What are employers really looking for in a dental assistant? What are they looking for on your resume and during your interview for the position?
We have the answers that you need to know to understand what an employer is looking for when they think of their perfect dental assistant!
Ability To Work Well With Others
We have all heard it before, but it is especially true in a dental office. The entire dental office works as a team together. Every position helps in some way to assist the patient, and then hand the patient off to the next position.
As a dental assistant, you may be one of the first people that a patient interacts with when they come into the office. If this is the case then it is even more important to fully understand what that patient is going to need during their time at your dental practice. In order to serve the patient in the best possible way, it is important to understand everyone else’s position and be on amicable terms with them.
Every dental practice will benefit when its employees work as a catalyst for positive company culture. This goes further than to just be positive about the dental practice itself. This includes trying to be positive with all other team members if possible. Creating a positive and welcoming environment will prove to be beneficial for the entire dental practice. This will allow the dental practice to more easily get temps if necessary, and it will assist the morale of all permanent employees that are also working with you.
Everyone wants to love where they work considering how much time individuals spend at work. If you are working to help better everyone’s experience at work by being a team player then that positivity will also bleed over into the team's interaction with patients. Most businesses believe that positivity can spread, but negativity can as well.
Make sure in the interview that you stress when applicable that you function well on a team, and are looking forward to a team player environment.
This is something that the employer will be looking for as soon as they start speaking with you. Most of your position as a dental assistant is going to be working with and speaking with patients. In order to maintain a positive reputation at a dental practice, they will need to have people who are able to communicate efficiently and politely with all of their patients.
Nothing can turn a patient off more than if they feel like they are not being heard, or listened to. It is known that people typically have anxiety when it comes to going to a dental practice. Most anxiety comes from some form of unknown. This unknown can be for an upcoming procedure or operation, or it can be the unknown of potential pain from their teeth cleaning. No matter what, when a patient is expressing their concern it is important to make them feel heard.
As we mentioned previously, this is going to be something that the interviewer will be looking for during your conversation together. Are you frequently interjecting in the middle of them speaking to clarify a point or answer the question preemptively? While some may see this as positive and beneficial, it can very easily be perceived as disregarding the importance of someone speaking and feeling the need to interject.
We would recommend that even if there is some form of clarification or correction that you need to address or make that you wait until after the individual is finished speaking to provide that clarification. This will prevent your interjection or correction from being perceived as rude.
This may seem like one of the more obvious abilities that you would need to possess as a dental assistant, but it is still going to be something that the employer will want to be sure of and be able to verify.
Some of the technical skills you need to know are things such as how to read blood pressure, take dental impressions, dental x-rays, and skills that you already have learned through your education in becoming a dental assistant.
The job posting will more than likely have all required specifications and qualifications necessary to perform the job, and if there isn't then you can confirm with the employer during your interview your job responsibilities. Having a full understanding of your job responsibilities before accepting a position will allow you to feel comfortable stepping into that role knowing that you are qualified to do so.
Being Organized And Paying Attention To Detail
A large portion of being a dental assistant is also going to be a lot of management. Some of this management will result in having to balance multiple things at once and that is something we will go over more in the next section.
What we wanted to review here is the attention to detail that is going to be needed in the position at most dental practices.
As a dental assistant, you are going to be responsible for making sure that the patient is safe, comfortable, that their patient records are accurate and organized within the categorical filing system that your dental practice has, as well as making sure that certain tools are properly organized and sterilized before procedures.
All of these can become drastically more difficult if the dental assistant is not detail-oriented in their approach to the job. Such as forgetting which dental instruments and tools have already been sterilized, and which ones still need to be sterilized.
Or misplacing a patient’s file.
There are tons of things that come up in the middle of tasks when you are working on them, and sometimes that can lead to other things being pushed to the side for your prioritization. That is completely understandable, but your attention to detail regarding the most important factors and placements of sensitive information is going to be vital to the success of a dental assistant.
Balancing Multiple Goals And Objectives At The Same Time
As we said previously, there are going to be a multitude of things that arise that will require your attention. One of the most important things to consider when things are arising is going to be how quickly each task can be completed, and the immediate importance of its completion.
For example, you are going in retrieving a patient’s file so that way they can complete their sign-in process and a dental hygienist calls you as you walk by for your assistance. In this case, if the situation does not seem urgent for the assistance you may inform them that you just need to grab a quick file in order to finish helping another patient, and then you’ll be heading their way immediately after.
While this may seem like a simple decision at the time there are going to be more decisions you will have to make and use your judgment on through rapid situational analysis and decision making.
That may sound complicated but it is something we do every single day whenever we make a decision.