Getting the Most from an Informational Interview
Just because they are still in school doesn’t mean that students in a Dental Assistant program shouldn’t be interviewing. It’s a good idea to try to arrange some Dental Assistant informational interviews.
The big difference between a standard interview and an informational interview is who is asking the questions. An informational interview is a meeting in which a potential job seeker searches for advice regarding their chosen career and industry. It also gives them an opportunity to gauge the corporate culture of a future workplace.
There is a catch, however. While the student is the one asking the questions, the employed professional can learn about the student and can form a judgment regarding their professional potential and fit with those in the office.
Where to find informational interviews
The goal is to find contacts in the area. The best place to start is with First Institute’s Career Services team. They can probably provide names of Dental Assistant program alumni who can answer questions. Another way to arrange informational interviews is to initiate contact with dental practices.
Here are some tips to help you get the most from informational interviews:
Be respectful of the other person’s time
Be specific about how much time you want. Try to keep it less than 30 minutes. And don’t run long.
Don’t be pushy
If you email or leave a message and don’t hear back from the person, take that as a sign that they can’t fit it into their schedule. Don’t take it personally.
No, don’t wear scrubs. Dress like you’re going in for an interview. Although there is no set standard for what to wear, the safest bet is to dress conservatively. You can’t go wrong with a dress or a suit.
Don’t wing it
Remember that you requested the meeting. Don’t assume the person knows what you want to know and will give you the information you need. Choose some questions that will yield the most information.
Ask for referrals
Remember, this is about establishing contacts and helping get your career off on the right foot by finding the right position when you have completed the program. Ask if there are others who you should talk to regarding the industry.
A simple “Thank You” card is perfect. You can also stay in touch with your contacts with an occasional email to let them know how helpful their suggestions have been.
The benefits of informational interviews
Making contacts is essential to any profession. A career in Dental Assisting is no different. Remember the old saying, “Who you know is as important as what you know.” A good number of positions are filled by people who have an established relationship. These meetings allow you to get to know the dental practice. You’ll also develop a comfort level with the interview process. All of these things can help you once you’ve completed your Dental Assisting program and are pursuing your first position.
Call us for more information!
Establishing a professional presence is part of the “soft skills” the students learn during First Institute’s Dental Assistant training program. If you are interested in a new career as a dental assistant, call us today at 815-459-3500.
Learn more about First Institute’s Dental Assisting program: