So, I vented a little, maybe, the other day. I know, but I have to let it out once in a while,no? Now I'm back with the good side of interviewing and hiring. I'm going to tell you what you can do to impress and win the job you want. It starts with giving the prospective employer what they are telling you they want.
The cover letter and resume are the first impression you will make on an employer. Go online and find a professional looking template, use an easy to read font and never, ever forget to employ spell check. Make sure your cover letter is specific to the job for which you are applying. Go back and read the posting and ask yourself, "What are they looking for in an employee?" Now, use your cover letter to let the poster know why you are the person who will deliver what they are looking for, what you will bring to the business, and why you want to work for them. Be careful to come across as confident, but not conceited, assertive, but not aggressive, and professional, but not uptight. The resume should begin with your most recent employment and you should list your job responsibilities, salary, and reason for leaving. List your education, associations, awards, interests and any other pertinent information that will help the employer know what you will bring to the position. Also include good references such as former employers, teachers and co-workers. For extra points, include letters of reference from former employers; they make a big impression.
A great cover letter and resume will most likely result in a phone call, so let's think about your phone. If your ringtone is Fat Bottomed Girls, please change it to a simple, non-offensive ring. You don't know what kind of music the caller loves or hates, and wouldn't it be a shame to have a strike against you before you even answer? Which leads me to: be polite when you answer the phone. Don't say, "Yeah?" Instead, use a well-modulated, upbeat voice and just say "Hello." When someone asks to speak to you, respond, "Yes, this is ______." When the caller identifies herself as a potential employer sound pleased to hear from her and be forthcoming with your responses. Listen to clues as to what she is looking for and be honest in your responses. Don't use slang, don't say "Ain't." If offered an interview, respond with pleasure and ask if there is anything that she would like you to bring that you have not already included in your resume. Ask for the address and Mapquest it, don't make the caller spend time giving you directions and waiting for you to write them down. Also ask for the best phone number to call in case there is any hold-up with traffic.
Now, do your homework. Get your map and if you're not sure exactly where the office is, take a ride and find out. Google the Dr's name and if he has a website, visit it and take notes. Does the practice cater to anxious patients, does the Dr. use Cerec, promote an amalgam-free practice, accept insurance, etc. Look at the Dr. and staff bios and find interests you have in common with them. Now, think about yourself. How would you describe yourself to someone you've never met, that has nothing they can do for you? How would your friends describe you if they knew you'd never know what they said? What would people say at your funeral? (Sorry,that's morbid). What do you like to do in your free time? What's your all-time favorite movie? Actor? Singer? Book? What famous person, dead or alive, would you most like to have lunch with? What would you ask them? How do you handle stress, anger, questions you don't know the answer to, criticism, a difficult boss, a gossipy co-worker? Do all this and you will be ahead of the crowd at the interview because these are all popular interview questions.
Ok, it's time to get ready to go to the interview. Dress like you would to go to church, if you don't attend church, wear what you think you'd wear if you did. I prefer black dress pants and a nice blouse. Don't wear something too low cut, if the dentist is a decent guy, you'll probably make him feel awkward and if a woman interviews you, she'll just think it's inappropriate. Besides, you want them to think about you, not your chest. If you have pets, make sure you use one of those sticky roller things. Also make sure your clothes are wrinkle and stain free. I assume that your uniform will only look as neat as what you wear to the interview. Leave 10 minutes earlier than you think you have to, you can always drive around the block and one of my favorite sayings is, "On time is 5 minutes early." Turn off your cell phone before you enter the office. Turn it all the way off, don't leave it on vibrate. When you arrive introduce yourself to the receptionist, smile warmly and shake her hand and compliment the attractiveness of the waiting room.
Once you are in the interview try to relax and give them a good impression of what it would be like to be around you all day. Don't chew gum. It's ok to pause a few seconds before answering a question, but don't panic or say, "I don't know." Don't look like you think a question is stupid, and don't complain about how long the application was or how long the interview is taking. Be interested in the practice and the interviewer's questions. Be yourself. Have some questions ready to ask about the practice, the position, the other staff, the patient's and the dentist. Don't ask about pay or benefits until the end of the interview. As the interview winds up, ask what the next step in the process will be, tell the interviewer how impressed you are with the practice and why you'd love to work there. Thank her for her time and say goodby to the receptionist on the way out.
Once you get home, email the interviewer and re-state how much you enjoyed your time in the office and thank her for her time. Tell her you look forward to hearing from her. Follow up with a hand written note on plain, cream colored, good stock stationary. If you haven't heard anything in a week, call the office to ask if they've made a decision. If not, re-state your interest in working there. I once was hired based on doing just that.