Updated on August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
Why did you pursue a career as a dental laboratory technician?
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The interviewer wants to know more about you. Keep your response relevant and work-related. You can choose to tell a quick story that relates to why you decided to enter the dental career field. The great thing about this question is that you can show your passion for the field. Show the interviewer that you're good at your job and love coming to work each day.
"I've always known I wanted to work in the medical career field but wasn't quite sure how. My hobby is designing jewelry. Using small tools, having an artistic eye and attention to detail are skills needed to create my jewelry. I discovered this skill to go hand in hand with being a successful Dental Laboratory Technician. Creating prosthetics for patients is a lot like my hobby of creating jewelry. Every piece is unique and intricate."
Entry Level Example
"I pursued a career as a dental laboratory technician primarily because my father worked in this field and my interest was piqued at an early age. I recently completed my Certificate as a Dental Technician. l am also recently certified through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology."
"I have been a dental laboratory technician for the past ten years. This work is gratifying to me because I understand the difference my craft makes in the lives of others. Properly engineered artificial teeth can be life-changing for our recipients."
The interviewer is asking you this question to find out your long-term career goals. 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. Tell the interviewer if you'd like to be in a leadership position or earn certifications. However answer this question, make sure your reply remains within the dental field and relevant to the job.
"In 5 years I'd like to be in a supervisory position within your lab. With a total of 3 years experience, combined with my education, I feel confident to be serving in a leadership role within that timeframe."
Entry Level Example
"Ideally, 5 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."
"In 5 years I would like to be seen as an authority in our industry. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."
Not everyone has a mission statement or personal mantra just off the cuff. In business, especially when entering leadership, this is an important question to ponder. Do you have a quote that inspires you or a saying that you grew up with that resonates with you?
"My mantra is that 'people who shine from within do not need the spotlight.' I feel that it is incredibly necessary to be a humble leader and I take this mission statement very seriously. I want my team to be in the spotlight rather than being the kind of leader that takes credit for good work."
Entry Level Example
"My mission is to give my best 100% of the time. It's important to me that I have a great reputation in this industry through hard work and a positive attitude."
"My mission statement is 'If you aren't 10 minutes early, you're 10 minutes late.' I am neurotic about being on time! I am very reliable, and you can count on me to make a great impression on your other staff."
If you had $50,000 to build your own business, what would you do?
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If money was no object, what kind of business would you start? The interviewer will be able to learn something new and unique about you through this question. Avoid answers that would include building a business that competes with the hiring company.
"If I had $50,000 to build my own business I would open up a community center in my neighborhood that offered inexpensive childcare, cooking classes, and other life skills programs. I am passionate about volunteering and see a strong need in those particular areas."
Entry Level Example
"If I had 50,000 to start my own business, I would stay in a creative field that required a great deal of attention. Perhaps jewelry making or glass blowing. I have a big creative streak!"
"I would choose to invest the $50,000 into an existing business in an industry that my spouse has an interest in. I love what I do for a career, but she has always wanted to be an entrepreneur."
How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?
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The interviewer would like to know more about the types of tools you use to stay on task and meet deadlines. Discuss how you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once. Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks.
"I manage my time by exercising the idea of 'time-blocking.' This means that I won't incessantly check my email; instead, I will allow myself to return emails in 30-minute time blocks, four times per day. Setting calendar alerts and personal deadlines for myself has also helped a lot."
Entry Level Example
"Very carefully! I prioritize deadlines and work that needs to be done, then work backward from there. When necessary, I utilize my resources and team to pitch in and contribute."
"When I'm busy, I seem to get the most done. To prioritize, I make lists of the to-do items and about how long I think they'll take. That way, I know what needs to be done first and what small to-dos I can squeeze in in between the larger tasks. I find it an effective way to manage my time and get things done when I'm busy."
