Have you ever watched the ABC reality show “Shark Tank?” If you haven’t, it’s worth overlooking the hosts’ egos and attitudes to pick up on some important job interview techniques many of the candidates in the “tank” display.
Your job interview shouldn’t feel much like it might feel pitching millionaires on their next big investment, but there is a lot at stake for both you and the employer so you do need to take it serious.
Here are the three biggest takeaways I see from successful candidates:
Share Great Stories
Employers want passionate employees – employees who aren’t there to simply collect a paycheck or punch a time clock. They want someone who shows up to work each day with a sense of optimism and enthusiasm for what they do.
They feel that if you are displaying that for them, you will display it for patients, too. And that’s what keeps patients coming back – a hygienist that loves what they do and loves them.
So when you go into your interview, be prepared to share with them several great, authentic stories in three different categories:
- How you decided to become a hygienist or the journey to becoming one.
- Stories of how you helped your patients (could be issues of anxiety, perio treatment successes, home care compliance, cancer you spotted, or others).
- Examples of how you handled difficult co-worker situations (motivating the un-motivated, clashes of personalities, working together, communication issues, etc.)
Stories pull people in, help them relate to you, and do a great job of selling what they can expect when they hire you.
All good Shark Tank pitches come with a compelling story. The hosts love a great story because it shows passion, authenticity, and a person who has purpose driving them to success (not money or status).
Pitch What’s Different
On the show, contestants are often introducing something that has already been done or that they are competing in a saturated market. Sound familiar? Dental hygienists are in the same boat.
To beat that, contestants know they can’t simply sell routine features and expect the investors to jump on board with them. They have to clearly define how they are different from the competition.
This can seem like an impossible challenge, right? I mean clinical dental hygienists, from job-to-job, largely do similar things. The key is to not focus on what you do, but how you do it.
Instead of talking to an employer about the fact that you apply principles of Soft Tissue Management to perio patients, talk to them about how well you put those principles into action. Talk about the nuance of your techniques and the results you have personally witnessed.
And the biggest attention-grabber of all when it comes to talking about how you are different is to share results and that goes back to the stories in the first tip. If you have them, give them actual examples of things you accomplished – numbers, results, successes. Those translate into what an employer can expect if they hire you.
Pay Attention to “Other Perks”
You want to communicate with the employer that the job you are interviewing for isn’t just about the money.
There are lots of other things gained from employment. When the time is appropriate during the interview (usually toward the end) turn the tables and interview the interviewer. Ask them about the “other perks” of working there – not compensation related, just other stuff about the experience of being an employee there.
Ask them about the team they have assembled – are they a light-hearted bunch or pretty focused? Ask about how members of the team are given an opportunity to grow professionally. Talk to the them about strengths and weaknesses of the practice. Discuss in depth their approach to patient care, both for single visits and long-term.
You will notice on Shark Tank that successful candidates aren’t simply looking for a dollar figure investment. They take a holistic view of the opportunity and even negotiate some of those finer points with the investors. They look for the best fit for their situation and that doesn’t always mean the one offering the biggest check.
They know that those other perks can be far more valuable (even monetarily) to their situation than simple upfront compensation. It’s true for dental hygienists, too. A great salary will never make up for a boss that flat out sucks to work for or a practice that focuses too much on production numbers and not enough on quality experiences for patients.
There you go – three big takeaways for your dental hygiene job interviews. I sincerely encourage you to take in a few shows of Shark Tank. You’ll see these three things and several other little techniques that can help you land a great dental hygiene job.