Interviews can wreak havoc on your nerves, but knowing what you want to say to the interviewer beforehand can help boost your confidence. When you're interviewing for a dental receptionist position, keep your answers focused on how your skill set can fit the office's needs because combined with a cheery disposition, this can help you land the job. Dental offices typically want a receptionist who can greet clients, answer questions and keep the office organized, so stress your skills in these areas.
Tailor your answers to stress how your skills fit with the position's description. For example, if you previously worked as a receptionist, but just not in a dental office, talk about dealing with confidential documents, your fast filing skills and your ability to juggle the clients standing in front of you along with those calling on the phone.
Explain the steps you would take -- or took in the past if you have experience in a medical or dental office -- to keep patient records confidential. Dentists fall under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which provides strict guidelines on how patient information is handled. Discuss how you would close an open file when a person approaches your counter. You should also explain how you would go about contacting a patient, stressing that you would never leave private information on voice mail or with a third party. While you're discussing privacy issues, you might also indicate that you're aware of dental office etiquette and would always speak quietly and directly to a patient, rather than speaking loudly so that everyone in the waiting room can hear.
Provide concrete examples of how you've handled combative situations in the past. Patients can sometimes lose their tempers over a long wait, the cost of the dental procedure, or because they're in pain and are in need of emergency treatment. As the receptionist, part of your job is calming the patients and reassuring them, while also knowing when to ask for help from another person, such as someone in bookkeeping. Make it clear that you know how to handle delicate situations, offering the best customer service possible.
Talk about your teeth. Explain how important dental hygiene is to you and your commitment to maintaining that. As the first person the patients see, your teeth must live up to a dentist's standards -- he can't have a receptionist with bad teeth greeting customers.
Ask questions that show the interviewer that you've done your homework and you're familiar with the needs of the particular dental office at which you're interviewing. For example, if the practice includes an orthodontist, you might ask about the various types of technology the office uses for teeth straightening. If it's just a general dentistry office, you might ask about their sedation techniques. However, while it's a good idea to ask a question or two about the practice, you don't want to take up the interviewer's time with questions to which you can find the answers by simply going to the practice's webpage.
- Most dental offices require their front-office staff to dress conservatively, so wear a professional outfit to the interview that's not too revealing.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.