Straight talk: What dental hygienists need to know about getting hired

November 26, 2014

Whether you are a new graduate or seasoned professional, the dental hygiene job market is getting quite competitive. Today’s interview requires more preparation than you may have previously thought.

Whether you are a new graduate or seasoned professional, the dental hygiene job market is getting quite competitive. Today’s interview requires more preparation than you may have previously thought. This week’s guest on Straight Talk, Teresa Duncan, coaches dental office managers on how to “hire for attitude and enjoy the aptitude.”

Some things to remember…

From the time you meet, the tone for your interview is already in motion based upon what you wear. Dressing for success is a direct reflection on how you may represent that particular practice. Like it or not, image does matter! Immediately following image will be your handshake. Do not underestimate the power of a firm handshake. In only 3-4 seconds, your handshake with a potential employer will reveal more about you than you may realize.

Chaplin, Philips, Brown, Clanton and Stein (2000) suggested that people who give firm handshakes are more extroverted, whilst a delicate handshake screams indecisiveness and neuroticism.

Behavior-based interviews are also becoming a powerful tool for interviews. Questions are asked to get an idea of how you may handle certain patient scenarios. Take advantage of this as a way to showcase your communication, clinical skills, and/or flexibility. The key to master this skill is to write down a few of your own questions. This may assist you in knowing if the culture of the work environment is a fit for you. Asking questions about this particular practice shows that you are expressing interest in “the now.” For example, you may ask, “What happens when a patient complains about a service that your dental hygienist has just provided?” or “What are the daily productivity goals in hygiene?” Take a few moments, check out the practice’s web site or social media sites and write down relevant questions about that practice.

ADDITIONAL READING: How dental hygienists can discover their "zen" with the right instruments

There is an art to getting hired. Clinical skills aside, attitude, image, and practice-centered conversations will give you the opportunity to stand out in a potentially crowded marketplace.