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Are working interviews a thing of the past? The pros and cons of completing them

March 14, 2024
When this hygienist found out that some potential employers no longer offer working interviews, she became concerned. She explains why these interviews can help you make better decisions about future employment.

Recently, I entered a transition period in my career that led me on a job hunt. As I started this venture for the first time in three years, I was surprised to find that working interviews were no longer being offered by potential employers. Initially, this was a concern for me. How could I accept a position without knowing how I would work in the environment, with the staff, or with the dentist? For me, working interviews are a necessity to consider a position in a dental office. I realize this might not be the case for everyone, so here are the pros and cons I’ve found when it comes to working interviews.

Pros of working interviews

They allow you to get a feel for the space—the office setup and procedures, the team dynamic, and the office culture. I am a left-handed clinician who works right-handed, and I suffer from scoliosis. Proper ergonomics are crucial for me, so I need to see how I fit physically into a workspace and how I work in that space before committing to a position. I also thrive in a collaborative environment with a strong team dynamic, so it's important for me to make sure my potential coworkers are a good fit for me.

They allow you to see how you would work with the potential employer. This is essential for me and something that I cannot overlook. Having discussions over the phone or in person is the easy part. You are both trying to “win each other over,” so it’s very easy to say you are on the same page when it comes to goals and visions. But when it comes down to it, can their words be backed by their actions? Working interviews allow you to see if your ideals, core values, and goals align—a must to consider when it comes to your personal growth and development in your career.

Cons of working interviews

They only offer a snapshot. Keep this in mind when envisioning yourself in a space or with a particular team long term. The office can potentially use the working interview to put their best foot forward, in a sense misleading you.

You may be taken advantage of during the interview. If the office is looking to hire quickly, the schedule for the working interview may be full of productive appointments that are physically demanding. This can overload and overwhelm you, so try to avoid this situation by asking about the office’s schedule for the day. Don’t be afraid to create boundaries.

You may accept the position but, after some time passes, realize the office is not a good fit long term. Everything could go according to plan, and you could be happy with the new potential opportunity, only to find yourself unhappy after a few days, weeks, or months. Dare I say, job searching is like dating. It takes some time to find the team and space you want to grow with. Ultimately, you may accept a position based on a phone call and things could work out long term. On the flip side, you could complete a working interview, accept the position, and be unhappy three months down the road.

Finding your dream office may take time, and the journey may look different from someone else’s. I encourage you to consider the pros and cons of a working interview and what it means to you. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if a working interview is what you need to make a better decision about your future employment.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Clinical Insights newsletter, a publication of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group. Read more articles and subscribe.

Letitia Hill, BS, RDH, writer, speaker, and founder of Sunday Scalies, entered the dental hygiene field in 2020. Working as a new grad through the pandemic, along with her personal experiences, ignited her passion for speaking and writing about burnout and mental health as a dental hygienist. You can connect with her on Instagram @toothfairytish or email [email protected].