With a variety of career choices for Hygienists (private practice environment, public health, group practice, etc…), it can be difficult and overwhelming to decide which path will provide you with the most satisfaction. It is safe to assume that any of these options will provide you with opportunities to connect with patients and form relationships. However, things like autonomy, benefits, training resources, and peer relationships will vary depending on the culture or values of the practice itself.
So how do you learn more about the culture of a practice, other than what they post online or tell you over the phone? Your best opportunity is to utilize the in-person interview as your chance to learn more about what their expectations are, and whether their philosophy lines up with your own beliefs and values.
Interviews should not be one sided. In addition to your employer deciding if you are the right fit for them, you should be prepared with questions to help determine if the practice environment and culture is a right fit for YOU.
We’ve asked our recruiters to share some questions that can help you find the best fit possible.
From Kiesha Bell, Senior Recruiter
- How would you describe your organization’s core values?Whether it’s a group practice, a DSO, or a local solo practice office, your hiring/practice manager should be able to identify the kind of culture your walking into. Talking about the core values is a great way to lead into the culture and environment that you’ll be expected to be a part of. Listen closely to their answers and ask follow up questions to decide if they match well with your own beliefs.
- What do you feel are the things Hygienist can do to be successful at your group?If there’s a key to success– why not ask for it? Whether it’s keeping a positive attitude, maintaining compliance standards, or maintaining a patient first mentality, the tools to success they share will most likely be a good indicator of the main focus of the practice culture.
- Considering the changing consumer market, what kinds of initiatives do you take when it comes to patient retention?
This is a great question, as having excellent patient retention is at the top of every practice’s wish list. Some practices keep their patients engaged with monthly newsletters, while others take it a step further and work it into their ongoing marketing plan. Showing you care about the success of the practice in the long term could also help you stand out from the crowd.
From Charley Clough, Regional Recruiter
- What tools or training is provided to a new hygienist that joins your team?
It’s a basic question, and it’s easy to make assumptions that you will have paid training and maybe even a mentor or two – but what if they don’t offer either one? You don’t want to find out that you have limited resources on your first day. Whether its hands on training with their technology, clinical protocols, electronic records management, or something as simple as setting up an e-mail address, you want to be aware of what resources you will have available.
- Where do you think your hygiene team can make the most impact for the patient experience?
This will prompt them to reiterate exactly the role that they believe the Dental Hygienist plays in the long term goals and strategy of their practice environment. Do they rely on you to provide education to each patient? Are you seen as the frontline of patient relationships? Are you an ambassador of oral health in the local community? Think about their answer, and again, ask yourself if that is how you also see yourself.
From Andrea Kowalczyk, Dental Hygiene Recruiter
- What types of duties will be expected of me, apart from clinical? (Calling patients, filling my schedule, etc…)
You need to be clear upfront about how much you will be responsible for outside of the clinical duties. Practices vary on how they confirm appointments, and who is responsible for building the schedule. If you like the extra interaction this could be great – but how much will these extra responsibilities effect things like compensation, or the time you do have with patients?
- Do the hygienists at your group have production goals to meet? If so, what are they?
Just like any new job, there will be a learning curve. This is especially true for those who just graduated and are in the beginning stages of their career. Make sure the pace at which they expect you to work, is a pace that you feel comfortable taking on.
Job hunting can trigger a variety of emotions. Stress, anxiety, excitement, and optimism can all come together in one big knot. The more you are able to identify what your values are, and the kind of environment you want to be a part of, the easier it will be for you to move strongly and confidently into your next endeavor!