Interviewing is considered by many people to be an art. As an adolescent, I never had the chance to interview someone before and it really made me have to expose myself to the world outside of my comfort zone. Being only eighteen years old, I wanted to explore my future career path a little more in depth from somebody who knows the field. I chose to do my interview on someone I admired off campus who works in my field of interest. As a freshman in college, most students don’t know which direction they want to go in, most of them are undeclared.
Upon entering CCSU this fall I, too, was undeclared; however, very recently I discovered that I wanted to work in the field of dentistry. I noted that I wanted to talk to an expert, somebody who had been in the field for many years so I could get a concrete grasp on what a day-in-the-life was like. I decided that I wanted to know more on the field and conducted an interview with Lyudmila Adamitskaya, a dental hygienist at Smiles for the Future – a pediatric dentist office in Glastonbury, CT.
Before I decided to conduct the actual interview, I did some basic background research on Smiles for the Future. I looked at their company website to get a sense of what the atmosphere was like. After I got the general idea of what the pediatric dentistry field was similar too, I brainstormed a variety of questions. I wanted to know what it was like for Lyudmila and what the work environment was like. I had already known quite a bit about the actual field itself, but I wanted to find out things about the pediatric dentistry field that a person couldn’t read about in Chemistry books or through Anatomy lectures.
I wanted to discover why she liked her job and what she didn’t like about her job. I desired to know the obstacles she had to overcome and if her expectations were fulfilled from what she had perceived them to be while in college. At first I couldn’t find the right words to put down on paper prior to the interview. From the in class essay we read “The Art of Interviewing” I took away a central point that really stood out to me, “Substance is powerful to conduct a meaningful interview” (Foster 1). This quote really jumped off the page for me because it made me think that if I didn’t have the questions I wanted answered, then what was the point of even doing the interview?
This point certainly got me to brainstorm for quite a long time to get the right questions. I took away another point from the essay, “If the interviewer already suspects what content is coming then why conduct the interview?” (Foster 1). This acknowledgement made me really concentrate on questions I could not possibly know the answers to, so that my interview would be meaningful to me and not just a waste of time. I knew that going into the interview, I was going to be nervous but I had no idea what was going to happen.
On the afternoon of September 24th, 2012 I walked into the colorful pediatric office of Smiles for the Future in Glastonbury, CT. I anxiously waited until Mrs. Lyudmila Adamitskaya was finished with a small girl who looked as if she were around six or seven years old. I looked around at my surroundings and noticed many toys thrown about the waiting room. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me, I love working with children; however, today seemed different. I couldn’t place what it was that bothered me so much about this but I was abruptly pulled out of my dream-like state when Mrs. Adamitskaya greeted me with a warm and cheery “Hello!” The first thing I noticed about her was her bright purple scrubs. Her hair was neatly tied back and she had a professional, but friendly, demeanor about her. We shook hands briefly and she invited me to come to the back, into room six.
She invited me to sit in the patient’s chair, which was significantly smaller than I was and we shared a brief ice-breaking laugh at the situation. She asked me how old I was and I told her I was eighteen and conducting the interview for my English class. I also told her how I was considering going into the field of pediatric dentistry. Immediately, I saw her face light up and I smiled at how much I could tell just from that simple body language she really enjoyed her job.
I opened up the interview with the most basic question I could think of; what made you want to become a dental hygienist? She paused momentarily, trying to search for the right words, a puzzled yet relaxed expression on her face. Finally she stated with an enormous smile, “I always wanted to work in the medical field or dental field to make a difference in people’s oral and overall health” (Adamitskaya).
Just that statement alone told me most of what I needed to know about Mrs. Adamitskaya’s attitude not only towards her patients, but towards all people. The statement told me that she genuinely cared how people were doing and she wanted to make a difference in the community. I nervously looked around the room at small stuffed animals and butterfly wallpaper and asked, “Do you like your work environment?” Mrs. Adamitskaya looked relieved and a little less under pressure. She quickly stepped back into the upbeat woman I first had seen and said, “I love my work environment because I get to work with amazing doctors and team members who dedicate their work and knowledge to improve and educate people about oral health” (Adamitskaya).
