Imagine you're looking for your dream job. You sent in your resume (and it got noticed), so today's the big interview! Are you prepared? Well, you will be with the top 10 questions almost every employer is guaranteed to ask. Find them below and be prepared!
Why It's Important to Be Prepared
Because many dental offices are comprised of fewer than 10 employees, competition is fierce. Expect employers to take significant interest in the screening process, which includes putting serious thought into the interview questions that they ask you in order to assure you're the right fit.
Whether it is a phone interview, or if you are going in for a conventional face-to-face interview, it is vitally important to be prepared. Are you ready?
Interview Question #1. How are you when dealing with patients in various states of mind, such as a frightened patient?
Patients have emotions that can not always be predicted. They may be anxious or afraid, preoccupied, or even upset. Since many patients will experience some form of discomfort during their stay at the dental office, and being well-equipped to deal with these patients is often a highly desirable quality in a potential candidate.
Interview Question #2. Are you proficient in handling young patients? What are some of your standard practices with children?
The second question is a follow-up to the first, focusing in on the proficiency of your bedside manner. As some of your patients will often include children, understanding how to deal with their needs makes you especially valuable. Knowing that it is important to get down on a child's level to look them in the eyes when addressing them and offering them a warm smile and encouragement can often be enough to demonstrate that you pay attention to their particular patient needs.
Interview Question #3. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
This is an age-old question, and it is commonly asked when sitting for any interview. While it is certainly important to be genuine when answering all questions, it is often strategic to highlight some of your weaknesses that you are already working on improving, such as:
- Specific job related tasks
- Dealing with interpersonal conflicts more effectively
- Not having the experience of others who may be interviewing for the same position
As for strengths, it can be useful to brainstorm some of the personal characteristics you possess that contribute to you being successful at the position that you are interviewing for. Some common answers include:
- Being organized and having a strong attention to detail
- Great bedside manner and client interaction skills
- Faster than average completion of certain common and relevant tasks
Interview Question #4. What pay range are you expecting for this particular position?
This question seems to really trip many interviewees up, especially since pay ranges in the dental profession tend to vary widely for a variety of reasons that include geography, population density and more. It is best to be strategic and to counter this question by inquiring about the current pay range being offered to past and existing staff for similar positions. If that sort of response does not feel comfortable to you, perhaps doing research and arriving at a range that you feel comfortable with based upon your geographic area is adequate as well.
Some important things to remember when talking about the anticipated pay range for your position:
- Know your worth.
- Be prepared to feel confident expressing your worth!
- Practicing in the mirror can actually help out if you are nervous -- just try it!
Interview Question #5. Would you describe yourself as a detail-oriented individual?
In the dental profession, being detail-oriented is a highly sought after quality in potential candidates. Are you organized? Do you have processes in place, or even a specific order for completing the tasks that you perform on a daily basis? This question is your chance to open up about how you pay attention to the little things that really make a big difference for your prospective employers.
Interview Question #6. Have you taken any Continuing Education courses recently? What was the last course and when?
Being able to speak confidently about any Continuing Education (CE) that you have recently participated in is great. If it has been a while since you have taken a course, just know the facts about the last course you have taken, such as the date and some key learnings. If you have attended any workshops, seminars, or other educational events that are related to dental profession, note that as well -- your employer will likely be very impressed.
Interview Question #7. Are you comfortable working in this sort of fast-paced environment?
Many dental offices are constantly busy, and those that are not may still experience a fair share of hectic periods where there may be a sudden influx of patients, back-to-back appointments, and lots going on behind the scenes to keep track of. It is critically important to be able to demonstrate your comfort with a hectic environment, perhaps with an engaging anecdote of you multitasking like a pro, or saving the day when things got chaotic. If nothing comes to mind right away, that’s fine. If you have never experienced a fast-paced work environment, you may choose to simply state that you are willing to adapt and that you prefer to stay busy while at work.
Interview Question #8. Describe some of your personal ambitions.
Your employer may want to get a good picture of your character and motivations, and understanding a little bit about what you want out of life can let them know that you are driven and passionate. This can translate into 'hard-working' from the perspective of many employers. Stick to professional ambitions for the most part, but do not be afraid to speak about some of your personal goals: some individuals really aspire to travel, learn languages, a musical instrument, go back to school, write a book, get into the best shape possible, or even start their own dental practice one day.
Interview Question #9. Are you currently associated with any dental groups or associations?
Many dental professionals are members of official groups and associations that are centered around topics in their profession. There are major entities such as the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), and they exist at the local level as well; the Arizona Dental Association (AzDA), the Florida Dental Association (FDA), and so on. Being a member of a dental group or association demonstrates significant initiative and investment in one's field of work (more so than simply joining a group on social media, which requires relatively little commitment or effort).
Interview Question #10. Do you have any questions for me today?
It almost always looks good to have some questions ready to ask the interviewer; write some down if you have to, especially if they come to mind during the interview. At the very least, it makes you seem more thoughtful and analytical in nature to be able to turn the interview around on the hiring manager and show them that you are looking for the right fit as well, and not just any job that will accept you. And since a new position has many unknowns, there are typically questions that you should be asking anyhow. A few things one might be curious about include:
- More information about the expectations regarding the position you are interviewing for
- Inquiries about technologies they are currently using or plan to use in the future
- Workplace regulations and policies
By preparing for the questions outlined in this article, you should be more than prepared to take on your next interview. Here are some of the key takeaways to remember:
- Have plenty of useful anecdotes and relevant experiences tucked away and fresh in your mind before the interview. Topics include bedside manner, being detail-oriented, and dealing with a fast-paced environment.
- Put your best foot forward! Don’t be afraid to talk about your strengths, your recent educational experiences, and any dental group or association memberships that you have.
- Take some time to prepare a few questions that you can ask the interviewer. Think of some things that might be new to you in this position and write them down.
Hopefully with these questions in mind, you can prepare yourself to ace your upcoming interview -- or, interviews!
What's an interview question you find most employers ask you? Share it in a comment below!
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