Dental Hygienist Interview Advice

Dental hygienist interviews are complex because of the wide range of functions that this profession entails. There are many complications because many of the services required may vary from job to job. Dental hygienists may be required to be experts in particular areas of a clinical practice, or generalists, when working with dentists.

Interview Basics

The dental hygienist interview will have both technical and a few behavioral questions. Clear answers are essential in this interview. Also, communications skills are a primary requirement of dental hygienist work, and it's important to ensure that you show your skills effectively:

  • Use simple narrative start-to-finish answers. (The STAR technique is particularly useful for complex answers to avoid garbling them.)
  • Don't go off topic.
  • Speak clearly, and monitor what you say.
  • Make sure that you fully understand the questions before answering and ask for clarification, if required.

Interview Question #1: Give us an overview of your experience.

This is a very important, fundamental check on your areas of work. You need to match the requirements and show your expertise matches up.

Interview Question #2: Give us an example of solving a problem with a patient.

This is a behavioral question about another fundamental role, and your example needs to describe the situation clearly. A typical issue in dental hygiene, ranging from those who won't cooperate to those who don't, do whatever is required of them. For example, they take medication regularly, brush their teeth, etc. The best way to approach this question is a series of stages:

  1. Define the problem and the dental issues.
  2. Explain the patient's issues.
  3. Explain the solution, and how you addressed the patient's issues.
  4. Describe the result.

Interview Question #3: Can you tell us about an incident where you didn't agree with the dentist's treatment methods?

This question is very important, because it directly relates to working relationships. Many dental hygienists and dentists have disagreement about methodologies. That situation sets the scene for a conflict in treatments, and has to be settled effectively.

These professional disputes don't necessarily have a right or wrong answer. You're really being asked about how you dealt with the issues, and your reasons for disputing the dentist's methods. Present your side logically, and explain the result of the dispute. It's essential that you show strong professional values, particularly concern for the patient.

Interview Question #5: Give an example of a case which shows your working methods and the result.

Explain the patient's viewpoint to illustrate the degree of difficulty, and also outline the dental hygiene issues. Your method should show a practical approach to improving patient health and allaying any concerns the patient had regarding the treatment.

Interview Question #6: Give an example of how you manage your workload.

Time management, efficiency and timely performance of duties is a vital requirement of a dental hygienist's job. There's plenty to do, and it all has to be done reliably, on time and as required.