Interviewing for a new job can be intimidating and stressful, whether you’re a fresh graduate just starting out or an experienced hygienist looking for a new opportunity. As a hygienist, my goal is to make the interview process as seamless as possible. I want to make sure you find the right fit wherever it is. Here are some tips to help your next interview go smoothly.
Identify your driving factors
Before contacting a new office, understand your driving factors. I’m talking about those non-negotiable aspects of your career that are most important to you. Is it access to mentoring and career development? Is it broad support or lots of different learning opportunities? Maybe it’s schedule flexibility or your hourly rate. Whatever is most important to you, be sure to write it down so you are prepared for the interview.
Once you are clear about your driving factors, uncover what you need from your potential employer. Don’t sugar coat it – this is your livelihood and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, especially your own.
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Be your own advocate
By clearly communicating your driving factors, you’re acting as your own advocate, which is extremely important, especially if you’re not working with a recruiter. It never hurts to ask questions, especially when it comes to something as important as office surveillance. As part of a hygienist recruitment team, I try to bring potential hygienists into the office to get a feel for the workflow, staff and overall atmosphere.
You want to feel at home in your dental office. Consider partnering with a temp agency for a job interview to learn more about the practice’s workflow and observe its culture while getting paid for it. If you work with a recruiter, we will always have your best interests in mind, but you must be direct in advocating for what you want.
Practice your soft skills
Hard skills—all of your clinical training and experience—are critical to being a hygienist. But mastering soft skills can be the difference between acceptance and rejection. As recruiters, we first assess soft skills through a screen before moving on to an in-person or virtual interview. We want to know how you approach patient education, whether you are a team player, how you communicate and how passionate you are about putting patients first.
The best way to practice your soft skills is to be an active listener and engage in meaningful conversations. Not simply answer of questions; make sure you do too I ask many questions. We want to get to know you not only as a hygienist, but also as a person.
Ultimately, finding the right match is about connecting core values and showing that you can easily relate to the team. This speaks volumes for your ability to work well with the doctors, the team and most of all the patients.
Interviews are not one-sided
Remember that your interview is an opportunity for you to interview your potential employer. Come prepared with copies of your cover letter and resume, but also bring a notebook with written questions. You don’t want to leave the interview feeling like you didn’t get all of your questions answered, especially when it comes to your driving factors. Interviews are your chance to make sure that a potential employer is the best fit for you.
Finally, don’t be afraid to build a relationship with a recruiter like me. We want to make the interview process as easy as possible so that both parties achieve the most favorable outcome. When you can clearly articulate and communicate what you want, you are much closer to finding a job that aligns with your career goals.