6. What questions do you have for me? It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company 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 questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site! Here is an answer example: "I have a couple of quick questions, yes. First, is this a replacement search, or a newly created position due to growth? Next, what is your timeframe for making a hiring decision?" Here is an entry level answer example: "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?" Here is an experienced answer example: "Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"7. Why should we hire you as our next dental laboratory technician? If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.
Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most active advocate. Here is an answer example: "You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started with my current company, I was the youngest tech they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the performing technician in the company within six months. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in this industry to the point where I commit myself to taking at least one dental related workshop every business quarter. I am a competitive achiever. You won't be disappointed when you hire me." Here is an entry level answer example: "I'm qualified and passionate about dental transformations. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to your lab, and patients, and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your business." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have over a dozen years of experience in the dental industry at one of your largest competitors. Having been a part of the industry for nearly half of my life, I have seen a ton of change and have adapted to every change or innovation with ease and excitement, and I look forward to doing that at your company as well."8. How many days were you absent from work last year? A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance. Here is an answer example: "I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift." Here is an entry level answer example: "I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice." Here is an experienced answer example: "I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."9. Do you have experience making veneers? The interviewer wants to know more specifics about your work history. This is a simple yes or no answer, followed up with a few details. The last thing you want to do is exaggerate your experience because you might get placed in a position where you are over your head. If you are not proficient at making veneers tell the interviewer your level of experience and that you look forward to learning more. Tell the interviewer that you are up to date with impression technology. As a dental laboratory technician, your veneers don’t just fit; they are tailored to produce the best possible results for each patient’s smile. Here is an answer example: "I would rate myself as an intermediate level when it comes to the creation of veneers. So long as I have a supervisor to review my final work, I can go through the veneer making process on my own." Here is an entry level answer example: "The only experience I have making veneers is in school. My current lab doesn't make veneers, but I am efficient in making crowns. I look forward to the opportunity to hone my skills and start making veneers." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have fifteen years' experience in making veneers and also have experience training junior technicians. Veneers are, I would say, my specialty. I am happy to bring this skill to work with your organization and can also train any staff who may require it."10. What is the relationship between yourself and the dentist you currently report to? When you answer this question, be sure to remain positive, even if the experience wasn't. Avoid talking about any previous drama and do not speak poorly of your employer. Keep your answer short and respectful. The interviewer is asking you this question to learn more about your professional relationships. As a Dental Laboratory Technician, you work closely with the dentist to determine the need, requirements, and design of each item.
If you had a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have a great working relationship with my current dentist. He values my opinion and respects my work. We bounce ideas off of each other regularly to come up with the best prosthetic for the patient."
If you did not have a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times." Here is an answer example: "I have a great working relationship with my current dentist. He values my opinion and respects my work. We bounce ideas off of each other regularly to come up with the best prosthetic for the patient." Here is an entry level answer example: "My previous boss and I got along well. We had very different interests, so we did not spend a lot of time chatting, but our work interests were aligned, and we respected each other." Here is an experienced answer example: "My previous boss and I had a great working relationship. We were in sync when it came to accomplishing things we needed to do in the lab. We scheduled weekly touch base meetings to stay current on our progress and address any issues that came up along the way. I learned a lot from them on leadership while adding great value to the team."11. What education do you have as a dental laboratory technician? Tell the interviewer what formal education, continued education, and on the job training, you've received. Be sure to tell the interviewer about any individual courses or certifications you've earned along the way. Here is an answer example: "I started my career by working as a dental assistant. I was intrigued by the prosthetics that my dentist was providing to patients, so I wanted to learn more. I then completed a two year accredited laboratory program in addition to my 2-year technician program. I've been working in a dental lab for one year now and love it." Here is an entry level answer example: "I recently completed the Certified Dental Technician program and am looking forward to putting that knowledge to work. If there are additional certifications or workshops you would like me to take, I am happy