Top tips for a dental nurse job interview

Top tips for a dental nurse job interviewFor those getting their GSCE results, there are career options other than college if you want to get straight into the world of work – such as dental nurse apprenticeship roles.

Across Bupa, there are over 170 apprenticeship vacancies available now available to everyone. This includes 25 Bupa dental nurse apprenticeship roles based in our 400+ dental practices.

For Dental Nurse Apprenticeships anyone aged 16+ can apply. There are no requirements to have any specific qualifications. Maths & English GCSE grade C+ is desirable but not crucial. We will support all apprentices to achieve this as part of their apprenticeship with Bupa.

Starting her career as a dental nurse at Bupa Dental Care in 2007, Zoe has since worked her way up through various roles. From trainee dental nurse to lead nurse, practice coordinator, practice manager, and interim area manager to her current position as recruitment business partner.

With 15 years of experience, she’s well placed to share her advice on making a good impression during your interview.

Zoe said: ‘I remember my first interview; like most people going for a job, it was a nerve-wracking experience. Whether it’s your first interview after leaving school or you’re a seasoned professional, feeling nervous is normal. But being prepared will help you feel calm and confident.’

From feeling prepped to being yourself, Zoe shares her tips:

Do your research

You won’t be expected to know it all. But doing some research about the role of a dental nurse before your interview will increase your confidence and demonstrate why you’re applying for the position.

That starts with understanding the job description and the roles and responsibilities of being a dental nurse. It shows you’re genuinely passionate about the career and what it involves.

You don’t need to know every single one of the day-to-day duties. But simply showing you understand that that it includes caring for and interacting with patients will let the interviewer know you’ve researched what qualities are required.

Ask questions

It’s really positive when candidates ask questions, whether it’s about what the role involves, what the team’s like, which dentist they’ll be working alongside, or what career pathways are available to help you develop. No question is silly; it shows you’re engaged and keen to learn about the company and the role.

It also gives you a chance to leave the interview with information to think about to help you make the right choice, too. And if you think of a question after the interview, don’t be afraid to follow up. It shows you’ve reflected and are interested in knowing more.

Grasp opportunities to shadow others

If you get the chance, shadowing the practice team will help you gain more knowledge about the role and decide if it appeals to you.

It’s particularly good if you’re starting as a dental nurse to give you an idea about what to expect and ask lots of questions from nurses who have been trainees themselves, helping you determine if it’s the right job for you.

Be yourself

A great dental nurse can connect, communicate and be compassionate with patients, so be yourself and let your personality shine. Remember too that your gestures and expressions are indicators of character traits. It will help the interviewer warm to you and know you’ll be a good fit who can deliver a good patient and customer journey.

As a result, you’ll feel able to bring yourself whole self to work. Be You at Bupa is more than just a tagline. It’s a genuine ethos that runs through Bupa and Bupa Dental Care and encourages individuality, diversity and respect.

Take a moment

Don’t worry if you want time to think about your answer before responding or if you want the question repeated. It’s better to give yourself extra time to think about what you want to say and how you’ll deliver it confidently, rather than rushing yourself.

Likewise, if you don’t understand the question, simply ask the interviewer to expand so you’re clear about what they’re asking. Whilst it might not seem like it, it shows you’re in control and mature.

Be ambitious

If you’ve got aspirations to climb the ladder, discuss them. It’s really positive to hear candidates wanting to gain long-term growth at a company. I’m a perfect example of someone who’s benefited from the opportunities to develop at Bupa.

During my time at the company, I’ve gained several qualifications, from a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Dental Nursing to an ILM Level 5 in Management and Leadership, allowing me to move into leadership roles while staying close to my roots and passion – delivering quality care to patients.

Step outside your comfort zone

What I’ve learnt is that it’s good to be brave, embrace change and try new things; it means you’re challenging yourself and growing. So during the interview, don’t worry if it feels unfamiliar and daunting – we’ve all been there.

At 33 years old and as a mother-of-two, I continue to seek new opportunities to learn – it’s never too late to try something. I’ve never looked back after landing my first dental nurse role, and I’ve loved the journey since, from the variety, pushing myself, and gaining heaps of experience and confidence along the way.

Finally, think positively and good luck!

To learn more about a career in dentistry or to search opportunities within Bupa Dental Care, visit

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