If you’re looking for your first dental job, you’re no stranger to interviews. Getting into dental school, competing for placement in your specialty program, and applying for your residency; you’ve been through plenty of interviews. However, applying for a new job as a dentist, whether it’s your first job in the field or a change of scenery, can be intimidating! Follow these 7 tips to be confident you will ace your dentist job interview!
1: Prepare Answers for Standard Questions
There are specific go-to questions interviewers frequently ask. Many of these are the boiler-plate questions you’ll hear in an interview for any dental job.
- “Why did you want to become a dentist?”
- “What is your greatest dental skill?”
- “What do you bring to a team?”
While these questions are relatively predictable, they can still throw you off at the moment if you need more preparation. Prepare by making a list of questions you think they’re likely to ask and writing your responses in advance. You can even practice your answers if you like! Just be sure you don’t start to sound robotic or overly rehearsed. Your answers should sound authentic, so try saying them in slightly different wording each time. That way, they’ll feel natural.
2: Research the Practice
It may seem obvious, but you need to know what you’re walking into when you go to any interview. Sometimes, finding your perfect fit can mean many interviews, and the practices begin to blur together. Educate yourself on each practice at least a few days before your dentist job interview. What is their mission? What makes them different from other dental practices?
Learn as much as possible from their website and social media accounts in advance. Before interviewing, check out reviews from their patients if you can. Thorough research might even reveal a few weak spots in the practice! This gives you a perfect opportunity to target a precise idea of what you can bring to the team to fill their needs.
3: Utilize Your Social Media Accounts
Just as you’re scoping out your potential employer online, you can be sure they’re doing the same. These days, reviewing an interviewee online is common practice, so be sure you’re making the best possible impression online. A good guidepost would be to keep social content authentic, representing your best self professionally. You display your personal brand to patients and the world when you post on social media. Just because it’s private does not mean it can’t be shared.
Utilize your social accounts to showcase some of your proudest achievements. Do you have photos from a volunteer dental outreach event? Some articles you’ve written about cutting-edge dental technology? Post them! Be a top candidate before you ever step in the door and give the best impression you can.
4: Prepare Questions to Ask
Remember, you’re not there to beg for a job. You’re there to ensure the position they need to fill is a good fit for you. You’ve worked hard and honed your skills. You’re fresh and eager to start a new job. You’re a catch! So don’t just prepare to convince the interviewer you’re a good candidate. Also, prepare questions to ask them!
Community Dental Partners believes deeply in the value of a good mentor. Work with a mentor in advance to put together some questions to ask at your interview. Questions should not be anything you could easily find online on your own. For example, “Do you work with children” is a great question. The problem is that most companies will answer this with a simple “yes.” Avoid simple yes and no questions and ask how they will support you. A better way to present this question is to ask, “Do you offer doctors support?” Then, follow up with, “Can you tell me what that looks like?”
Thoughtful, targeted questions will help you ensure the practice is a good fit for you and show the interviewer how much you already know about them. Just like going on a first date, showing interest in them can make them more interested in you!
5: Be Physically Ready
You’ve passed board exams, so you know all the rules for preparing for a big event, right? General physical preparations for a dentist job interview are the same.
We know you’ve seen patients all day or been in dental school, but try to make time for self-care and rest. Sleeping the night before a big interview might be difficult, especially if it’s a practice you’re incredibly excited about. If you have trouble falling asleep, it can help to have everything you need ready.
For Virtual Interviews:
- Make sure you have a quiet, non-distracting space ready
- Test out your technology to make sure everything works properly
- Check to verify you have a link to your interview
- Confirm the time AND time zone
For In-Person Interviews:
- Have your phone charged
- Have easy access to your digital notes and pre-planned questions
- Put documents in a fresh folder
- Have your clothes set aside
- Set your coffee maker to brew a few minutes before your alarm goes off
Eat the foods you usually eat to support your body and stay hydrated. Choose professional clothes. This term can be used loosely, so try searching for “business casual” for ideas. In general, dress comfortably and show up as your best self.
Bring extra copies of any materials they may ask for. Surely, they will already have your resume, but bring extras. And, if you have other documents or materials that might help make your case, take those along! You might not end up using them, but it’s always better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
6: Take a Deep Breath and Remember: You’ve Got This!
Firstly, try to go in relaxed and confident. Fake it if you have to. It may help to think of it not as an interview but as a conversation about the practice. If you can reframe “nervous” as “excited” in your mind, you can channel that anxious energy into the impression of being energetic and enthusiastic. Remind yourself that you’re qualified, an asset they want, and you bring a lot to the table. You’ve got this!
7: After the Dentist Job Interview
A best practice is to follow up. Afterward, a quick text later that day thanking them for their time can go a long way. Also, let them know you’re looking forward to hearing from them again. Tell them you really enjoyed chatting with them! Remind them of a story or joke you shared to show them you were engaged in the conversation. One pro tip: avoid burning bridges. Providing closure to the company you have invested time in sets you up for future opportunities. If they know precisely what you are looking for and why you may not be interested, they will likely call you first when something becomes available.
If you need help remembering specifics about interviews or have multiple lined up with different companies, make notes right after each interview. Keep a small notebook handy or utilize your phone to take notes and write down two or three things that really stick out in your mind from what you discussed. This can help you remember who you clicked with, why, and which practices you’re most interested in.
Undoubtedly, only some interviews will be perfect. However, with preparation and perseverance, you will find a great match. Excellent workplace culture is an essential part of a fulfilling career. Make sure you hold out for a practice where you feel comfortable and energized. Community Dental Partners puts culture at the center of our mission. Schedule a call with a Hiring Manager to see why we might be your perfect match!