Dental offices with the need to hire a dental hygienist have a problem. And it’s not just to fill an opening.
The previous situation (whether they had a hygienist or not) was either working well or it wasn’t.
One of the best things you can do as a job seeker is learn about the previous situation. Not to be nosy, as some of those details can sensitive and quite frankly none of anyone’s business.
Here are four ways you can learn more about the employer’s problem:
In a tight job market, it’s unfortunate how quickly we breeze through job ads without looking at them extra close. We see the days they are looking to hire for, and maybe years of experience requirements or benefits, and sort of gloss over the type of person they want.
When they say “we need someone who is detail-oriented” or “seeking a person that treats our patients like family,” those are likely subtle hints of what the previous hygienist was or wasn’t doing. Pay very close attention to the type of person they are looking for.
Do you know anyone who knows someone that works there or is a patient there? I wouldn’t recommend asking a friend for all the “dirt” on that office – just ask them in generalities. “What’s the internal (staff) culture like?” or “How long have some of the staff been working there?” or “How do you think patients view the office?”
Follow the Office on Social Media
Sometimes you can learn a lot about an office just by following them on social media. Because I follow hundreds of offices on Facebook, I see BIG differences in the things some offices post.
There’s one office in particular where the dentist does most of the posting and the man is genuinely funny – almost every post puts a smile on my face. There’s another dentist who also posts a lot and I can tell he runs a pretty serious, no non-sense office. Wouldn’t that be nice to know before you send your cover letter or arrive for an interview?
Ask the Employer
I think it’s a fair question during an interview to ask why they are seeking a hygienist or why the other hygienist left.
Usually if a hygienist left on a positive note they will tell you that upfront without you even asking. If that’s the case, then ask them about the qualities they appreciated most about the previous hygienist – that gives you an opportunity to share how you are similar.
If they aren’t too forthcoming about the situation, don’t press them on it but do pay close attention to their body language when they respond to see if they appear uncomfortable. They may want to look away, purse their lips, shift in their seat, or quickly change the subject. That’s probably good enough indication something negative happened.
You don’t have to ask what that problem was specifically to find out about it. Just ask them what they are looking for. There’s a good chance that the first 2-3 things they list are what they weren’t getting – in other words, the crux of the problem.
You Got Some Information – Now What?
Tomorrow I will write about what to do with the problem information you have gathered. There are some fantastic ways to address it so that employers see YOU as the solution and not just another applicant.