The best way to ensure you hear "you're hired!"


Knowing how to navigate behavioral interviewing could make the difference in landing your next job.

Have you applied for a dental job recently and learned they are doing something called “behavioral interviewing?” It isn’t the typical old-school questions about weaknesses or strengths. Now, they are asking for examples of what you have done in the past. Why? Because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Before you get all nervous about this style of interviewing, think about how it actually takes pressure off of you. You get to tell stories of your choosing. But, you need to be prepared.

So, how does one prepare to answer behavioral interviewing questions? Answers should be two to three minutes in length. Going on and on isn’t in your best interest. Some places use a STAR response. This is very helpful, because it keeps you focused when you are interviewing. Keep in mind; some practices are scoring your answers based on that style of answering. Yes, there is a whole point system, and you don’t even realize that.

Related reading: 5 tips for langing the perfect job

What is a STAR response?

S- Situation. Explain a situation briefly that answers the question.

T-Task. What was the task at hand?

A-Action. What was the action that you took?

R-Results. What were the results (positive) results that you got?

Some interviewees literally say the words, “The situation was… The task at hand was … The action I took was… and the results were…” I tend to do it that as a way to keep me focused as well as to make it easier for the interviewer. Sometimes applicants forget to tell the results. (Make sure that they are positive results.) Think about it: You control what you share.

You are probably wondering at this point what a behavioral interview question looks like. Here are 10 that have been used in my interviews.

  • Tell me about a time that you were confused by the training you were given. What steps did you take to clarify things?

  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?

  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with a challenging patient.

  • Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a patient.

  • Describe a time you had a misunderstanding with your dentist. What did you do?

  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure from both your team and your patients. What was going on, and how did you get through it?

  • Describe a time when the dental practice was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?

  • Tell me about a time you were overwhelmed and short staffed. What did you do?

  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?

  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way.

More from the author: Do you really want THAT dental job?

Go online and Google behavioral interviewing to get more questions to practice with. My recommendation is that when you are going to have an interview, practice ahead and make the interview much easier. You will be surprised how easy it is to plug your four or five stories into their questions instead of having to answer on the spot. Also, practice mock interviewing with your friends, family, or colleagues. The more you practice the better you will be at behavioral interviewing.


Email me at to share your behavioral interviewing experiences.

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