Whether you’re new to the world of professional dentistry or an experienced hygienist, navigating the job searching process can be challenging and anxiety-inducing. So it goes without saying that you should do your research and prep accordingly to give yourself the best possible chance to have a positive candidate experience. And while it’s impossible to know exactly what to expect before heading into an interview, it’s still best practice to prepare your answers to common dental hygienist interview questions.
So how do you find the most common interview questions in order to do your prep work? Heartland Dental did some of the work for you—we gathered the questions dental hygienists will most likely encounter, and offered strategies for how to provide the best answers. Our mission is to provide exceptional careers to the members of the Heartland Dental team, and we know an exceptional career starts with a successful interview. That’s why we’re proud to offer resources and tips for professional development and career advancement, starting with how to succeed in an interview.
Take a look at the questions and strategies below before heading to your next job interview.
How to answer common questions in dental hygienist interviews
Tell us about yourself.
More of a request than a question, this is perhaps the most common start to all job interviews, so it's important to be ready for it. In response, you should try to highlight your past achievements in a way that speaks to the needs of the position you're applying for. In particular, discuss your skills, proficiencies, and experiences that separate you from the pack.
How do you ensure you always advocate for what’s best for the lifetime care of your patients? It’s always a good idea to think of your skills in relation to how you apply them to your patients’ care.
Attention to detail is critical in hygienistry. Can you explain your own orientation to detail?
Again, specific experiences are key here. There isn't one right way to stay organized, so be sure to talk about your own personal methods and why they work best for you. Try to recall a past experience where your attention to detail prevented a serious problem or helped a situation quickly resolve.
How do you adapt in a fast-paced environment?
You guessed it—recalling how you handled a specific experience will help you best answer this question, too. Reference a time when you had to adapt to a new change, had to perform in a high-stress clinical situation, or flourished during a critical procedure. Explain the strategies you used to respond effectively to change and the ways you succeeded in the situation.
How would you cope with an environment where patients are often afraid or in pain?
When answering this question, think about your chairside manner. Discuss the approach you take with patients, the strategies you use to comfort and calm them down, and how you've handled similar situations in the past.
Also consider how you build trust and rapport with your patients—there’s more to providing a stress-free environment than just using a calm and comforting tone of voice. Hygienists are advocates for patients and key drivers of their lifetime care. Think about how you put your patients’ overall health and wellness front and center, and how expressing this in their treatment plans can help provide peace of mind. Maybe you have experience in helping to create a soothing office space. There are many ways to deal with patient anxiety—remember to speak to your specific experiences.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is another very common interview question that employers may ask. This question is designed to determine if you have qualities that will help you succeed in the role or that could become problematic. Always come prepared with at least two strengths and weaknesses specific to the dental hygienist role you’re interviewing for!
Recruiters won’t be interested in strengths that won’t actually help you succeed at the job at hand—take a look at the specific responsibilities and expectations listed on the job description, and try to directly apply your strengths and weaknesses to exactly what they’re asking for. Does the role ask for experience using specific technology or computer programs? What about experience in specific dental procedures? Consider speaking to your strengths in these areas as you interview.
Grow your dental hygiene career and find your next new role.
Knowing the answers to common dental interview questions is one of the best ways to prepare for a dental hygienist job interview – and if you're ready to take the next step in growing your dental hygiene career, we can help. Explore our resources and browse our open dental hygienist opportunities here. Find your next role in a welcoming, rewarding Heartland Dental supported office.