The interview is a great way for both the hiring manager and the potential employee to learn more about the dentist office and whether they will be happy with one another. Becoming a dental assistant involves a rigorous interview process. Make sure you prepare your answers to common questions and think of some questions you want to ask so you can interview the dentist. After the dentist interviews you, the interview might involve hands-on work. The dentist who is considering hiring you may want to see how you perform certain dental techniques. Stay positive and keep eye contact with the dentist so they know you are interested in the position.
Q1: Tell me about yourself
This is a standard first question for most interviews. Make sure not to focus on your personal life, take this opportunity to explain what you can add to the dentist’s office. Are you a hard-working, customer oriented, and/or passionate about the dental field? Explain your strengths in a few sentences and get off to a good start with the dentist.
Q2: What do you enjoy the most about being a dental assistant?
Do you like helping others keep a healthy smile? Enjoy supporting a dentist or working with a team? Like the balance of helping patients and doing office administrative tasks? Be honest about what you like as long as you like working as a dental assistant.
Q3: Have you ever had to deal with an angry customer? How did you deal with it?
Take this time to show the dentist that you have good customer service. State the problem and how you solved it, then talk about the outcome. Dealing with customers in pain and the patient’s fear of coming to a dentist is part of the job. Convey your ability to keep patients calm and comfortable while undergoing a procedure they might not be happy about.
Q4: What computer applications are you familiar with?
Most dentist’s offices will have some type of scheduling software, billing procedure and need to create correspondence. The dental assistant should be very familiar with Microsoft Office as some of the job involves spreadsheets and word processing. Make sure to reiterate you have computer skills and are a quick learner when working with new computer applications.
Q5: Do you like working with patients or clerical duties?
This may decide what role you play at the dentist’s office. Although dental assistants that help patients may do some clerical work, in a bigger dentist’s office, roles will be assigned based on working with patients or doing administrative work. Make sure you know which role is open at the dentist’s office to make sure you are going to be happy with the role.
Q6: How much experience do you have as a dental assistant?
If you just graduated, make sure you let the dentist know how passionate you are about being a dental assistant. Talk about your training from school and any externship experience. Let the dentist know if you have any administrative or customer service experience as these are skills you will need to be a successful dental assistant.
Q7: What is your oral hygiene routine?
This is a common question that all dentists ask dental assistants because they want to make sure they are able to educate patients in proper oral hygiene. It is also good to practice what you preach, so make sure you take the time to have a healthy smile for the interview.
Q8: How often should you sterilize instruments and equipment?
This is an opportunity to let the dentist know that you take your patient’s health seriously and that you would sterilize instruments after every use. No piece of equipment or instrument should be used on a patient unless it is fully clean and sterilized.
Q9: What are your weaknesses?
Always make sure you answer this positively. You are too nice, you care too much about people or you tend to work more hours that are asked to. Find something that may be seen as a negative for you but that would be a positive attribute for the dentist’s office.
Q10: What are your strengths?
Take this time to explain why you are the best fit for the dentist’s office. Prepare a few strengths and tell a story about one of the strengths and how it helped you in the past with a dental situation.
Q11: Are you willing to work evening and weekends?
Answer this one honestly as some positions will be at dentist’s offices that are open during normal business hours and other positions may be at emergency dental facilities that will need dental assistants to work evenings and weekends.
The dentist has asked you a bunch of questions, now it is time for you to ask some questions since you are also interviewing the dentist office as well. Think of a few questions that will better inform you about the environment at the dentist office and the colleagues you will work with. Asking smart questions will show that you did research about the dentist’s office and you came prepared.
Q1: What type of patients do you help in the dentist’s office?
This will help you better understand the clientele of the dentist’s office and whether you are working with adults and/or kids.
Q2: How long has the average dental assistant worked for you?
This will let you know if something is wrong at the dentist’s office, if dental assistants aren’t willing to stay for a long period of time. Use this question to show the dentist that you are committed to the dental office and want to work there for a substantial amount of time. Employers don’t want to train new employees only to have them leave for another position.
Q3: What do you think the most valuable skill for a dental assistant is, and why?
Wait for the dentist to tell you what they are looking for and then confirm that you are the right person to be the dental assistant by reiterating the skills back to them with examples.
Ready to become a dental assistant? Daymar College’s Dental Assisting program is designed to prepare you to assist a dentist in the delivery of dental treatment, performing a wide range of chairside, office and laboratory duties as part of a dental team. The Daymar College dental assisting program provides the opportunity to gain the skills to pursue a career as a Registered Dental Assistant in the state of Tennessee.