to expand my education." Here is an experienced answer example: "As a dental laboratory technician, I completed a 2-year laboratory program. In addition to this, I also have a Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Sciences. I am certified through the NBC."12. When can you start working? If you are still employed, show that you are respectful of your employer by explaining that you want to give them a two-week notice allowing them time to fill your role. This shows you care about your work and that you're not the type of person who would quit as soon as something better comes your way. Here is an answer example: "I'd love to start immediately, as I am very excited about this role, but I need to give my two weeks notice to my current employer. I could start anytime after that." Here is an entry level answer example: "I wrap up my practicum in just one week and can start immediately after. When are you hoping to see your chosen candidate start?" Here is an experienced answer example: "I plan to give my current employer the professional courtesy of 2 weeks' notice; however, they may require me to help hire and train my replacement. It's safer to say that I could start in 4 weeks after giving my notice."13. Why do you want to work for us? The interviewer wants to know why you are specifically interested in their lab. This question is your opportunity to say some amazing things about the company and let them know you want to be apart of it. Highlight the awards they've won, the population they serve, the high tech equipment they use or even the fact that they are a small mom and pop lab. Here is an answer example: "Your laboratory serves a small population yet makes a big impact. I'd like to be part of a team that isn't made up of hundreds of employees but a smaller lab where I'd be able to be part of the action versus an assembly line situation." Here is an entry level answer example: "Your lab came highly recommended to me by my mentor, who is an experienced dental laboratory technician. She said that you have a great workplace culture and an excellent training program. I look forward to working here!" Here is an experienced answer example: "I want to work in your lab because you specialize in dentures, which is my specialty. I look forward to furthering exposure in this area, and to work with your high tech equipment."14. What have you done to expand your knowledge as a dental laboratory technician? Employers like to hire those who commit to their craft. Discuss the ways that you continue your education, or stay up to date on new industry trends. Include experiences such as continuing education units, additional certifications, or specialty workshops. Tell the interviewer how you continue to gain knowledge as a dental lab tech. Here is an answer example: "Continued education is important, especially in an industry where tech is always changing. I recently enrolled in a course focused on new trends in digital dentistry." Here is an entry level answer example: "I've learned so much simply by shadowing and working alongside senior lab technicians. As a recent graduate, I am eager to continue learning in any way possible. Do you have any immediate recommendations for me, for continued learning?" Here is an experienced answer example: "I commit to taking a new course or workshop every business quarter. The topics have ranged in ceramics, new software, digital dentistry, CAD/CAM solutions, and leadership. If you have other continued education suggestions, I would love to hear them!"15. What do you like most about being a dental laboratory technician? Tell the interviewer what it is that makes you want to go to work each day. Tell the interviewer if you enjoy working with the equipment, your co-workers, or the work itself. However you choose to answer, ensure that you display enthusiasm and positivity. Here is an answer example: "The thing I enjoy most about my job is the people that I work with. We are a mix of personalities and a great team that always gets the job done." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am excited to carve my career as a dental lab tech and am most excited about the changing technology in digital dental processes." Here is an experienced answer example: "My favorite part of my current role is a leader to the junior technicians. It feels great to help others carve a great career in the dental industry. I am a natural mentor and have no hesitation when it comes to teaching those who need it."16. How many days were you absent from work last year? A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance. Here is an answer example: "I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift." Here is an entry level answer example: "I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice." Here is an experienced answer example: "I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."17. Which dental specialties are you certified in? If you aren't certified in any particular skill, don't stress about this question. Tell the interviewer about how many months/years experience you have and that you would like to become certified. Telling the interviewer that you would want to become certified shows them that you are interested in investing in your career. Here is an answer example: "I'm certified in crowns, bridges, and ceramics. I haven't had the opportunity to work much with dentures but am looking forward to learning and becoming certified in a new skill." Here is an entry level answer example: "As I am new to my career as a dental laboratory technician, I do not yet have a specialty. Are you looking for a particular specialty in this role? I am willing to take on any topic to grow in this role as continued education is mutually beneficial." Here is an experienced answer example: "I specialize in the creation of dentures. I also have an intermediate level of exposure in ceramics, and bridges. I love the idea of continued education and will do what it takes to succeed in this role. Do you have any immediate suggestions for additional areas of focus?"18. Which dental related software are you most familiar with? The interviewer wants to know more about your work experience. Take the time to do a bit of research on the lab that you are applying to. Find out what type of equipment and software they use. Not familiar