Updated on August 30th, 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 30
Which dentistry related newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new dental discoveries, and current events?
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The interviewers want to see that you have a keen interest in continually learning your craft. The dental industry is ever changing! Talk about how you stay up to date on industry trends, new breakthroughs, dentistry related concerns, and more.
List a couple of dental journals that you like to read and discuss how often you dive into dental related news. Perhaps you subscribe to a particular magazine, blog, or follow certain social media accounts.
It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers about their favorite ways to stay in touch on dental related current events. Asking this question in return can make for a great dialogue, and you never know what you will learn!
"I am sure to read Dentistry Today, and Journal of the American Dental Association, on a regular basis. In addition to these medical journals, I also subscribe to DentalEconomics.com. It's important to diversify where your news comes from and I would love some fresh suggestions. What are your favorite places for news on current trends?"
What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to dental school?
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Perhaps you have maintained an exceptional GPA or maybe you excelled in school while also working a part time job. Maybe you finished top of your class and received a special award for your achievements. Think of any accolades that you may have received along the way.
"The achievement that I am most proud of, so far, was completing my undergrad, top of my class. While maintaining very strong grades, I was also President of our school's Diversity Club, and I spent time volunteering at the local Smile drive."
Have you ever had significant dental work? Tell me about your experience as a patient. What made it memorable?
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You can discuss your experience with braces as a kid, or maybe even a root canal! Did you have a favorite dentist, growing up? Keep your answer simple and positive.
"I had braces as a teenager and do remember that the orthodontist I saw was really great at keeping my nerves at bay. He had a cool office and let me pick the color of my elastics which I always really liked. This particular dentist showed me the importance of great dental hygiene. I hope to have similar bedside manner when I am a dentist."
At our university, we seek students who have a true passion for dentistry. What appeals to you most, about working in the field of dentistry?
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Your core passion is what will keep you going on the toughest of days at school. For the interviewers to understand how to motivate you, they need to know what fires you up!
It is okay to share a personal story when answering this question. Perhaps you can discuss what initiated your interest in attending dental school to begin with. Whatever drives you, make sure the interviewers can feel your passion!
"There are a number of factors that drive my passion for a career in dentistry. If I had to pinpoint one main driver, I would say that creating amazing smiles, every day, is the most significant for me. Everyone deserves a smile they are proud of."
It's likely that the interviewers have seen hundreds of applicants, so a question like this is an opportunity for you to stand out. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to conduct research on the school. You don't need to be an expert on their entire history, but you do need to be knowledgeable on their programs, culture, and recent accolades.
Start by searching their website and take special note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community or student body. Identify their mission and values so that you can be clear on what they stand for.
"The passion for community and elevated learning at your university really jumps out to me. It is probably why you are the longest standing university in the entire state. I also love the effort that your school puts in when it comes to placements for your dentistry school graduates. It is very obvious that your faculty goes beyond the general expectations of a university to ensure it's students' success."
6. Who in your life mentors, or inspires you? Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, an author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewers about who has inspired your life and why. Here is an answer example: "I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."7. We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan? Having a self-development plan is incredibly important for anyone. If this university is going to invest in you, they need to know that you have a plan in place for investing in yourself also.
Some ideas for self-development:
- Listening to an inspiring podcaster
- Attending personal development workshops
- Spending time volunteering in a capacity related to your career goals
- Utilizing a mentor
- Hiring a tutor
- Learning another language
- Reading books associated with success Here is an answer example: "I agree that self-development is crucial for continual growth and achievement. I am committed to investing in myself and some of the ways I do this is by attending personal development workshops, and meeting with my mentor once per month."8. Many dentists have an area of specialty in which they work. What area of dentistry interests you the most? Before your interview, you should conduct some research on areas of specialty that are offered in dentistry.
