Employers are concerned about the type of employees they hire. Not only do they want someone with the skill set that matches the job description, but they want someone with a strong work ethic, a positive attitude that will reflect well on the employer and his or her business, and excellent people skills to ensure customers become repeat clients.
Because of employment laws, there are certain questions employers cannot ask of an applicant, and it may be hard to really figure out someone’s personality in a 15-20 minute interview, if the interview even lasts that long. Even worse, some interview formats make it next to impossible to show employers your true personality. Have you ever had a phone interview where all they did was fire the most cliché questions at you, such as “Why are you interested in this position?” or “What skills do you have that would make you a good fit for this position?” or “Tell me about yourself.” There is no natural flow to the conversation, just silence between the time you finish answering and the next question from the interviewer. (During the silence you can hear them typing notes about what you just said.) It’s horrible, right!
Unfortunately, some employers, especially smaller dental practices, don’t spend every day interviewing applicants, and aren’t really that experienced in conducting interviews. If the person doing the hiring (usually the dentist) likes several candidates, they may just search around online to see what type of a person you are. For that reason, clean up your social media profiles or make sure they are private. If you go out partying on the weekends, curse too much in posts, or otherwise make yourself look less than professional or serious, please realize that potential employers may be deterred by what they find.
Instead, try crafting your profile to reflect your interest in your work. Especially on LinkedIn, or even Facebook, try joining an industry group or discussion, and add some valuable opinions or content. If you sound intelligent and can offer help to someone publicly on social media, it will reflect very well on you. It is best to avoid posting anything about your job search or interview progress to your friends, and definitely don’t complain about your job search or any of the interviewers with whom you’ve met. They may be reading it later that evening!
Make sure your profile on LinkedIn is up to date with any new course or dental assistant training you’ve completed, including CPR certifications, radiography courses, infection control courses, and so on. If you graduated at the top of your class, that would be something to mention. Any volunteer work or clinical experience you’ve gained through your schooling, even if it was part of the course, should also be highlighted.
Ask all of your teachers and fellow students to write recommendations on your page, and endorse you for skills. Your performance in class is a great example of how you’ll act in a professional setting, so they should be able to find positive attributes to highlight. No one will know that you’ve asked them to write a recommendation for you, and it will appear as though you’re the most highly recommended candidate out there. If numerous other people are bragging about your skills, you must really be an exceptional dental assistant!