When you’re absorbed in the hunt for a job, it’s easy to focus only on your potential income. Granted, you need to think about income at some point, but don’t let an over-concern with compensation distract you from getting a good job in dentistry. Take a moment to consider things from the perspective of your potential dental employers. Whether they are hiring a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, or dental office manager, there is a need this practice has that is causing some type of pain. Show them how you can take away that pain, and you are likely to get the job!
Anticipate the Pain Points
If your only priority is making yourself look good for a potential dental employer, you might end up losing out on a very nice position. Putting yourself in the shoes of the employer will change your approach. Instead of being dismissed as a show-off, you could be hailed as a superhero. The difference is that you are seen as a potential employee who is interested in doing something for someone other than yourself.
Try to figure out what the needs of a dental office, company, or hiring manager are by researching their “pain points” – those specific matters which pose serious concern to the practice. Examples of pain points might include an inability to file insurance claims in a timely manner, a low treatment plan acceptance, or no one being able to trim and place temporary crowns. Finding these issues is key to marketing your skills in the most effective way possible.
Don’t Ignore a Potential Employer’s Concerns
You could be a very talented worker, but if you don’t take an active interest in the welfare of your potential employer’s dental practice you just might not deserve the job anyway. You want to demonstrate that you care about the patients and show how you can help the practice be more successful.
You may feel pressure to find a job (ANY job!), but settling for a wrong fit could result in even more headaches. With a well-rounded understanding of the needs of the office you hope to join, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to help the office meet its goals. This confidence can help you land the job you both need and want.
Potential employers will carefully evaluate your attitude about work as well as their practice and dental patients. You can easily demonstrate a positive attitude by being proactive and addressing any potential concerns.
Get started by doing some research. Google the practice, check out online reviews from patients, read media coverage, and visit the dental office’s website. Get a feel for their dental philosophy and approach to patient care. You might also try talking with some current team members to understand how this particular dentist likes to work.
If you are looking for a position as a dental assistant, for example, talk with others who have also been dental assistants in this office. You may learn that the dentist wants to have an assistant who is reliable and skilled in making temporaries. Ask if the dentist is interested in an assistant who will float, or wants somebody who is capable of performing elective duties such as placing temporary crowns. Find out what the specific pain points are, so you can address them in your interview.
Demonstrate Your Value
If you have worked in a dental setting before, then you know exactly what can go wrong. Instead of hoping your next job will be problem-free, think of ways you could help address and resolve those problems in your new position. This will show potential employers that you can help their practice thrive by thinking on your feet and solving problems that you have dealt with in the past – such as patients who show up late, working on dental emergencies, or calming irritable children.
If you are a dental hygienist, you might have noticed how certain doctors like the fact that you keep up with the recare schedule. Some like to see that you can smoothly transition patients from your chair to theirs for treatment. Keep these capabilities in mind because they could turn out to be major pain points for a hiring dentist.
Don’t discount any work experience you may have. Just about any quality or skill you have cultivated in other positions can help fill a need at a dental office, but you must show how your ability translates into meeting a specific practice need.
You don’t want to downplay your strong points and come across as unsure of yourself, but you also don’t want the focus to be entirely on you. Strike a balance by highlighting the exact ways your skills will benefit the office as a whole. For example, if you excel at taking x-rays on patients with a gag reflex, then let your prospective dental employer know!
Make a Solid Impression at the Interview
Succeeding at an interview may actually begin with an attention-grabbing cover letter that can reveal a lot about your attitude toward the office and the dental position. Use the same techniques you would employ in an in-person interview. Connect the dots for a potential employer by stating how your skills apply to the office’s needs and address the problems they may be struggling with, such as providing gentle cleanings when the previous hygienist was very heavy-handed.
At the interview ask open-ended questions that you have prepared in advance to show that you are genuinely interested and curious. Demonstrate that you are a dynamic individual who can adapt to meet varying needs. Talk about what needs to be improved at the practice, and then discuss what you can do to alleviate that pain.
Keep the focus on what you can do for the dental team, rather than what they can do for you. Help take away their pain points, and you’re on your way to a new job in dentistry!