Blog > Job search

What employers are looking for in dental jobseekers

When you're ready for a new challenge or want to consider alternative career opportunities, there are certain things we recommend you do. Registering with suitable job boards - like bestdentaljobs.co.uk, preparing a winning dental CV, and thinking about the questions you may be asked at interview will all help stand you in good stead. But often thinking about things from a potential employer's perspective will help you consider things from a fresh viewpoint and ensure you position yourself in the most favourable light.

From our work with dental recruiters throughout the UK, we've collated the top five things that dental practitioners are looking for in new hires.

1. Experience & knowledge. It sounds obvious, but having the right qualifications or on-the-job experience, as well as being reliable and having the right attitude is highly desirable. Being able to evidence your understanding of terminology, processes and the way that practices operate will be critically important for many roles, both clinical and non-clinical. Employers typically want to know that they're taking on suitably skilled people that can effectively, 'hit the ground running'.

2. Patient focus. In the dental sector, patient care and patient focus is an absolute priority. A dental practice isn't going to last very long if it can't acquire, satisfy and retain its patients, so consider the way that you've dealt with patients in the past, play to your strengths and be able to explain how you work with patients. You may even be asked to engage in a role play at interview stage, or explain how you'd deal with tricky or challenging customers, or nervous patients. Can you talk an interviewer through scenarios you've had to deal with in the past? Be prepared to answer questions about how you deal with patients.

3. Demonstrable skills. Inevitably some roles will require more skills than others, so if you're claiming you're able to do something, you need to be able to demonstrate this. Operating key machinery, or being competent with patient paperwork is one thing - but what about less definable skills? Can you demonstrate manual dexterity? How can you show your willingness to learn? In larger practices, being able to work as part of a team is important too… but how can you demonstrate your team skills?

4. Personable. The dental sector is naturally very people-oriented. So regardless of which role you're aiming for, being personable is a key trait that many employers will prioritise. Being personable might mean different things to different people, but our understanding of it (and that of the hiring managers we spoke to) suggests that simply being approachable, friendly, smiling, eager to help and committed to providing a high quality service are all ways in which someone can be personable. So, for your CV, think about how you can highlight some of these traits, or at interview share a story or scenario about how being personable led to a positive outcome in a given situation. Whatever you do, the hiring manager should be in no doubt about your ability to interact with their patients.

5. Flexibility. This is a trickier one to evidence because the ability to be flexible will vary from role to role and person to person. And this isn't to be confused with flexible working either, as that's more an employee benefit… whereas employers are typically looking for someone that can be flexible. If short staffed, for example, you might be asked to cover shifts, start earlier or finish later… so someone that can help in this regard, or who can demonstrate this in previous roles will tick another box in the hiring manager's mind.

So whether it's in your cover letter, your CV or at interview stage, thinking about these five specific areas will help you present yourself in such a way as to address a recruiter's mental checklist. Show how you're the best dental candidate for the role and you'll be much better positioned to get the role you desire.