Career Corner: Dr. Caselle offers hiring tips
Dr. Paul Caselle offers eight tips on getting hired by a dental practice.
By Dr. Paul Caselle
Recently, Mary applied for a dental assistant position. She responded to the job listing by email and wrote that she had 10 years of experience as an assistant. Mary wanted to know how much the position paid and explained that she does not have a resume but would supply all the information needed — just give her a call.
Needless to say, Mary did not get a call back. The work force and how to look and apply for a job has changed from many years ago when jobs were listed in the classified ads in the newspaper and applicants would call the office for an interview. Today, most jobs are posted online such as Craig’s List and other dental job posting sites. Applicants now respond to jobs electronically. So how do you make a great impression through such an impersonal approach to a job application?
Since these difficult economic times have resulted in a competitive job market, here are essential tips that can help you land you the job:
1. Always respond to the job posting in the manner they request, which is often by email or fax.
A great cover letter explaining yourself and resume is always a must. Your cover letter should convey your strengths that you can bring to the position. Make a compelling reason why an employer would want to spend time to discuss a job opening with you.
Be sure that your contact information is accurate and use an email address that has your name included rather than an email that is more appropriate for friends. Check you cover letter and resume for spelling and grammar. You certainly will not make a good impression if it looks like you are sending a text message. Your resume should list dates of employment of current and previous positions, education, and professional affiliations and organizations.
2. The interview is the make-or-break process in the job search. How you prepare for the interview is an opportunity to convince a decision maker that you are the right candidate for the job. A positive impression starts with how you come dressed for the interview. Wearing gym clothes or jeans won’t make it; neither will wearing clothing more appropriate for a night on the town. Business casual is recommended; keep jewelry conservative, and have a neat appearance. Remember the dental office is a health-care setting, and you probably will not get hired if your appearance detracts from that atmosphere.
3. Arrive early for your interview, greet the receptionist with a smile, and introduce yourself in a warm and friendly manner. If possible, speak and engage with the staff since they may play a part in the decision-making process of the employer.
4. Be prepared to talk about yourself. A common question often asked on an interview is: “Tell me about yourself?” The interviewer is not interested in hearing about your life story but the skills and strengths that you can bring to the position. Speak about courses you have taken to update your skills and be sure to mention such things as longevity, commitment, and loyalty. This is the opportunity for you to sell yourself and make a compelling reason to be hired.
Be ready to discuss what you like about the dental field and what you dislike, since it is possible you may be asked. A front desk person once stated she disliked collecting money from patients. Obviously, she did not get the job.
5. The first interview should never be used to discuss salaries or benefits unless the interviewer asks you directly. In such an instance, you are better to say it is negotiable and then ask what the salary range and associated benefits are most common for the position. Keep in mind that if salary appears less than you desire, consider the benefits as part of the total compensation.
6. You should have a list of references which should include past employers or supervisors who can provide a positive indication of your work ethic. Supply contact information for each reference and be sure your references know that someone may be calling for information. Letters of reference are always a plus and copies should be provided if requested.
7. Be prepared to ask questions about the position. Most dental offices have websites, which is great way to learn about the office prior to the interview. Read about the services the business provides and other available information that gives you more insight about the business. During the interview, you can ask a question about a particular service that is provided. More importantly what type of individual do they want for the position. This will provide insight about the requirements of the position and whether you would accept a job offer.
The interview process is actually an assessment to determine if there is a shared vision and philosophy of practice. Some offices may offer employment at the first interview while others may ask for a second interview or a working interview.
In any event, at the close of the interview always thank the interviewer for their time, express your interest in the position, and offer to do a working interview.
8. Following the interview, always send an email later in the day thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to meet. Be sure to include that you enjoyed discussing the position and believe you can be a great addition to the staff. Follow-up after an interview is important. It sometimes can tip the difference to your favor when it comes down to equally qualified candidates.
In today’s world, looking for a new position has become more challenging. Today the needs of the dental office are more technical and require the ability to use computers. Dentistry is now part of the digital world, which may require updating skills prior to seeking employment. Remember while having up-to-date skills are important, having a great attitude and willingness to grow is even more important.
Over a 35-year period, Dr. Paul Caselle has interviewed hundreds of applicants and has developed an understanding of the characteristics that determines a successful hire. He is a regular commentator on the Dental Town website offering insight to business owners who seek advice on staff related problems. Dr. Caselle has presented seminars to dentists on CEREC technology and Waterlase laser procedures. His article “Why CEREC” was published in “DentalTown” magazine and has been distributed by Patterson Cerec Specialists to many dentists interested in cad/cam dentistry. Dr. Caselle is a graduate of the Sirona Speakers Academy, has Fellowship Certification in the World Clinical Institute of Laser Dentistry, and completed a residency program at Forsyth Dental Center in Family Dentistry following graduation from New York University College of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and Middlesex District Dental Society.