Dental Staffing

Thoughts For Success For Your Dental Job Interview: Thinking Beyond the Pandemic!

I’ve learned that there are very few Dental Practices who have fully recovered their entire Dental Team following the Covid pandemic. That said, Dental Practices are searching for the right Dental Professionals to fill the positions they still have open. As we brainstorm about where these Dental Professionals have gone and what we can do to change it, we believe there can be several reasons why the field remains sparse today:

  • Dental Assistants and Hygienists are predominately female, and these professionals may still have small children at home who have not returned to school.
  • The Covid infection may have left family members with serious side-effect, necessitating someone stay home to care for these individuals.
  • Older Dental Professionals may have decided to take an early retirement, some out of fear of the Covid virus.
  • Others may simply be looking for a career change and an improved work-life balance.

Dentists throughout the country are experiencing financial difficulties as they work to increase compensation rates, increase personal protective equipment, all while trying to catch up from the lost revenue of 2020. Some interviewees are asking for compensation well outside of the usual and customary. Those who have returned are asking for an increase in compensation, while some even threaten to take jobs in nearby cities offering higher wages and benefits. What this means to consumers is a higher cost to go to the dentist.

Nonetheless, if you are a Dental Professional looking for a job, now is the time to be looking for the right opportunity for the long-term; the Team at Dental Staffing recognizes, few young professionals today think long-term. However, if you happen to be that Dental Professional who does think long-term, you know this trend won’t last forever and now is the time to seek and find that ideal Professional Dental Job setting.

As you search for that ideal position, here are some things to keep in mind as you approach the Dental Practice for an interview:

A good first impression can improve your career — and you have just five minutes to make one in a job interview. That's how long it takes half of hiring managers to figure out whether you, as a Dental Professional, would be a good fit for the Dental Practice.

"Interviewers gather clues about you based on whether you are punctual, how you are dressed, your handshake, the eye contact you make and the first words that come out of your mouth," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. "That's why it's important to have a strategy for a great first impression every time you interview." 

According to the ADA, the job market for Dental Hygienists is improving; there seems to be evidence of Dental Hygienists are returning to work. While opportunities abound, the pendulum will, as it always does, swing the other way. That’s why now is the best time to find your ideal Dental Practice to spend your working hours! 

One of the first things Interviewers look at is body language. Some of the most common faux pas include:

  • Failure to make eye contact was the most common job-interview error; 67% of hiring managers identified this as the biggest body language error
  • Failing to smile throughout the interview
  • Playing with something on the table.
  • Poor posture
  • Fidgeting
  • Getting caught lying is reported as an instant deal breaker by over two-thirds of employers.
  • Answering a call or a text during the interview
  • Appearing arrogant or entitled ranked third among job-interview deal breakers
  • Asking for compensation far outside the range of normal; Dental is seeing an increase in the number of Associate Dentists looking for work. I’ve recommended practices who cannot find a Dental Hygienist hire a Dentist. Associate Dentists can diagnose treatment, so it’s a win-win for a struggling Dental Practice in the current climate.

Also find out as much as you can about the actual role you're applying for. Many practices don’t clearly state what they are expecting from a Dental Interviewee. For example, a Dental Hygienist who, in pre-pandemic days, may not have had the responsibility of turning their room or doing their own sterilization. Ask in advance the three key attributes that the hiring managing is seeking from the right candidate and the three main goals they are expecting the position to achieve. 

Remember the Dental Job is a two-way street. You're not only trying to prove that you are the right Dental Professional for the job; you also want to figure out if the Dental Practice is a good fit for you. Ask questions about the role and get clear answers on the expectations of the position. If you feel it’s a good fit and due to Staff shortage, ask how things will change once a full Dental Team is assembled.

Keep in mind the Dental Practice can learn as much about you based on the questions you ask as they can from the questions they ask. Your interest in learning the specifics of the job, your care in making the right decision long-term, may earn you better compensation/benefits than expected.

When your questions have been answered, and having determined you can deliver on the expectations of the Dental Practice, the topic of compensation should come as a two-way conversation. Don’t be afraid to reiterate your skill as an asset to the Dental Practice. 

And don’t forget, if you are still struggling to find the ideal position, post your profile and upload your resume on today!



“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”
- Katherine Whitehorn