Some branches of dentistry:
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial
- Oral and Maxillofacial surgery Here is an answer example: "I have always had my eye on a specialty in Pediatrics. I really like working around children and think it's great to influence people to take care of their smiles, from a young age."9. Are you aware of cases of medical malpractice in the dentistry field? How will you cope if you are faced with one of these situations? Every medical sector has its own difficulties and dentistry is not untouched by accusations of malpractice. How will you react if you find yourself involved or aware of any medical malpractice accusation? What will be your problem solving process? Will you start panicking or will you stay calm and try to figure out some solution for the problem at hand?
Tell the interviewer how you react in problematic situations. Demonstrate your wisdom and problem solving skills. Try to keep the answer precise and remain positive. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I am aware of cases of malpractice in the dentistry field and it can be disheartening to hear them sometimes. Although I would be diligent with my best work, there are no guarantees and mistakes do happen. If I faced a situation like that, I would take full responsibility for my part in the situation but would defend my expertise and decision making skills at the same time. The best thing any medical professional can do is to try their best every day, document very well, and only work with patients that you trust."10. Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on while attending dental school. Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for your success as a dentistry student. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community centre. We are all human with our own weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours! Here is an answer example: "I believe I could improve on my written and verbal communication skills as I tend to be more blunt than I would like to be at times. I have enrolled myself in a week long workshop this summer with the goal of becoming a more eloquent communicator. I hope to gain skills in this workshop that I can continue to utilize during my university career."11. What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to our university? The interviewers want to know which considerations you put in before sending your application to their university. What they really do not want to hear is that you blindly sent out a million applications, hoping that something would stick. Share with the interviewers the consideration you put into your application.
Some methods of consideration could have been:
- Talking to / interviewing alumni of their university.
- Attending an open house at their school.
- Extensive online research.
- Researching who the most renowned graduates of their dental program are.
- Meeting with a career counselor and asking for recommendations.
- Speaking with a current student at the school, specifically someone in the program you are interested in. Here is an answer example: "I was sure to conduct a great deal of research before applying to your school. I started by interviewing some alumni that I know, and I also spoke with a couple of your current students who are in the dentistry program. Last year I attended the open house here as well. Your school left a very positive impression on me which is why I chose to apply here."12. There is a high suicide rate among dentists. How do you feel about this fact and how do you plan on remaining grounded during your career? The high suicide rate among dentists is one of the darker clouds over the industry. By asking this question the interviewers are not only trying to make sure that you are aware of this fact but they are also trying to ensure that you have strong stress management skills.
Show that you are fully prepared to handle those pressures associated with a career in dentistry. Discuss the ways that you cope with the stress and maintain a work /life balance. This could include meditation, working out at the gym, going for a hike every now and then or diving into a hobby. Here is an answer example: "I am aware of the fact that the suicide rate for dentists is high. I try to make sure that I meditate on a regular basis, do yoga and workout everyday. These hobbies really help me with stress management as a student and I plan to carry these habits into my professional life as well."13. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work? Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. When you work in the medical field, those setbacks can be amplified. While attending university, even more so because your grades can greatly determine the success of your future career. Discuss with the interviewers how you typically cope with setbacks. Here is an answer example: "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a project that I have put a lot of time and effort into. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I choose to learn from them."14. How does your family feel about you attending dental school? Do you have a great deal of support? The interviewers want to know that if you were accepted into their university that you would have the support required for your heavy and challenging work load.
Discuss a bit about your family such as anyone who lives near you or how your family expresses their excitement for your career. You can also mention anyone in your family who may have had a similar path in dentistry. Here is an answer example: "My family is incredibly proud of me for attending dental school. My father is especially keen as he also graduated from this university. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, live in the area so I will have a very strong and encouraging support system should I be accepted into your school."15. What questions do you have for us about our university? It is very important that you come to your interview prepared with questions for the interviewers. Having prepared questions shows the panel that you are keenly interested in what they do, specifically, at this university.
Remember that people like to talk about what they know! By having insightful questions prepared, you are setting the stage for the interviewers to tell you many important and helpful details about their process, and their educational facility. Keep the majority of your question academically related. Asking too much about the culture, social life, and extra-curricular activities may cause you to appear unfocused.
