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Essential interview advice for dental practitioners

So, imagine this scenario… you've found your ideal dental job on and successfully submitted your application. The next critical stage is preparing for the interview. We've put together this handy guide to steer you through preparing for your interview. 

When preparing for any interview, we'd recommend taking a structured approach, outlining your information requirements and planning your responses as much as is practical. We've included a handful of questions we typically see being asked in dental interviews, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. As a minimum, reviewing these questions and the direction we're providing should help you think about your own situation and interview and come up with a suitable plan for securing the role you want. 

First things first, you need to remember the basics of any interview. Be smart and dress appropriately. When you meet your interviewer for the first time, your body language is important, so remember to smile, maintain eye contact and give a confident hand shake (unless religious reasons prevent you from doing so, in which case explain this to the interviewer). By the time you get to the interview stage, you should have thoroughly prepared for the standard questions listed below. You should also know your CV and be prepared to answer questions about any element of it. And think about questions you'd like to ask too. Arrive appropriately equipped with letters of recommendation, certificates and references, as appropriate. 

Interview styles will vary from practice to practice, although we still find that the majority of interviewers will have a standard set of interview questions to allow them to compare similar candidates on a like-for-like basis. Some interviewers will prefer a conversational style, although most prefer a structured approach. And in our experience, interview questions tend to group into three main areas. Obviously some of these will be more or less suitable depending on your level of seniority. In brief, the three main areas will focus on your education, your personality and then your dental experience, knowledge and views. We've reproduced some typical questions below to help in your interview preparation. 

Education background questions 

  • How would you describe your education history? What did you like / dislike?
  • Would you change anything about your academic history if you could?
  • What led you to focus on dentistry? 

Personality questions 

  • In your own opinion, what are your major strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • How would your recent co-workers describe you?
  • Attention to detail is obviously important for dental practitioners. Can you rate your own level of detail attention?
  • How do you deal with time pressures? 

Dental specific questions 

  • What led you to work in the dental sector?
  • What were the best or worst aspects of your last role?
  • Can you describe your relationship with your last dental practice manager / senior colleague?
  • What are your top tips for working with patients?
  • Can you describe a situation where you've had to deal with a difficult patient? What was the outcome of that situation?
  • What's your view on NHS vs private sector dental practices?
  • How would you explain gingivitis or dental abscesses to a patient?
  • What would you say are the top 5 responsibilities for a dental nurse / practice manager / dentist /etc.? 

All that's left is to think about what your interviewer wants. They'll want: 

  • Someone who patients will like
  • Someone who'll fit in at their practice
  • Someone who will get along with the rest of the team
  • Someone competent, experienced and passionate. 

You want to give your interviewer reasons to hire you, so demonstrating how you match the above requirements will help you secure that role. 

The only word of caution with this approach is to avoid repeating remembered answers parrot fashion and instead be as natural as you can. You want to leave the interview with the interviewer having received confident, good answers to their questions and ultimately thinking you'll be a great addition to their practice. Make sure there aren't any unanswered questions too, and ask your interviewer specifically if there's anything else they want to know. 

So whilst this certainly isn't an exhaustive list of the questions you'll potentially be asked, thinking about them in advance and preparing some answers will mean you're less likely to be wrong-footed and stumped for words if you're asked these questions, or similar ones, during your interview. Generally, as we stated earlier, research and preparation is key - so don't neglect this after doing so well in securing your interview. 

Finally, from everyone at we'd like to wish you the best of luck with your interviews.