What to ask during an interview
When you’re a recent graduate, interviewing for your first “real” job out of college can be a challenge. While you do have four years of dental school under your belt, there are others in the job market with years of experience competing for the same opportunities.
Don’t worry, though: There are plenty of things you can do before, during and after your interview to make sure you stand out from the crowd. One is a critical aspect of the interview process that many candidates simply gloss over: making sure you’re not only a fit for that opening, but also that everything about it is the right fit for you.
When preparing for an interview, candidates tend to put a lot of time into preparing solid answers to the questions they will be asked, but very few spend that same amount of time thinking of questions to ask the interviewer. Asking the right questions is a vital part of the interview process because the interview isn’t just held merely to determine if you’re the right fit for the job—it’s also your chance to see if the position is the right fit for you.
By asking the right questions, you not only get to demonstrate that you did your research but also get to learn more about the position and the practice to determine if you can envision yourself working there.
To give you an idea of what you could ask during your interview, check out this list of questions compiled by Heartland Dental’s seasoned doctor recruiters. These are the types of questions they appreciate being asked; they show that the candidates are interested not only in the position but also in how they can grow themselves within a practice.
Who is your typical patient, and what unique needs of theirs do you have to address?
One way to see how your potential employer feels about their patients is to ask about what the needs of the community are. The way a dentist speaks about their patients can say a lot about how the practice runs. This question also shows that you are thinking ahead about the best ways that you can serve the patients. By asking about their unique needs, it demonstrates how you are willing to personalize your care—which hopefully is a top priority in the practice where you are interviewing.
What are the most significant opportunities and challenges for the practice right now?
This question may pique your interviewer’s interest, but the real value is the information you gain just by asking. You can learn about the exciting events and initiatives that are happening at the practice and determine if you can see yourself playing an active role in those. However, a significant key to asking this question is to find out what challenges the practice is facing. From there, you can touch on how you could help them overcome those challenges by providing a potential action plan in your response.
What is your favorite aspect of working in this practice?
Excellent question for two reasons. First, it allows you to create a sense of camaraderie with your interviewer. For the most part, people enjoy talking about themselves and especially about things they know well and are passionate about. This will help create a bond with you that may give you a leg up on any potential competition. Second, this question gives you an inside look about what the best parts of working for the practice may be!
What continuing education opportunities are provided?
If you are interested in growing both your leadership and clinical skills beyond dental school, asking how your potential employer invests in their team’s growth will be essential. However, if the interviewer doesn’t seem to want to invest in providing their team opportunities to grow, then this practice may not be for you. On the other hand, if the interviewer goes into detail about the multiple times a year where they close the office to attend conferences, provides continuing education courses and inspires the team to grow professionally—and personally—then this may be the practice of your dreams. It’s essential to ensure that your own career expectations are met.
What is this practice’s philosophy?
The answer to this question is critical to pay close attention to! Their response can give you a good indication of their office and patient philosophy. After they answer, ask yourself, “Does this match up with my philosophy? Are they providing the level of patient care, services and treatment that I would feel comfortable recommending to my family and friends?” It also shows your genuine interest in ensuring that you would be the right fit for the practice and vice versa.
What growth do you see for the practice over five years? 10 years?
The answer to this question will not only give you a sense of how stable your job may be, but it will help you determine if the position lines up with your long-term career goals. The last thing you want to do is take a job at a dental office that won’t benefit you in the long run or help you advance personally or professionally. Finding out where the practice is heading, in the long run, can help you plan your own dental career trajectory.
Remember, the role of the interviewer isn’t just to ask you questions, but to answer the questions you have about the practice or organization. Make the most out of your interview and research questions to ask that will align with your values and career expectations. Hopefully, the questions we proposed will be an excellent starting point to direct your interview toward ensuring a great start to your career.