Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2018 08 Job Interview 1

Myth busters for dental assistants: The interview for that perfect dental assisting position

Aug. 21, 2018
There are some myths that persist about how the perfect job interview should go. Tija Hunter strives to bust some of those myths and guide dental assitants on interviewing so they land the position.
Many people believe that an interview is all about the dental practice seeing if someone is a good fit, and whether a person has the proper skills and experience for the job, right? Wrong!

Although this is an essential part of the interview process, it’s only a part of it. If you are being interviewed for a job, remember that you are also interviewing the dentists and their staff to see if they are a good fit for you.

Here are some things you need to consider:

1. How far is the office from your home?
2. What are their hours? Are the hours full- or part-time?
3. What type of benefits does the office offer? Do they offer vacation, sick pay, holiday pay, health insurance, a retirement package?
4. Do they provide uniforms?
5. Do they offer free dental care for you and your family?
6. Is there room to grow in your career?
7. Do they have just one location, or will you be expected to travel between offices?
8. And of course, what is their rate of pay? (Notice I did not place this at the top?)

These are some of the things that you need to find out before you start a new job. I once took a job and didn’t find out until the holidays arrived that we did not receive paid holidays. I had always had holidays paid and it had never dawned on me that not all employers offer this benefit. I was shocked, but it was too late.

Think about what is important to you. Do you need health insurance? Would you like to stay close to home? Are there hours that you prefer or even need? Keep in mind that not all offices offer 40 hours a week. If you need 40 hours, you’ll need to find an office that offers a 40-hour workweek. Do they offer a uniform allowance? Uniforms can get expensive.

Not every office offers free dentistry for you or your family, so finding that out before you start will help you make a decision whether or not it’s the place for you. I’ve always received free dental care, however, I’ve heard that many assistants do not receive this benefit. But they do receive a discount on services.

Keep in mind that some employers with big benefits packages mighthave a lower hourly rate. Remember, private practice is a small business and everyone offers different benefits.

The internet offers a great way for people to check out a practice before going in for an interview. From someone’s website or Facebook page, you can get a feel for the practice and the team. What services do they offer? Are they a CAD/CAM office? Do they have expanded function assistants? And remember, if you can see them on social media, they can probably see you too.

Before you go into an interview, anticipate questions they may have for you. Some of these might include: Tell me about you. Why are you interested in this position? Tell me about your last employer. How much would you like to earn per hour? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Be prepared with a dollar amount that you need as well as an amount that you would like. Don’t ever say, “I don’t know.” You know what you need to survive and you know how much you would like to make, so tell them this.

Why do you want this position? Are you right for it? Have your answers ready! When asked about a former job or why you’re leaving your current job, don’t share any drama about anyone. The last thing they want to hear is how your current boss is crazy, or that his crazy wife is the office manager. If you gossip about others, that tells them you’ll gossip about them if you get the job. It’s a red flag and hiring managers want no part of this. Steer clear of drama. There is a time and place for it, and an interview is not the place.

Now the tough question

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” They want to know that you have set goals, that you want to move forward with your career, and that you consider this a career and not just a job. So think about what you want.

Do you want to become an expanded functions assistant? Is that allowable in your state? You’ll want to refrain from telling the person who is doing the hiring that you want to go to hygiene school or become a teacher. Why would they hire you when you indicate you don’t plan to stay? People want your goals to revolve around them because it’s about succeeding and growing together.

These are just some of the questions, concerns, and topics you’ll need to think about before going into an interview. Remember, it’s not all about them and what they want. It’s also about you and finding your dental home for years to come.

All the best in your new position!

Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA, is the office manager and chairside assistant to Dr. Eric Hurtte of O’Fallon, Missouri. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), where she holds the honor of Master and sits on three national counsels. She is also the Illinois Dental Assistants Association vice president. She is founder of the Dental Assistants Study Club of St. Louis and St. Louis Dental Office Managers Study Club. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, with five locations in the US. Tija is also the author of six CE study courses. She is a national speaker and a certified trainer in nitrous oxide in several states. She can be reached at [email protected].
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