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​Preparing for Your Dental Hygienist Interview

When you interview for a dental hygienist position, you will have to answer technical and behavioral questions. This is where clear answers become essential. Communication skills are a primary requirement for a dental hygienist career, and it’s important to show them off effectively. 

So, Tell Us About Yourself—Typical Interview Questions 

Most interviews will start out with you answering some semi-personal questions. It doesn't matter what type of position you're interviewing for: this is a standard interview practice. It helps the interviewer determine if you're a good match for the office culture.

  1. Tell me about yourself. Talk briefly about your schooling, relevant classes dental hygienist classes you have taken, and work history on your resume. Mention a few personal points such as hobbies or activities.
  2. Tell me about your past experience. This is a fundamental check on your areas of work. Concisely discuss your previous jobs and responsibilities, while matching the requirements to your expertise. Give a quick 60-second career objective statement, stating why the position you're interviewing for matches your previous skills and albitites, and why you're a great candidate for the position.
  3. Why do you want to work for us? Let the interviewer know you have done your homework and this is the organization you would like to work at. State that you have the abilities and skills to succeed in this position. Explain to the interviewer what appeals to you about the position, the company, and why you're a great fit for the position. 
  4. Why did you leave your last job? Address this question in a positive way. Never say anything negative about a previous employer or coworker. If you can, speak about how the new position will benefit both you and the employer and how it will allow you expand your potential for professional growth.
  5. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses. Have a few mental bullet points ready about your strengths. Take your weaknesses and put a positive, constructive spin on them, or talk about what improvements you have made.
  6. How do you manage your workload? Time management and efficiency is a vital requirement of dental hygienists. Even if it is your first interview after training, use your experience in dental hygienist classes or at previous jobs to help answer this question.
  7. What are your salary requirements? Have a specific dollar amount in mind based on the position responsibilities and your qualifications to do the job. Consider your previous job and think in terms of the full compensation—base salary as well as other incentives. 
  8. What questions do you have about the job? Don’t overdo your reply, but always make sure to ask a few questions to show your interest.

What Would You Do?

Your interview will mostly likely include situational questions that relate to the duties and your past experience handling these. Remember, you can always use experience from your dental hygienist classes. If you haven't been in any of these situations before, explain how you would 

  1. How you would solve a problem with a patient. Define the problem and dental issues you were faced with. Explain the patient’s issues and the solution, how you addressed the patient’s issues, and describe the result.
  2. Talk about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker. There will inevitably be a time where you have a disagreement with a coworker or manager about how to handle a situation.  And while these professional disputes don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer, what you’re really being asked is how you dealt with the issues and created a good outcome for everyone involved. 
  3. Show your methodology and the result. Illustrate a practical approach to improving the patient’s health, eliminating any concerns the patient had regarding the treatment.

To Get That Job, Just Remember...

A few extra tips to keep in mind when interviewing:

  • Be confident, direct, and enthusiastic in a professional yet friendly way.
  • Answer each question completely, using simple start-to-finish answers.
  • Speak clearly and monitor what you say. Never talk negatively about past employers.
  • Make sure you fully understand the questions before answering and ask for clarification if you don’t.

You know your stuff, and you’ve got what it takes to be a great addition to the dental team. So relax, smile, and look your interviewer in the eye, because you’ve got this!

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