with their software? No problem. Tell the interviewer what software you are familiar with and that you can learn and pick things up quickly. You can rate your skills from 1-10 or use terms such as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Here is an answer example: "In the lab I currently work we use Novux. I've been using the system for the last three years and would rate myself as an intermediate user. What software do you use in your laboratory?" Here is an entry level answer example: "We touched on a couple of software programs while I was obtaining my certification. I am somewhat familiar with Denticon and Curve Dental. Which software programs do you use here? I would be happy to get a head start on training by taking an online course or reading some tutorials." Here is an experienced answer example: "In my years' experience as a dental laboratory technician, I have used a variety of software programs. I am confident in my ability to pick up new programs and pass my knowledge around to the junior technicians. In my current lab, we use PracticeWeb and Dovetail."19. Do you have CAD/CAM experience? With the dental field modernizing and the growing need for a more efficient way to make prosthetics, technology is growing. Tell the interviewer if you have experience working with this new equipment. This question may also give you the opportunity to ask the interviewer what types of equipment they use in their lab. Here is an answer example: "I have experience using milling and sintering machines but haven't had the opportunity to use the 3D printing. What types of equipment do you use here?" Here is an entry level answer example: "I learned a bit about CAD/CAM while obtaining my certification in dental lab technology; however, I would rate myself just as a beginner. I look forward to learning more and am certainly willing to study more, before starting this role." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have many years' experience with CAD/CAM and can train new techs on the ins and outs of digital dentistry as well. I would rate myself as an advanced user when it comes to this technology."20. What are your salary expectations? Before your interview, make sure you have researched the median salary for the position (and location). You can look at salary reviews on Glassdoor.com or Payscale.com.
Always make sure you give a salary range, not just a number. Providing a range allows you to negotiate down the road if you are given an offer. However, if you just tell the employer you are looking for $50K it doesn’t leave room for negotiating later on. Also, make sure the lowest number of your range is something you are comfortable with!
Another great option is to tell the interviewer what you are currently earning and tell them that you are seeking a competitive offer. Here is an answer example: "I am currently earning a base salary of $40K per year plus health benefits. I am looking for a position that will offer me competitive growth and salary." Here is an entry level answer example: "As I am new to my career as a dental lab technician, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role." Here is an experienced answer example: "I am negotiable with my salary expectations. However, I am not inclined to lose compensation. Compensation to me, though, is not just net pay. I take into account work hours, drive time, benefits, and more. Currently, I earn a base salary of $60K."21. Do you have experience making dentures? The interviewer wants to know more specifics about your work history. This is a simple yes or no answer, followed up with a few details. The last thing you want to do is exaggerate your experience because you might get placed in a position where you are over your head. If you are not proficient at making dentures tell the interviewer your level of experience and that you look forward to learning more. Here is an answer example: "I would rate myself as an intermediate level when it comes to the creation of dentures. So long as I have a supervisor to review my final work, I can go through the denture making process on my own." Here is an entry level answer example: "I learned how to make dentures in school but haven't had the opportunity to make them in my current position. I picked it up quickly in school and look forward to building my skills if chosen for this position." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have fifteen years' experience in making dentures and also have experience training junior technicians. Dentures are, I would say, my specialty. I am happy to bring this skill to work with your organization and can also train any staff who may require it."22. What is your biggest weakness? Choose a weakness that can be improved with training and continued education. If you tell the interviewer about a gap, you have that is too personal or could disrupt the team they may not see you as a good fit but instead one to bring drama to the workplace. When describing your weakness make sure you follow it up with how you are working at making it a strength. Here is an answer example: "I have focused so greatly on my skills as a dental lab tech for the past five years. Now, it's time for me to develop further and grow my leadership skills. I have signed up for a leadership weekend workshop, starting in May. I look forward to expanding my knowledge in leadership and putting it to practice with your organization." Here is an entry level answer example: "One of my weaknesses is my knowledge on our new CAD/CAM machine. I'm new to this process but have been very excited to learn how to use it. I've had one-on-one help from our lead technician and have used it a few times on my own. With time, continued training and a bit more on the job training, I look forward to being go-to for the lab on this particular piece of equipment." Here is an experienced answer example: "That is a great question! I am currently working on developing my ability to influence without direct authority. I have an executive coach that is helping me do this through mentorship programs and peer practice groups."23. How would your co-workers describe you? The interviewer wants to know more about your professional relationships. Your answer to this question will tell the interviewer a few different things. It will show them how well you work on a team.