Here are some ideas:
- If you could give me any piece of advice, what would that be?
- Is there anything in my application, or anything that I said in today's interview, that I can clarify for you?
- What is the most important thing I should know about my first week at your school, should I be accepted?
- Can you tell me about some of the exciting opportunities I could take advantage of, should I attend your school?
- What do you feel is the most unique offering at your school, compared to others in the area? Here is an answer example: "I would love to learn more about this university, from your perspective. What is the biggest competitive edge this school has over it's competitors?"16. How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation? Not all feedback will be delivered in a friendly, easy to absorb manner. Think to a time when you received feedback or criticism that was bit hurtful or surprising. Discuss how you reacted in a productive way.
It is important that you highlight for the interviewers that you were able to take the criticism and learn from it. Talk about how you successfully implemented change. Here is an answer example: "Last year I received a low grade on a chemistry project. When I approached my professor about the low grade, he said to me 'You can do better. I expected more from you'. I was taken aback at first but once I had time to absorb what was said, I realized that he expected more from me because he had high expectations of what I was capable of doing. It was a compliment, and a challenge, all rolled into one! I re-did the assignment with more gusto and passion the second time around. My grade improved significantly and I did thank that professor for holding me to a higher standard."17. Talk to us about your current GPA. Are you satisfied with your current GPA or would you change it if you could? Talk to the interviewers about your undergrad experience.
If you were satisfied with your GPA: "I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself."
If you were not satisfied with your GPA: "I feel that my GPA could have been higher; however, I was working full time while attending classes. All in all, I did learn a lot about discipline and commitment." Here is an answer example: "I graduated top of my class and am very proud of my accomplishments during my undergraduate studies. The experience taught me to study hard and set attainable goals for myself."18. Dental school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs at our university, and beyond? Dental school is an investment and you need to be sure that you can handle the financial requirements associated with your acceptance. Keep your answer brief, and to the point. Simply let the interviewers know that you have a solid financial plan for your schooling. Here is an answer example: "I have been making arrangements for many years to afford my attendance to dental school. My finances are in good order."19. How well do you think you have performed in this interview today? This question is a stress test! There is always room for improvement; however, you want to avoid picking your interview apart.
If you feel the interview went well: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"
If you feel you could have performed better: "I feel that I was well prepared for the majority of the questions you have asked me today; however, I would like to clarify my answer on one particular point...." Then, return to the question you may have stumbled on and answer how you would have liked to the first time. Here is an answer example: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"20. Do you have aspirations to own your own practice in the future? What appeals to you about business ownership? The interviewer wants to know about your future plans and if you have intentions of joining a existing practice, or starting your own. Be honest about your plans and desire for your career path. Here is an answer example: "My ultimate goal would be to open my own practice one day, as I want to control the prices of my services and provide affordable dentistry services to my community. I do have an entrepreneurial spirit so I feel that opening my own practice would scratch that itch as well."21. What was your DAT score? Were you happy with it? The interviewers want to know specifically what your DAT score was and how you felt about the score. Keep your answer straightforward and concise. Here is an answer example: "I scored xx in my DAT and yes, I am very happy with this score. I studied hard and was rewarded for my diligence."22. What are you reading right now? Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewers about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most. Here is an answer example: "Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience and success. I feel that everyone should read it - it comes highly recommended."23. What other dental schools have you applied to and where does our university rank? Knowing where you are applying will help the interviewers to better understand if their school will be able to meet your specific needs and educational desires or goals. You should be transparent when answering this question but be sure to avoid saying anything offensive such as 'this school is my last choice'. Pick out the number one reason why you want to attend their university and focus on that. Here is an answer example: "I have applied to four other dental schools. Those schools are A, B, C, and D. My interest in your university is strong because you are highly regarded in the dental industry. The reputation of your school is unmatched. I would be so proud to say that I graduated from this school."24. Talk to us about your experience and thoughts on handling blood and saliva. You will be subject to difficult scenarios in your role as a dentist. How do you feel about this? You can keep your answer simple by discussing your ability to handle events involving blood, and other bodily fluids. Here is an answer example: "I have never been a queasy individual and I fully understand the types of cases that I will see in my career as a Dentist. Currently, I work part time at our local drop in shelter and have seen a wide range of situations involving blood, and such. I don't think about the gore, but more about the fact that it's a human being who needs my help. I believe this mentality will get me through any undesirable situation."25. Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewers that you are a real person, too.
Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewers to ask you to perform your skill on the spot when its possible! (This will make you unforgettable!) Here is an answer example: "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last 3 years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."26. What do you feel is the single most important quality a dentist should possess? This is an opportunity to give a unique answer so try to dig deeper than "strong attention to detail" or "strong communication skills".
Some ideas for you:
- Unrelenting drive
- Desire for improvement
- Patience and Fortitude
- Self Confidence Here is an answer example: "strong attention to detail"27. Why should we accept you over another dentistry student with the same qualifications? Put yourself in the position of the interviewers. You are looking at multiple talented candidates, all have stellar grades, all have drive, and all have potential to be renowned alumni of their university. What would be the primary reason to choose YOU over everyone else?
Some things that make you a stand out candidate:
- Recent volunteer work
- An existing connection to the faculty or facility
- A memorable and personal story of struggle and triumph
- An unusual skill such as speaking multiple languages, or knowing sign language
- An additional degree, diploma, or certification
- Proof that you continually focus on personal and professional development Here is an answer example: "I believe I am the strongest student for your dentistry program because I am incredibly dedicated to my professional and personal development. Since beginning my undergraduate program I have committed to taking a personal development workshop twice per year. The topics have included communication, person-ability, multi-tasking, organization, and even persuasive writing. I plan to take these skills and apply them to my graduate studies as well."28. Tell us about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve? Discuss what interested you the most, and where you had the biggest challenges, while obtaining your undergrad. While attending undergraduate studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to your time in dental school.
Think about what you learned:
- Time Management
- Creative Thinking
- Proposal Writing
- Public Speaking
- Presentation Building
- Independent Learning
- Academic Research
- Self-Motivation Here is an answer example: "I am very proud of my achievements during my undergrad education. Those courses added so much value that I will bring to my graduate program. My best courses included X, Y, and Z. I feel that I excelled in these because they are related to the specialty I plan to end up in. As far as areas of improvement, I think that I can better myself in terms of time management. I overextended myself last semester with volunteer opportunities and my study time suffered slightly. Now that I have identified the reason behind my time management challenges, I will only see improvement, moving forward."29. In your opinion, what is the most concerning topic facing the dental industry today? Being an aspiring dental student means that you need to take a keen interest in current events by closely following the challenges the dental industry faces.
Discuss what you feel to be a primary concerning issue, and be sure to ask the interviewers what they personally see as the most concerning issue in the dental field today. This is an opportunity to start a very insightful conversation. Here is an answer example: "I feel that the most concerning issue in the dental industry is the high cost of services. Proper dental care should be accessible to anyone, regardless of their financial or social status. What do you feel are the most concerning issues facing the dental industry today?"30. It is important that our university exercises great discernment when choosing applicants. What is your plan if you are not accepted into our school of dentistry this year? The way that you answer this question will show the interviewers that you have an interest in the field of dentistry that goes deeper than your acceptance into dental school.
If you are not accepted, show that you will then take a different path into Dental Hygiene, or Dental / Medical Sales, for instance.
Or, you can let the interviewers know that one rejection won't stop you at all! Talk about your plan to reapply, if rejected.
Whatever the path you would choose, it's important you show the interviewers that you have confidence, and drive. It'll take more than one rejection to keep you down! Here is an answer example: "Should I not be accepted into dental school the first time, I plan to reapply the following year. I would take that year to upgrade any required courses and prepare an even stronger application. My life's goal is to become a dentist and I certainly won't take one rejection as a final answer."
Author of Dental School Answers and Questions
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: 08/17/2018 Last modified on: 08/30/2018
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