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Congratulations – you’ve made it to the dental interview stage. If this is your first job out of school, you might be looking for some guidance.

First off, pat yourself on the back. Just getting the interview is an accomplishment. That means you found an available job in your skill set, had a compelling resume, and were convincing enough to get someone to reach out. It’s not easy!

Now it’s your time to shine.

Many great, qualified candidates freeze because they just don’t know how to conduct themselves in an interview. The good news? You’re not going to freeze. You’ve got this handled. We’ve created a checklist that’ll make sure you own this interview — before, during, and after.

Before the Interview:

  1. Figure out where you’re going: Not much can throw off your interview like showing up late. You’ll feel stressed and it’ll put a sliver of doubt into the head of your interviewer. Prior to the interview, take a look at traffic information and get a little insight into the area. See what’s it’s like to travel there and plan your route and departure time to the office. You’ll feel better prepared on the big day knowing exactly where and when to go.
  2. Do your research: This is an important — often overlooked — step. This could be your home for the next few months or years. Make sure you know what you’re getting into, and prepare yourself for the inevitable: “why do you want to work with us?” Believe it or not, saying that you’re just in it for the paycheck — as honest that may be — isn’t the best move. The office wants to know you care on a deeper level, and have done your research, and this answer will prove it.
  3. Pick a friendly face: One way to curb interview anxiety is to look up current employees (the practice website is a great place to start) and pick someone to recognize. When you get there, you won’t only see strangers. It’s a small, but helpful, psychological trick to ease into the interview.
  4. Don’t stay up late: Staying up late worrying about the interview won’t help you in any way. Do your best to get some sleep the night before and keep yourself looking and feeling your best.

During the Interview:

  1. Get there early: Assuming you prepared, this shouldn’t be difficult. But it goes without saying that you should show up at least 15 minutes before your interview. This will give you time to chat with other employees and the front office manager.
  2. Check your outfit: Right before you pop into the office, double-check your wardrobe. A unfortunate food stain could be wholly distracting to both you and the interviewer!
  3. Say hello to the person at the front: The front office is the first line of defense for anyone new to the practice. A cheery “hello!” and some light small talk (if applicable) could make a big impact to the office as a whole.
  4. Know your resume: You wrote it so you should know your line items! Be prepared to talk in detail about any important bits on your resume.
  5. Prepare an interesting story: Every interview is a conversation. You’re chatting with people. Having an interesting story on hand that talks about a strength, weakness, success, or failure (whatever applies) will help you stand out from the crowd and be more interesting.
  6. Ask questions: Don’t skimp on your questions. Make a list (write them down) of questions you’re interested in. Just keep in mind that salary-related questions aren’t always appropriate on the first interview. Ask about the next steps in the interview process or get them to describe the office culture.

After the Interview:

  1. Say goodbye to the person at the front: Don’t forget to say goodbye and thank the front office. They’ll be who you see every day at your new job. Go ahead and make friends and a great first impression.
  2. Send them a handwritten letter: You’d be surprised at how few people don’t thank the interviewer. Don’t just send an email; instead, send them a handwritten thank you card. It’s a small action that makes a big impact.
  3. Prepare your next steps: First off, take a deep breath. You did the hardest part! But it’s not over until you get the offer. Like mentioned above, be sure to follow up and stay on top of the process. You want that job — go get it!

Once you’ve locked in a great new gig, be sure to share your success with us on our Facebook!