One of our most read blog posts is: Master Your Working Interview to Get Paid More.
It occurred to me that there are several “interviews” a dental professional must go through to get to the working interview.
This post will address all those interviews and how you can master them to get top dollar!
I do want to say that I know dentists are desperate and dental assistants, hygienists and front office dental personnel could most likely do the bare minimum and still get hired somewhere. But if you want to be offered top dollar at an amazing dental practice, mastering all aspects of every “interview” during the hiring process will get you that.
Think of your resume as an interview
It all starts with your resume. I often tell my dental offices not to fret too much about the resume. Job boards often mess with the formatting and spelling errors do not reflect on how wonderful of an assistant someone could be.
But taking pride in your resume does give you a leg up on the competition and opens you up to the higher pay rate. Especially if an office is so impressed with your resume that they absolutely must interview you.
To get your resume in tip top shape, I recommend reading these two posts.
How to master the “resume interview”: Have a nicely formatted and spelling error free resume that impresses potential employers right away.
What does calling you feel like?
Another “interview” we don’t think of is what calling us feels like. Does your voicemail have a nice personal message from you thanking them for calling? Or is it just the automated voice with a number so potential employers aren’t even sure if they even reached you?
Are they able to leave a voicemail? I would say at least 30% of the calls I make to applicants the voicemail is full and I can’t leave a message.
If an office can’t leave you a message or aren’t sure if they have the right number, they will be forced to move onto the next applicant and you could have missed out on the job.
Also, if they are able to leave a message, how long does it take you to call them back? Hopefully within a 12 hour period.
How to master the “voicemail interview”: Have a nice and friendly message on your voicemail. Delete unnecessary voicemails daily to ensure your mailbox doesn’t fill up. And call back all messages regarding jobs within 12 hours.
Answering the phone
If you do answer the phone when they call, what is your tone?
I instantly get thrown off when someone answers the phone in a rude or questing tone. I understand we have a lot of scam calls and telemarketers these days, but you don’t want potential employers seeing your mean side before you have the job offer.
If you answer the phone can you chat right away? Or are you going to have to ask if you can call them back?
When someone answers the phone at work or in a loud area where they can’t chat right away, that is always a turn off for me. I would rather you don’t answer at all and then call me back when you are in a calmer setting. And I know many offices feel the same way.
How to master the “Answering the phone interview”: Only answer your phone if you can do so in a pleasant voice and you have a few moments to chat.
The on-the-spot phone interview
This has become my favorite interview. Before 2020 I used to call and schedule interviews. Post 2020 where applicants are being offered jobs within 5 hours of applying, I try to make my interview process as short as possible.
So if I am lucky enough to be calling an applicant and they answer the phone and they sound pleasant and calm, I will ask if they have a few moments to chat. If they say yes, I will launch into an on-the-spot phone interview.
These can be challenging especially if you don’t have your resume right in front of you. So simply be honest. If asked about specific dates, give them dates but let them know you could be off by a month or two because you don’t have your resume in front of you. Potential employers are usually pretty forgiving.
Let them know upfront of any possible noises that could occur during the interview, like cars or children shouting. Also let them know if you have limited time or your phone battery is low. That way if you have to disconnect quickly they already had a heads up and it doesn’t come as a shock to them.
Always be prepared to answer questions about why you left previous employers, what your skill sets are, any special certifications or education courses you have completed and what pay and benefits you are asking for. Also make sure you take the opportunity to learn more about the position and the office. You want to make sure it is worth your time to schedule a formal or working interview.
If you like everything they tell you about the office, ask for the next steps and try to schedule them right away. They will like the initiative.
How to master the on-the-spot phone interview: Let them know of any possible noises or need to disconnect before the interview is complete. Be honest if you don’t remember exactly what your resume says but assure them that what they are seeing on the resume is accurate. Ask for the in-person interview.
Alright, we have made it to the formal interview. These are actually becoming kind of rare. Most offices (the ones who are tired of having candidates hired out from under them) are going straight to a working interview or a skill set interview. But there are still offices that feel this step is super important and IT IS!
Offices that ask for a formal interview want to make sure you are a good person before they let you see their patients. And that is wonderful. We want to be a part of offices that truly care for their patients.
For a formal interview, it is best to bring a few copies of your resume along with a “brag book” which has all your certifications, licenses and CE credits.
Show up on time and, if possible, dress professionally. Have neat hair, light perfume (if any) and make sure nails and makeup are professional and not over the top. I know too many applicants that have missed out on the working interview because they had wild long nails or their perfume was too strong. So please keep it minimal and professional.
If it is not possible to dress professionally, for example, you are going to meet with them right after work, let them know beforehand when you are scheduling the interview. Simply say “I will be coming to you right after work, so I will be in my work scrubs, is that ok?”
They will most likely say yes and wont hold your attire against you during the interview. But if you don’t warn them, they will.
Be prepared to answer questions about your resume in detail. As well as your skills. If asked about your favorite procedure, let them see your excitement. Dentists and office managers love to see Dental Assistants and Hygienists get excited about their job.
Have your own sets of questions. How long have the other employees been with the practice? What does a normal day look like? Any duties or responsibilities outside of the normal scope of work?
If you like everything you hear about the practice, ask for the working interview. And make sure you agree on the pay rate before your working interview shift starts.
How to master the “formal interview”: Show up on time, have extra copies of your resume and a “brag book”. Dress professionally with minimal perfume, make up and no crazy nails. Be ready to answer questions about your resume in detail and have your own questions to ask about the practice. Ask for the working interview if you want to work there.
Lastly, the working interview
The working interview really needs its own post… and look at that, I have one!
If you did all these other steps right, the working interview is what will seal the deal for you. So read that post and do it right.
I hope this post gets put to good use next time you are on the search for a new job.