Now that we have been helping dentists start a career in the Netherlands for over four years, we take this opportunity to talk to our dentist Job Vullinghs about these past years.
All DPA dentists who are by now working in the Netherlands know Job well, as he is the dentist who tests the candidates’ dental knowledge during the final interviews in Amsterdam. Because of his openness and many years of experience as a dentist, DPA Dentistry has always been eager to employ his services. Apart from interviewing candidates about the technical aspects of dentistry and making sure they meet the requirements of the Dutch dentistry sector, Job also gives them some useful tips and advice to ensure a successful career as a dentist in the Netherlands.
However, dentists are sometimes visibly nervous when they enter the interview room, as if they are about to take an exam. This is totally unnecessary, because Job is first and foremost a dentist who wants to make others feel at ease, so that there can be an interesting conversation between two dentistry colleagues about the different aspects of their profession. “By being nervous, you are more likely to make unnecessary mistakes, so I always try to make sure that the candidate is relaxed, allowing for a pleasant conversation to take place!”
Differences between countries and universities
Before Job talks to the candidate, he receives their files (resumé, short bio and job experience details) to prepare himself and get an idea of the potential of the candidates in question. As a dentist, he is mainly interested in the amount of practical experience of the candidate, both at the university and in the clinics. He pays special attention to the number of individually conducted endodontic treatments, fillings, extractions, and crown placements. Those are the most frequent treatments for every dentist in the Netherlands.
By now, Job has talked to many dentists from different countries, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary. Four years ago, most of the candidates were from Spain and Portugal, but over the years, more and more dentists from all over the European Union entered the DPA Dentistry project.
Job does notice a number of difference between European countries and universities in comparison with the Netherlands. “The Spanish education system generally produces high-quality dentists. There are some Spanish universities that are similar in structure to the Dutch universities when it comes to the balance between theory and practical training. However, this does not apply to all Spanish universities, which is why we can still observe differences in education even within the country.”
In general, the Spanish universities pay a sufficient amount of attention to practical assignments, but Job is also interested in what the dentists have done since graduating, in order to make sure that they can immediately start working upon their arrival in the Netherlands.
“Normally, Portuguese universities focus less on the practical aspect of dentistry in comparison to the Spanish ones, especially when it comes to crowns and bridges. You have to take this into account when these dentists start working in a Dutch clinic. This also applies to Italy, where dentists enjoy a good theoretical education, but do comparitively fewer practical assignments during their university years. Because of that, I noticed that many dentists need the space and support to develop themselves further as professionals in their work, something which the account managers take into account when finding dentists a clinic to work in. In regard to Greece, I can say that we have worked with a few good dentists from that country, but so far these were dentists with several years of professional experience.”
With all the knowledge and experience we have gained over the past years, we can point out that Spanish dentists particularly tend to adjust quickly to the lifestyle in the Netherlands; generally, there is less trouble when it comes to getting used to the new work environment. Moreover, work experience is always preferred, which is why both DPA and Job recommend all dentists who are thinking about moving to the Netherlands to at least spend some time working in a clinic. However, when it comes to Spanish candidates, applications by recently graduated dentists are still taken into consideration. With these candidates, it is important to look at their practical experience during university, and they have to be outstanding in terms of motivation, personality and mentality. If the candidate leaves a good impression in all these areas, he will be invited to the final interviews in Amsterdam, where they will also meet Job.
The objective of the conversation with Job is that the candidate comes across as confident, so that Job and any future patient would gladly lie down in the dentistry chair of the candidate in question. Apart from work experience, Job also looks at their mentality and presentability: it should be obvious that this person is a medical professional. “As a dentist, you cannot display a lack of confidence, because the patient will inevitably notice this, and this will have a negative impact on the quality of your work. Generally, dentists with some years of professional experience are convinced of their own ability, but this can be alsoapplied to candidates who have recently graduated and/or have limited work experience.”
In short, when a dentist does not have the desired amount of professional experience, they can compensate for this by displaying confidence in the conversation and leaving behind a solid impression. Whether this is successful depends on each person: not everyone has these qualities right from the start, therefore it is advisable to gain some more work experience before coming to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands are interesting for a foreign dentist
Every dentist who would like to work in the Netherlands should realise that the Dutch dentistry system is demanding. “As a patient, you want and need to be informed well. On the other hand, a dentist wants to prevent complaints by avoiding mistakes. For this reason, you have to be confident in your abilities and know that you have what it takes to help people as a dentist.”
Asked why the Netherlands is a suitable country for foreign dentists, Job replies: “Here in the Netherlands, patients are motivated. As a dentist, you can offer your patient the best treatment, because they do not expect anything less, and they are ready to pay for it as well. Dutch patients go to the dentist at least twice a year, which means that you will have the opportunity to connect to your patients. This is what patients like and where you can make a difference.”