As a dental laboratory technician, it is common to work in a diverse laboratory setting. Let the interviewer know that you can handle diversity, work with a cross-functional team, help others in the lab, be an active leader, and be a dependable team member. Tell the interviewer how your co-workers view your personality and skills. Here is an answer example: "My coworkers would describe me as collaborative, willing to help, and technically savvy. I am advanced in these areas and look forward to taking these skills to work for your organization." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some words you could use to describe yourself:
- Responsible" Here is an experienced answer example: "In my previous performance reviews, my supervisors have commented on my willingness to learn, try new methods of working, and then pass that knowledge onto my junior technicians. I take pride in my work and my leadership skills."24. How do you evaluate success? The interviewer is asking you this question to see your level of excitement when it comes to succeeding in the workplace. If you stumble over this question or answer with an 'I don't know' this shows the interviewer that you are a 'go to work, go home' type of person. Tell the interviewer how you evaluate your own success and give an example. Here is an answer example: "I evaluate my success by how quickly and efficiently I learn a new process. I was introduced to the CAM/CAD system last month and am already using it without the lead technicians instruction. I'm very proud with how quickly I picked it up." Here is an entry level answer example: "I evaluate success by meeting and achieving the goals that my employer sets out for me. I am a high achiever and like to know that I am delivering more than my employer expected." Here is an experienced answer example: "There are two parts to how I evaluate success. One is how I deliver my work. The second is the performance of my team. I know that the team needs to over-achieve before we can all be proud of a job well-done."25. What major challenges and problems did you face at your last position? The interviewer would like to know how you recover from stressful situations. The critical thing to remember when answering this question is to follow it up with a solution and what you learned from it. Tell the interviewer if you had challenges with coworkers, equipment. Or work policy requests. Here is an answer example: "A challenge I experience at my last position was a shipping and receiving issue. I ordered three months worth of gypsum. My order was on backorder with no date due in. I quickly called three different companies to see who could get it to me quickest and at the lowest cost. We had to put five patients dentures on hold. We called the patients, explained the situation and moved forward. We implemented a new ordering process because of this supply shortage. We haven't had any problems since." Here is an entry level answer example: "While attending University, I came across a major problem when my work schedule and school schedule were colliding. I solved this issue by approaching my manager and expressing my need for a more consistent schedule. We worked out a plan that works for everyone and I was able to earn money will still maintaining strong grades." Here is an experienced answer example: "In my current position, we had challenges with employee tenure. Our competitor was scooping up our best technicians - primarily because they paid more. We could not afford to increase wages; however, I suggested a new flex time plan where our employees could take every other Friday off for a long weekend. This policy has increased our tenure by 76% in the past year."
Writers for Dental Laboratory Technician Answers and Questions
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 05/24/2013 Last modified on: 08/17/2018
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