure you are not only asking questions and listening to the answers, but also reading between the lines.
Here are some questions that show you are interested in learning more about the position and the practice:
- Why is this position available? (If it's the result of termination, ask why the person was terminated.)
- Do you have a job description I could review?
- What do you feel are the most important characteristics in an associate?
- What is your management style?
- Why would a well-qualified individual choose to work in your practice rather than in another practice?
- How will you measure my performance? Will my pay be tied to my performance?
- What is a typical workday like?
- What do you consider the ideal experience for this position?
- What are the biggest challenges facing someone in this position?
- What objectives would you like to accomplished by the person you hire for this position?
- Is there a training period for this position?
- What is your assessment of my status for the position?
Taking notes during an interview is an excellent way to capture important information about the practice, the job, the people you're interviewing with and questions you may have during the interview. Use a professional looking notebook and pen.
If you'd like to receive an offer for the position, express your interest. Say something like, "I'm very impressed with your practice and the people I've met. I am confident I could do an excellent job in the position you've described to me."
Ask about the selection process and when a decision will be made. Very rarely does an interviewer make an offer during the first interview. It is likely that he or she will get back to you within a few weeks with an offer, a rejection, or an invitation to interview with other staff members.
Second interviews can range from several hours to an entire day in length. You may interview with other staff members, all of whom may participate in the hiring decision.
During the second interview, the dentist will often follow up on your earlier responses to questions. At this point, salary, benefits, and a possible start date may be discussed.
The second interview is when you may be asked to take a skills test. More and more employers are asking potential employees to take a skills test. Pre-employment skills testing is considered a valuable tool to round out the personal interview, lend objectivity to the hiring process, and help dentists identify the candidate who has the best skills and aptitude for the position.