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Dental Assistant Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated July 21st, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 25
What questions do you have for me?
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How to Answer
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the clinic's website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
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Answer Examples
1.
What questions do you have for me?
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the clinic's website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"A couple of questions do come to mind. First, how quickly would you like to have this position filled? Second, is there anything from my background that I can further clarify for you?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some sample questions:

- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not hire me?"
2.
Are you CPR certified?
Answer this question with a simple yes or no. If your certification is not current, assure the interviewer that you are going to renew your certification. If you have an existing, and valid, certification be sure to bring the documentation with you so that the interviewer can take a copy for your file.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am CPR Certified. I brought a copy of my card for you to scan, for my file. This certification is valid for another two years."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have not yet obtained my CPR certification; however, I am registered to take the CPR course next weekend. I will certainly be certified before my potential start date."
3.
Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?
The interviewer would like to know your preference when it comes to a predictable vs.unpredictable routine. Are you the individual who prefers to know what the day will bring, or do you thrive on the challenge and excitement of unpredictability?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I prefer working in a more predictable environment because I can be more effective in my tasks. With that said, I can certainly work in an unpredictable environment from time to time."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am comfortable either way, but I would probably grow bored if nothing ever changed. Having a few days of status quo now and then is good for my sanity though."
4.
Do you speak any other languages?
This is a simple yes or no answer. The interviewer may ask this question, depending on the diversity of their clients. Unless stated in the job posting, this is likely not a deal breaker but more a question of interest.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In addition to being fluent in English, I speak conversational Spanish. I've found my ability to speak Spanish helps during patient exams from time to time."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I do not speak any other languages, aside from English. Would you like for me to learn another language? I have wanted to commit to expanding my linguistic skills."
5.
Where do you see your career in five years?
The interviewer is trying to establish how committed you are to staying with the company. The company may invest in you with training so, ensure the interviewer that you're not taking this job until something better comes along.

It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Ideally, five years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I'd like to become a proficient dental assistant and specialize as a hygienist in five years."
6.
What type of work environment do you dislike working in?
Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of environment that is offered in this position before the interview.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the mentality is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I tend to find slow paced or red tape environments challenging to maintain my excitement levels."
7.
What procedure do you use to sterilize dental equipment?
The interviewer wants to know if you are aware of the fundamental procedures you would have to perform as a dental assistant. Do your homework, beforehand!

As cross-infection is possible in any dental surgery, so, a designated area or "clean" room is present for receiving, cleaning off debris, disinfecting, sterilizing and storing all sterile dental equipment.

The manual way to clean the instruments is by scrubbing, using a chemical or detergent agent, rinsing very thoroughly with clean water, and avoiding any splashes.

You could also mention that using automated equipment can prove more efficient as the instruments eliminate the need for soaking or scrubbing beforehand. This method also prevents the dental assistant from being exposed to contaminants.

To reduce injury; gloves, face-masks, and gowns must be worn at all times. To impress the interviewer, you can always finish answering this question by saying that many organizations across America insist on long-handled brushes to keep the hands away from sharp instruments!
Rachelle's Answer #1
"clean"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I was trained to manually sterilize dental equipment by the method of pre-soaking and scrubbing utensils using a chemical agent. I am also versed in the importance of proper protective equipment such as gloves, a face-mask, and a gown."
8.
How do you handle stress?
Any interview is a stressful situation so if you are coping with that you are not doing too bad!

Answer your questions factually and calmly. Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to control pressure in the workplace. Tell the interviewer about a time you were double booked, had an upset patient or were short staffed.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I work out each night to resolve any stress I may be experiencing. I find that the rush of endorphins can fix almost anything!"
9.
Have you progressed in your dental career, as expected?
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am pleased with the progress of my dental career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."
10.
How would your co-workers describe your attention to detail?
Attention to detail is critical when you are dealing with ultra sterile environments. A dentist assistant must thoroughly sterilize and disinfect instruments and prepare the trays for dental procedures.

