You’ve prepared for the questions, you’ve researched the doctor and practice, and you’re feeling ready for your dental assisting interview. But one question remains: What should you wear? Your interview outfit may not be the only determining factor in whether you get the job, but it can help you make a positive impression. The clothes you wear to the interview demonstrate your preparedness, professionalism, and interest in the job.
How can you dress for success? What you wear often depends on the type of interview being conducted. Your outfit choice will likely be different if you’re doing a working interview as opposed to a traditional, sit-down interview.
In a traditional interview, you’ll likely meet face-to-face with the dental office manager, dentist, or practice owner. Typically, you’ll answer questions about yourself and your experience, as well as ask questions to help you learn more about the position, team, and practice.
Dental assistants often wear business casual attire to traditional interviews. Women might opt for a pantsuit or a blouse and a blazer with dress slacks or a skirt. Although makeup and jewelry can be nice touches that make you feel more confident, they’re not mandatory. Men might choose to wear a suit and tie, or opt for a more casual button-down shirt and khakis.
“When I do dental assistant interviews, I appreciate that applicants wear business attire,” says Sandra.
Whatever you choose to wear, it doesn’t need to be overly formal or flashy. It’s most crucial to be clean, comfortable, and professional. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident, and make sure your clothes are free of stains and wrinkles.
Some dentists and office managers don’t mind if you wear scrubs to a traditional interview. If you’re not sure, it never hurts to ask beforehand.
“As an office manager, I have seen people dressed both ways,” says Angela. “As long as they present as clean and neat, I am fine with business attire or scrubs.”
During a working interview, you’ll demonstrate your dental assisting knowledge and experience in a hands-on fashion. Essentially, you’ll become an employee at the dental practice during your interview, allowing the doctor and other staff members to evaluate your clinical and communication skills, techniques, and knowledge. If you’re attending a working interview, the practice should not only notify you ahead of time but also compensate you, since you’ll be performing actual dental assisting tasks in their office for the day.
Obviously, you won’t want to wear business casual attire while taking x-rays, cleaning instruments, or assisting with patients. For a working interview, dress like you would if you already had the job and were arriving for a real shift. Wear clean scrubs and closed-toe shoes that are comfortable to stand and walk in. Additionally, ensure you’re adhering to infection control protocols by removing jewelry, keeping your fingernails neatly trimmed, and pulling your hair back if necessary.
Again, if you’re not sure what to wear — or what type of interview will take place — ask the hiring manager ahead of time so you can put your best foot forward and land the job!