Dental hygiene job interviews are filled with questions from the employer. But, YOU also have questions to ask at a job interview. The job needs to be a good fit for YOU as much as you are a good fit for it.
Today I share some key questions to ask at a job interview that will educate you about the job, but also help you get an offer. Employers like candidates who show a genuine interest in the office and making a difference. And these questions to ask at a job interview can help show how you are a great fit.
Salary and Benefits
You will notice that I did not include salary and benefits as questions to ask at a job interview. Yes, these are important questions. But employers will sometimes give you that voluntarily without you asking. Avoid giving an employer the impression this is all you care about. Many will think it’s refreshing to have a candidate that seems more interested in the job. You can still talk salary and benefits, but do it AFTER the questions below if the employer hasn’t already brought it up.
Why ask: There are two reasons to ask this question. First, it gives you some insight as to expectations and the type of hygienist they want. But it also gives you a chance to hear what they need and align your skillset with that need.
Q. Aside from revenue, what value does a hygienist bring to your practice?
Why ask: This can give an idea of how important hygiene is to the practice. Is the hygienist considered a valuable partner in the patient care process? What role does the hygienist play to that particular employer?
Q. What were some strengths the previous hygienist had?
Why ask: Employers are looking for a hygienist who is either better or equal. So, it’s really helpful to know the prior hygienist’s strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes knowing what isn’t mentioned as a strength can be interpreted as a weakness. But this question will also give you a chance to marry your abilities with their needs.
Why ask: Every office has a culture. The interviewer, in this situation, is probably going to stay positive. So, instead of focusing on their words, watch their body language and other cues. Did they suddenly seem a little bit uncomfortable or “off” compared to previous topics? Watch for things like longer pauses as they consider the right words or some shifting in their chair.
Those could be signals there has been some internal strife or things the employer wants to correct. It’s a red flag but not always a deal killer.
Q. Beyond the job description, how can I make a valuable contribution to the practice?
Why ask: This is another way to get the employer to articulate what they really want in a hygienist. They will likely include things about patient care being a priority and their mission. Again, take their response and blend it with your skillset to create a match.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge to hiring a new hygienist and the key to making it successful?
Why ask: Employers hate transition stages – they are costly to the business. They want an employee who can jump into the flow and make an immediate impact. They know it’s rare but it’s what they want. If this is you, and you get that kind of a response, then communicate that. Come prepared with an example of where you were new to something but caught on quickly.
Why ask: This is important because some may not really have a vision and it will show when you ask. Again, watch the body language they give off. And see if their response is overly vague or doesn’t match your ideals. Along with what you learn, the fact that you asked it gives them a sense that you plan to stick around. And that’s something all employers want – especially hygienists who often win lots of patient loyalty.
Final Thought About Questions to Ask at a Job Interview
The best way to show an employer you are serious, interested, and engaged is to guide them into a discussion. Too often, job interviews turn into a one-way exchange – they ask the question, you answer.
To win an employer over so that they believe you are a good fit draw them into discussions (back and forth exchanges). Work to get the employer to open up with you and share oral health philosophies they have or to speak candidly (warts and all) about their office. This will give both of you the insight you need to move forward or move on.
Career Coach Aimee Bateman gives some additional good advice about job interview questions.