Every dental visit should run like clockwork, and the assistant has a significant part to play in this. When the clinic runs smoothly, everyone is happy. It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job, and be sure to include any previous feedback you may have received from co-workers in the past.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I always take a few extra minutes to ensure that I'm reading the patients x-rays and findings correctly for the doctor. My most recent boss commented on how much she appreciated me giving her the correct information the first time."
11.
What are your salary expectations?
The compensation question can be tough to answer. It's always best to start with what you are currently earning and then discuss what your future compensation goals look like.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am currently making $40,000 per year plus benefits. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As I am new to my career and this industry, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."
12.
Tell me some techniques you use to keep an office organized?
First and foremost, prioritize your daily tasks. Maybe there is an operation due early in the morning, so you must ensure that the dental surgery room is prepared and the instruments are all laid out correctly. Share with the interviewer how you remain organized throughout the day.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current role, I build the daily schedule for each technician and provider. It's important for me to pay attention to detail so I pair the technician and provider appropriately, time all procedures accurately and not overbook the dentist."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe that the key to keeping an organized office is to be properly trained in the software programs, pay attention to the schedule, and avoid overbooking the dentist. Also, confirmation calls to future patients are a lifesaver!"
13.
Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.
Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness...all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.

If you do have volunteer experience: "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."

If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is essential to take care of the needs of the family."
Rachelle's Answer #1
"For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I volunteer a couple of Saturdays per month serving meals at a local homeless shelter. Helping others is very rewarding, and I think the world would be a much better place if we all spent time volunteering! "
14.
What has been your best experience thus far, as a dental assistant?
This question is assuming you have had previous experience working as a dental assistant before. If you have, tell them about your best experience, ensuring to showcase your attributes in care and compassion.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"A patient came into the surgery absolutely petrified to see the dentist and having the treatment done. I took their hand and stayed with them every second they were in the dentist's chair reassuring them it would be fine. The best part of this experience was when the patient walked out of the surgery, thanking me for making them feel so comfortable."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As I am new to my career as a dental assistant, I would say that the best experience so far has been my practicum with Clinic ABC. I was able to lean a great deal from the dentist and also the dental hygienists. Feeling so welcome and accepted in this industry has by far been my favorite experience."
15.
What are three key traits a dental assistant needs to have?
The interviewer would like to see the types of traits you value the most. Likely, the characteristics that you mention while answering this question are going to be traits that you have. When answering this question, focus on your daily routine, personal skills, and organization skills.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I think being able to work well in a team, clearly communicate, and consistently provide excellent customer service are incredibly important traits to have as a dental assistant. Rest assured, I would bring these traits with me to this role."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Through my dental assistant education, I learned that the best key traits to have include a keen eye on safety, hygiene, and good bedside manner."
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25 Dental Assistant Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. What questions do you have for me?
  2. Are you CPR certified?
  3. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?
  4. Do you speak any other languages?
  5. Where do you see your career in five years?
  6. What type of work environment do you dislike working in?
  7. What procedure do you use to sterilize dental equipment?
  8. How do you handle stress?
  9. Have you progressed in your dental career, as expected?
  10. How would your co-workers describe your attention to detail?
  11. What are your salary expectations?
  12. Tell me some techniques you use to keep an office organized?
  13. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.
  14. What has been your best experience thus far, as a dental assistant?
  15. What are three key traits a dental assistant needs to have?
  16. Tell me about your relationship with the last dentist you supported.
  17. What will you contribute to this dental office?
  18. Tell me about your leadership qualities.
  19. Tell me about yourself.
  20. Do you prefer to work on your own, or as a part of a team?
  21. Would you be willing to work over 40 hours a week?
  22. If a patient complains they had to wait too long to see the doctor, what will you do?
  23. How do you handle a situation where the dentist you are supporting does not correctly communicate information to you?
  24. When have you worked with a diverse group of people?
  25. Which dental related software and programs have you worked with?
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