Consider this job-search scenario: You’re feeling ready to either enter the workforce as a dental assistant or pursue a dental assistant job at a new practice. You’ve identified a potential position that appeals to you, sent in the requested application and materials, and received the hoped-for phone call: The hiring manager would like to bring you into the dental office for an interview!

What now?

If you can relate, look no further for advice. We’ve identified some talking points you may want to keep in mind on the big interview day. These tips may help you to stand out and ultimately land the dental assistant job!


1. Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Experience

Dental assistants must be knowledgeable about dental procedures, tools and terminology. Additionally, you also must know all about state dental assisting laws and regulations and infection control protocols. Understandably then, it’s crucial that prospective dental assistants demonstrate their knowledge if they’ve already earned any education or gained experience in the field.

It’s not required that dental assistants graduate from a formal dental assistant school to land a dental assistant job. However, graduates may have an advantage over those applicants who have not. Similarly, it’s not usually a requirement to have prior experience as a dental assistant to receive a job offer. But both these things certainly can elevate you as a job candidate.

Additionally, DANB has found that holding DANB certification gives dental assistant job candidates an edge over other applicants, as employers prefer to hire DANB certificants. If you are DANB certified, or if you intend to become DANB certified, don’t hesitate to make this known to the hiring dentist during your dental assistant interview.


2. Indicate Your Willingness to Learn

If you haven’t attended a formal dental assistant school or gained any prior experience, this usually isn’t a deal-breaker for prospective employers. On the contrary, we’ve heard that dentists may be persuaded to hire applicants who simply communicate passion for learning. Also, it can help if applicants seem open to gaining more experience and education in the future. Are you a dental assistant who wants to grow your knowledge base? You may want to consider the online resources available through DANB’s affiliate, the DALE Foundation.


3. Show Your Compassionate Side

Among the top qualities that dental assistants share is that they’re compassionate. We hear time and time again that dental assistants are passionate about lending a helping hand, a listening ear and their vast dental knowledge to patients.

As an assistant, you will spend much face time with patients. You’ll seat them, talk with them, and even reassure them and answer their questions. Assistants play an important role in a patient’s dental office experience. Sometimes, you can even make a big difference in whether a patient chooses to return for follow-up care. Therefore, during a dental assistant interview, it’s imperative that you communicate that patient care would be your top priority as an assistant.


4. Express Your Team Spirit

Dental assistants are vital members of the dental team — so much so that each year, there’s a week dedicated to celebrating assistants’ important role in the dental office. During Dental Assistants Recognition Week, not only do employers take the time to recognize their employees, but assistants also show their appreciation for their fellow teammates. Dental assistants consistently say that the best part of the role is working as a member of a great dental team, with assistants who are always pitching in to help one another. We’ve heard that the best teammates share these top qualities and more: They’re positive, encouraging, uplifting, cooperative and friendly. Does this sound like you? Make sure the hiring dentist knows this and doesn’t hesitate to bring you into the mix!

Have you been looking for a dental assistant job? How has the experience been for you?