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Congratulations on your recent graduation from Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School! You should be proud of your hard work acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to excel as a dental assistant. As you embark on this exciting journey into the professional world, it’s time to put those valuable skills to the test.

Transitioning from dental assisting school to the workplace can be both thrilling and challenging. To help you navigate this career phase, we have compiled a comprehensive list of interview tips tailored to new dental assisting school graduates like you. These tips will prepare you for interviews and provide valuable insights and strategies to set you up for success in your future role.

Remember, this is just the beginning of an amazing career filled with opportunities for growth and positively impacting patients’ lives. Embrace this new chapter with confidence and enthusiasm, knowing that your hard work and dedication have laid a strong foundation for your professional journey. 

Research the Dental Practice

An essential first step in preparing for any job interview, especially for a dental practice, is to research the company thoroughly. Start by gaining an understanding of their patients, core values, and treatment philosophy. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the dentists who work there and dig deeper by reading reviews to get a sense of the practice’s reputation and work culture. 

This knowledge will help your responses during the interview and demonstrate your genuine interest in being part of their team. By going the extra mile in your research, you’ll be well-equipped to showcase your enthusiasm and compatibility with the dental practice, increasing your chances of success in the interview process.

Practice Common Interview Questions

Practicing responses to common interview questions is an excellent strategy to boost your confidence and ensure you effectively articulate your thoughts during the interview. By preparing, you can hone your ability to provide clear and detailed answers. Here are some typical questions and answers you might expect in a dental assistant interview:

  1. Why did you choose to become a dental assistant?

The dental field has always fascinated me, and I have a genuine passion for helping others maintain their oral health. Becoming a dental assistant allows me to combine my interest in dentistry with my desire to impact patients’ lives. I enjoy working in a team-oriented environment, and the opportunity to assist dentists, the dental team, and patients is truly rewarding.

  1. How do you handle patients who are anxious or nervous?

Empathy and effective communication are key in handling anxious or nervous patients. I strive to create a calm, welcoming atmosphere and listen to patient concerns. Explaining procedures clearly and understandably helps patients feel more at ease.

  1. Can you describe a challenging situation at work or school and how you handled it?

During my training, I had a challenging situation where a patient was experiencing extreme dental pain and anxiety. Despite the patient’s apprehension, I remained calm and empathetic. I reassured them that I would do my best to minimize any discomfort. By actively listening and adjusting my approach, I successfully completed the procedure.

Remember, when discussing your experiences during training, it is beneficial to include specific examples that showcase your skills and highlight your ability to handle various situations effectively.

Arrive Early and Prepared

Being punctual for an interview shows respect for the interviewer’s time and demonstrates your professionalism. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early (but not too early). Come prepared with copies of your resume, references, and any relevant certifications or transcripts. This shows your organizational skills and ensures you’re ready to present any necessary documentation.

Dress Professionally

Your appearance sets the tone for the interview and leaves a lasting impression. Dressing professionally shows that you take the opportunity seriously and reflects your attention to detail. Choose a clean, conservative attire that aligns with the company culture and position you’re applying for. Pay attention to little details like well-pressed clothes and polished shoes. 

A well-groomed appearance with neatly styled hair and minimal accessories enhances your professional image. Presenting yourself confidently and professionally through your appearance positively influences the interviewer’s perception and increases your chances of success.

Highlight Your Certifications and Training

Your interview is the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills, qualifications, and dedication to the field. When discussing your training at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, highlight the comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide range of dental procedures and techniques. Emphasize the hands-on experience gained during your training, such as assisting in dental procedures, taking X-rays, patient management, and sterilization procedures.

Remember to mention any certifications you hold, such as CPR or infection control training, demonstrating your commitment to safety and professionalism. These valuable experiences and qualifications equip you with the necessary expertise and confidence to excel as a dental assistant.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

Toward the end of the interview, it’s your turn to ask questions. This is your chance to show interest in the role and learn more about the practice. You might ask about their expectations for the role, opportunities for continuing education, or the practice’s approach to patient care. One important question is when the office will decide to hire the person for the position. A pro tip is to send a written thank you email or letter to the office within 24 hours of the interview. This will set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate your enthusiasm to be a team member! 

Good Luck

Remember, every interview is a learning experience. You’ll become more comfortable and better equipped to present your skills and qualifications with each one. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your interviews, and soon, you’ll be on your way to landing your first job as a dental assistant.