By Dr. Deborah Marynak
You’ve made the cut and you’re excited! So now you need to focus and prepare because the candidate pool has been reduced and you’ll want to stand out. Here are some points we’ve compiled to help you prepare for that second interview.
1. Expect to meet more of the Team. If your first interview was with the Office Manager, you can expect to meet more of the Team members at the second interview. Certainly, you’ll meet the Owner Dentist, but there’s a good chance you’ll meet the Lead Dental Assistant and Hygienist as well.
2. Expect to discuss specifics. According to Robert Half, CEO of Robert Half Agency, at this interview, the Office Manager and Dentist will “want to know if the person they’re interviewing is the same one who’s represented on your resume.” You may need to be prepared to talk more specifically about your work history. Make sure you have researched the Dental office your interviewing for and LinkedIn.
Be prepared for tough questions and answer them honestly. Some employers like to ask off the wall questions. Questions such as: “If you could take just one thing to live on a stranded island, what would it be and why?” These questions reveal how well you think on your feet and they give the interviewer a look at your problem-solving skills.
3. Be Prepared. You’ve undoubtedly thought of more questions about the position since your first interview. Were there any loose ends you’d like to tie up at this interview? Were there questions from the first interview that you didn’t have time to answer completely? Make sure you’ve prepared them so you’re ready to respond at this interview.
4. Expect to Talk Compensation and Benefits. Compensation and benefits may come up during the second interview, but let your interviewer mention it first. You need to be cognizant of what salary range your experience, skill level and location demand. Consider all aspects of the job and what they’re worth to you in this next stage of your career. Be sure the interviewer knows your value and if you come to an agreement, get it in writing.
5. Expect to tour the office. You’re likely to get a tour of the office at this interview. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially as you pass through the area of the office where you would spend most of your workday.
6. Expect to discuss next steps. At the end of the second interview, they will either tell you what to expect next or they may offer you the job at the end of this interview. It isn’t necessary to accept the position immediately unless you are certain you want the job. If you don’t accept the job at this time, be sure let them know when they can expect to hear from you. If they don’t mention what to expect next, ask them when they will be in touch. It’s appropriate to send thank you notes to all individuals who participated in the interview.
Second interview questions to anticipate
The Robert Half Agency has compiled some potential questions you could hear, along with some savvy answers. First-round interview questions typically focus on the applicant’s skills and experience. Second-interview questions are aimed at helping the interviewer or panel visualize you in the role.
1. “Tell me again what interests you about this job and what skills and strengths you plan to bring to it.” Note that the question is not “What are your skills and strengths?” but “What skills and strengths can you bring to the job?” Answer in the context of contributions you can make to the company.
2. “Do you have anything you want to revisit from your first interview?” This is one where you’ll need to be prepared. A bad answer is “Not really.” Make a list beforehand of things that occurred to you after you left the company premises last time.
3. “What is your greatest weakness?” Yes, some managers still ask this, even on the second interview. Be honest about an actual negative trait but follow up immediately with how you’re working on overcoming it. Some examples of “acceptable” weaknesses include impatience, fear of public speaking and wanting to do things your own way.
4. “Can you tell me a little more about your current/most recent job?” Note that the interviewer is asking for more than what’s on your resume. You should be able to give a short and precise summary of duties and responsibilities at your most recent position. Be careful not to sound negative about the job or your employer.
5. “Describe a professional achievement you’re especially proud of.” This request is not only evaluating your career priorities but also testing your ability to explain what you do in terms anyone can understand. Instead of using jargon and acronyms, explain the significance of your accomplishment in plain English. One idea is to highlight an anecdote that shows you can work with people in other areas (like the Dental Lab), a key characteristic of a good team player.
6. “How did you change your current/most recent job?” A convincing answer here shows adaptability and a willingness to take the bull by the horns, if necessary. Talking about times you chose to do a job differently from other people highlights your creativity and resourcefulness.
7. “What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make on the job?” This one tests your integrity and decision-making style. Make sure your answer fits the company culture.
8. “Looking back, what could you have done to make a bad workplace relationship better?” This interview question is attempting to find out whether you’re capable of rising above an unpleasant situation or learning from past mistakes, both highly desirable qualities. A bitter, critical answer may indicate someone who holds grudges or simply can’t get along with certain kinds of people. A reflective, positive answer will show that you try to minimize personality conflicts — and don’t use them as excuses for failing to move forward. The company is looking for a candidate who tries to be tactful and diplomatic but nonetheless stands up for what’s right.
9. “What sorts of things do you think your current/past company could do to be more successful?” This one is a great big-picture question. They’re probing to find out whether you have a clear understanding of your current or past employer’s missions and goals and whether you’ve worked with those objectives in mind.
10. “Can you describe a typical day at work in your last job?” They want to see how your current (or most recent) routine compares with the requirements of the job in question. If what you did on a day-to-day basis in your last job is vastly different from what you’ll be expected to do with the new position, it could be a concern for the employer.
11. “What sort of work environment do you prefer?” Plain and simple, the interviewer wants to find out whether you’re going to be a good fit with the company as expressed in your own words. Weave your answer around what you’ve perceived is the corporate style there — if it’s truly what you’re looking for.
12. “Have you ever been in a situation where you were asked to do something you felt was unethical?” This is another case where you should give specifics, if possible. The interviewer knows no rational job candidate is going to say sometimes it’s okay to be unethical. But how you approach answering and any anecdotes you can share can increase the company’s comfort level with hiring you.
13. “What would you consider an acceptable salary for this position?” There are numerous ways this could be asked, depending on whether compensation has been previously discussed. Still, the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by a salary-related question. As noted above, be ready to discuss what you feel you should be earning as soon as the interviewer raises the subject. During negotiations, don’t forget other perks important to you, such as telecommuting options, flexible work hours and opportunities for professional development.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
– Harry S. Truman
Dr. Deborah Marynak is the owner of DentalStaffing.org, a dentist with over 30 years experience, and is committed to helping Dental Professionals find the right fit for both employees and employers. She also works with Dental Offices to help them streamline their clinical systems and teach Dental Teams how to effectively document to avoid risk.