Integrity Interviewing and Snagging Your Ideal Dental Team!

July 30, 2020
  • (826) Views

Interviewing potential candidates can feel like being with Goldilocks and the three bears.  This one has too much experience, this one not enough, this one almost fits. . . .Wait this one is just right!

I hired rock stars and retained them for years. How?  It really started with me and how I interviewed.  I was my own worst enemy at first.  But little by little I learned what I was doing well and how much I sabotaged a lot of interviews along the way. Thinking they were “just right” before I met them was a huge mistake for both me and the candidates.   Here are some of my key steps to conduct integrity interviews.

  1. Know what kind of candidate you want. Preparation is key. You need to make your expectations clear and possibly have a a one-page document of the job responsibilities.  Let them read it and see if they ask questions about the position.  If they don’t ask questions it shows they have little curiosity about the position, and that is a red flag.  Do you really want someone who is not a thinker?   When you are not in the room, is it important for your dental assistants to be able to communicate to the patients why the dentistry needs to be done, or will they just be suctioning and sterilizing instruments?  Does the hygienist understand that moving patients through restorative treatment is just as important as a fresh clean polished tooth?  Clearly stating your expectations of what type of employee you want saves so much time.  It may take more upfront energy to the hire, but much more energy is ultimately expended if you hire the wrong person.
  2. Ask open-ended questions and listen! Listen to them; they will tell you if they are what you are looking for or not.  Anyone can answer yes or no, and then the dialogue stops.  But by asking open ended questions, you dive a lot deeper into who they really are, not just who they want you to think they are.  Also, prepare candidate-specific questions to ask them.  For example, if hiring for a hygienist position you might ask “How would you handle your 3:00 patient who came 15 minutes late?”  You’ll often find out right away what type of hygienist you have in front of you.  The best question I ask (and I ask this to every candidate, including dentists I interview) is, “tell me about you, tell me your story.”  It works every every…single….time.
  3. Body language – yours and theirs. Sometimes it’s not what they say, but their body language that says so much more.   Are they making appropriate eye contact or chewing gum?  Do they have a warm, friendly and firm handshake?  Do they have interpersonal skills and have the ability to show interest?  For example, are they checking their phone or are they paying attention to you and what you want?  Would they reflect your company values?  Most importantly, would you buy dental health from them?
  4. Be conscious and in the moment. When I was interviewed about how I became super successful in my hiring and retaining rock star employees, I replied “I just am” during an interview.  I approach every interview with no preconceived notion of any employee but their name and what position they are being hired for.  Remain neutral and let them tell you who they are.  Take note and be conscious of your body language as well.  Interviewing is intimidating, especially for those new graduates with no dental experience who are trying to impress.  We are in the business of smiles, so smile and do it often during the interview.


About Cindi A. Roloson, R. D. H.

Cindi is a veteran in the dental profession and is currently a clinical team leader and coach.  She has authored and implemented training protocols, developed performance improvement plans for clinical teams and successfully demonstrated strategic leadership in areas of personnel management to grow dental practices.  Cindi is a board member with American Institute and routinely mentors dental assistant classes at Central Career School.  Passionate about hiring, training and retaining rock stars for your dental team, she can be reached at