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It’s completely normal to be nervous about job interviews.  A lot is at stake and you want to make a good impression.  But how do you do that?  What kinds of things do hiring office managers and dentists consider when they first meet job candidates at an interview?  The answer is:  everything.  Seriously.  And depending on how you present yourself, that could be good or bad.

First off – fair or not – you will be judged on your appearance.  That’s just how it is.  You have to use that to your advantage.  Dress nicely, not in tight, revealing clothes.  Make 100 percent sure your hands and nails are spotlessly clean.  I mean, really, that’s a no-brainer, especially given our industry.  And if you are prone to sweaty palms when you are nervous, bring something to dry them off so you can confidently shake hands.  It is polite and shows professional polish.

Second, remember advice your parents probably gave you.  Sit up or stand up straight; don’t mumble; remember to say “please” and “thank you.”  If you slouch your way through a job interview, the dentist or hiring office manager may believe you are lazy or that you don’t take the opportunity seriously.  Friendly eye contact, good posture and a clear voice (no mumbling) will tell them that you are smart, trustworthy and confident.  Showing good manners will make people remember you as a pleasant person who is definitely going to treat patients with the respect they deserve.

Third, it may be your style to wear trendy makeup, perfume and jewelry, but a job interview might not be the place.  Remember, as an employee of a dental practice, you are representing the whole practice, including the dentist.  He or she likely does not want to have an office full of people dripping in jewelry, neon nail polish and heavy eyeliner, reeking of a fragrance.  After all, if you get the job, you will be in close proximity with your patients.  The last thing you want is for them to sneeze their way through their appointments or get bonked in the head by a bracelet.

Lastly, don’t forget to say thanks at the end of the interview.   Don’t just fly toward the door.  Shake the interviewer’s hand (watch that sweaty palm!) and tell him or her you appreciate their time and you are available if they have any follow-up questions.

Little things like this really do matter.  We do have control over that first impression, and we can make it a good one.  And review these tips on setting yourself apart in a job interview to give yourself even more of an edge.