This really perked my interest that she felt so strongly about the field and how much her doctors and co-workers cared for other patients as much as she did. I wanted to know more so I added “Do you like your job? What’s the best and worst part about your job?” She glanced around, looked at me and smiled. “I don’t like my job.” She paused, gave me a strange look and continued, “I love my job! I love it because everything we do is for our patients and it brings positive feedback. It encourages patients to keep coming back. It’s always rewarding to work with patients and make a difference in people’s lives and build relationships.
The worst part would be the cost of health insurance for families” (Adamitskaya). I could sense she felt bad about the state of the economy, and briefly went on to discuss with me how “unfortunate it is that most families struggle to put food on the table at night while balancing family and school life” (Adamitskaya). When I saw how much this bothered her it made me eager to get more information on her personal background and struggles. I was nervous to ask at first, but my inner child’s curiosity got the best of me and I rather excitedly asked “What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?” She laughed a little; I’m assuming at how embarrassed I looked, I must’ve been a little flushed because my face felt hot as I waited for an answer.
She proudly said, “Going through my college years, I didn’t speak English until I came to America when I was 22 years old. I was raising two children, working full time for minimum wage at Subway to put myself through school. I was trying to learn English and all the dynamics that go into a dental hygiene program at the same time. There were nights I didn’t sleep, but I did it all to provide a better future for my family” (Adamitskaya). It was at this point in the interview I really felt a huge personal connection with Mrs. Lyudmila Adamitskaya. I told her that I, myself, had been working two jobs and putting myself through college full time and she simply replied with a soft smile, “All hard work has rewards” (Adamitskaya).
After this significant quote, Mrs. Adamitskaya wasn’t just another dental hygienist I was interviewing; she became somebody I truly admired. But I had to know if all that she worked for paid off for her and if in her heart her expectations were fulfilled. I asked, “Were your expectations fulfilled when you entered your career field from what you thought it would be like in college?” She eagerly answered very quickly, “Yes! They were fulfilled for certain. I am very pleased with what I have achieved over the last ten years of working as a dental hygienist” (Adamitskaya). When she said that her expectations were fulfilled, it somehow made me feel much more relaxed about the career path I had finally decided I wanted to go with.
I then asked her what her opinion was on the industry in terms of job openings for after I completed college. She hesitated; looking almost worried, and said, “It’s easier to find a part time job rather than a full time position because of the economy, but it is an ever growing field and will always expand” (Adamitskaya). Her words had a way of relaxing me almost instantly. Mrs. Lyudmila Adamitskaya was definitely a woman who I would love to go back to for a second, third or even fourth interview with.
She was extremely honest, kind and opened up her office doors to me in a very warm and friendly environment. I thanked her for meeting with me, shook her hand again and told her that I would love to meet with her again in the future to talk about dental hygiene and the wonderful world of pediatric dentistry. She laughed at my humor and said to “stay in school.” I walked back to my car with a newfound confidence in my ability to interview somebody.
What I took away from this experience was not only how to interview a person I wanted to know more about, but how to go with the natural flow of conversation to fulfill my own curiosity. I had tons of questions lined up on paper, but I realized when I got back to my car that I hadn’t asked any of the basic questions I had written on the paper. I found that it was much more natural to talk from what I honestly wanted to know than from what I brainstormed in the midst of cramming all of my homework into one night.
I learned that interviewing really isn’t as difficult as it had seemed before. It takes determination as well as a sense of confidence and curiosity in the subject to conduct a successful interview. Interviewing, from this experience, showed me that it’s not just about the answers, but how carefully the questions are tailored to how the person responds to a statement that is made. I learned that interviewing is truly an art form in itself.
Adamitskaya, Lyudmila. Personal Interview. 24 Sept, 2012.
Foster, Linda. “The Art of Interviewing.” 25 Sept, 2012.