How-To, Career, Advice

Tips for Nailing Your RDH Job Interview

By Melia Lewis, RDH, BSDH on June, 17 2019
Melia Lewis, RDH, BSDH

Melia has been a dental hygienist for 10 years and loves being part of the dental field. She's originally from Alberta, Canada, but now lives and works in Utah. When she's not practicing dental hygiene or working on her website Hygiene Edge, she loves being in the Utah Mountains or being with her 5 year old Georgia.

You made it through some of the trickiest two years of your life: dental hygiene school. Congratulations! 🎉

We know literally blood, sweat, and tears went into your degree, and you’ve finished! Being a dental hygiene grad is a huge accomplishment and you definitely deserve to celebrate.

But, now another big task lies ahead of you: finding a job. But hey, if you can make it through dental hygiene school, anything is possible. One of the trickiest parts of finding a job is the interview process.

Here are a few easy tricks to nail your dental hygiene interviews:

Be Early ⌚
I know, I know. This one seem so elementary. But organize yourself, figure out how long it will take to get there the day before, and get to the office early. Being a few minutes early and not walking into the office right at the scheduled time will show you respect their time and are very interested in the job (even if you know nothing about the position yet). It also lets you perform better. If you’re stressing on time as you drive and rush into the office, being flustered may throw off your interviewing skills and obscure how awesome you really are! Time management also communicates how you value time, especially since our career is very schedule-heavy.

Dress to Impress 👗
Dressing to be comfortable but professional is very important. You don’t want to be worried about your clothes, like pulling down your shirt or fixing a collar, during an interview. You have more important things to worry about! Stick to neutral colors and clothes that you feel comfortable in without showing too much skin. With jewelry, try to stay away from large earrings or tinkling bracelets as they can be distracting to the interviewee. We want the office manager or dentist to be focused on you and what you’re saying the entire time.

Know Some Basics 🤔
Many interviews start with the same basic question: “Tell us a little bit about yourself” or some version of that. Be ready to answer! Keep your response positive and don’t feel like you have to list your work experience from your resume. You could talk about why you love being a dental hygienist and maybe include something personal, like what you like to do in your spare time.

Do Your Research 🔎
I would not recommend walking into an interview blind. Since there is so much information online, so check out the office’s website to see what they offer and what they focus on as an office. Do they see a lot of pedo patients? Do they show before and after shots of cosmetic cases on their website? Do they highlight having the latest dental technology at their office? You can usually tell a little bit about their office from their websites or social media. Honestly, offices usually put a lot of energy, time and money into having an online presence, so you could compliment them on their social media and point out something you loved about it if it comes up in conversation.

Come Prepared with Some Questions ❓
At the end of an interview, the interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions. Come with a few prepared just in case they weren’t covered in the interview. It not only gives you more information into the office and the job, but also keeps the conversation going. You could ask how many patients they usually see a day, how new patients come in the office, and how regularly they see and treat periodontally involved patients.

Follow Up with a Thank You Note ✍️
Write a thank you note after each interview you go to. Either a hand-written note or an email will be perfect, depending on how you’ve been communicating with the office manager or dentist or what information you have on hand. I personally love the idea of a snail mail card because who does that anymore? Definitely do whatever works best for you. Making the note personal is also a perfect way to leave a great last impression. Take a few minutes right after your interview to jot down some notes on what was talked about or what seemed exciting to you that the office does and include those points in the note.

The Dreaded Rejection Email 🚫
What’s next if you find you get a rejection email a few days after the interview? That’s OK! Respond to the email thanking them for their time and let them know you enjoyed meeting them. You never know. Maybe the person they end up hiring doesn’t work out and they reach out to you in a few weeks? Be positive about the rejection and keep moving forward. It’ll work out eventually and you’ll find the perfect place for you.

Good luck 2019 grads! You got this!

What has worked for you during an interview? What do you like to wear to an interview?

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