What Not to Say in a Dental Job Interview


Potential employers don’t want to hear certain things from applicants during the interview process, so be cautious about oversharing.

AFRICA STUDIO / STOCK.ADOBE.COM: What Not to Say in a Dental Job Interview


Job seeking is stressful even in the best of times. With all these openings for dental professionals, it is a jobseeker’s market. And it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon.

Still, there are things you don’t want to say in a job interview. What follows are a few of those things that some applicants have shared with me this past year.

What Not to Say

  • I hate my dentist. He/she is a bully.
  • These ladies will stab you in the back the first chance they get.
  • They were cheap and didn’t give me a raise after all these years.
  • I don’t want to work long hours.
  • It bothered me that I couldn’t look at my phone while at work.
  • So I was late a few times. Did they have to write me up?
  • I saw them cutting corners on sterilization procedures and supplies, and it worried me.
  • They made us upsell and had such pressure to bring in more revenue. I don’t want to do that.
  • I was bullied and harassed.
  • No one would listen to me.

It is amazing how frustrated and angry people are when they look for jobs elsewhere. Whether you were fired or quit, do yourself a favor: Do not share the dirty laundry of a practice at your interview. Why? You will not be hired. Dentists think that you will air their dirty laundry if the job doesn’t work out after you are hired. Recruiters and employers will not tell you this and will just tell you that a better candidate has been found.

The issue also came up regarding what to do if a candidate shares that they have been sexually harassed at the last job. This is tough because I do have that LISW-S after my name and all. But I must remember what role I am playing currently. I am not a therapist. I am the recruiter hired and paid for by the dental practice. I may get some flak for my answer, but here goes…

I told the candidate that this was a horrific thing that happened to them but that I would not share it in an interview. Once hired, if she feels comfortable, she can share it. But knowing what I know as a recruiter, there are employers who do not want to hire a victim. Yes, I said the V word. This really is terrible but look at it from the employer’s viewpoint:

  1. Are there boundaries on this patient, or will she share this with the patients?
  2. Do I want someone who may perceive themselves as a victim on staff? I want someone confident about being able to do the job.
  3. Is it possible that the allegations aren’t true and that this could be a problem for me down the road with this employee? As terrible as this sounds, this is something that some potential employers are thinking about.

Stay Professional

I encourage candidates to stay professional in these screening interviews. I coach them to say things like, “It just wasn’t the right fit,” “We relocated,” or “It was too long of a commute.” Basically, an answer that is true without lying.

I hope I didn’t irritate some of you with my recommendations here. But I’m walking a tightrope. I’m trying to match good candidates with good employers. For some, I have recommended talking to a counselor or a clergy person. That was a stretch for me in this current job—but once a social worker, always a social worker.

As an applicant, you must figure out how much personal information to share at an interview. You may be phenomenal as a dental assistant, but they will not know that until they get you into practice. Think about it. And go ahead, send me an email at diana2@discussdirectives.com and share what you think.

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