Successful Interviewing 101
By Megan Chronister, OTR/L, University of Findlay
May 2014 marked the end of my journey as an OT student and the beginning of a new journey as a recent graduate. With that came the ever "dreaded” interview process. During my job search, I interviewed with three different companies. With each my stress and anxiety eased, and I actually started to look forward to the interview process. I learned many things from the first interview to the last. It is my hope that these tips will help provide insight and prepare future practitioners for the interview process. Good luck!
- Do Your Research. If you are applying for a position that you are really interested in, take the time to do the research. Look at the company’s website, and use the contact information provided to set up an informational interview with employees. Having this knowledge will show the interviewer that you care enough to have already taken the time to look into the company. To know what to research, read the following list of information about a program or facility that you should be familiar with. Be prepared with questions regarding the company as well. Examples of questions that I asked during my interviews were:
- Do you have any concerns being that I am a new graduate and will be an entry-level practitioner? If so, what are they? What can I do to help prepare for a successful transfer to an OT position with your company?
- What attributes make someone a successful OT with this company?
- What are the dynamics between the OTs, PTs, and SLPs within your company?
- What do OTs say are the reasons they enjoy working for this company?
- I am very interested in this company. Would it be possible to set up a date to observe an OT working in the clinic?
- Pull in information from Level II FW rotations. Provide personal examples of positive outcomes with a patient, situations utilizing therapeutic use of self, and creative interventions that you used. This can help the interviewer gain insight into what you may be like as a clinician and not just the person they are meeting during the interview.
- Practice answering questions. I went on four different interviews and different questions were asked at each one, which can make preparing stressful and difficult. To help ease some stress, I have provided some of the questions that were asked of me during each my interviews. For more mock interview questions, visit OT Job Link.
- If you were covering PRN at a different facility, and were working with a patient you have never met before, what are three items you would select to use for a successful intervention session?
- Verbally state on a scale of 1–10, with 1 being no experience and 10 being a lot of experience, where you stand with the following: use of PAMs, evaluations of nonverbal patients, contracture management, wheelchair assessments, working with COTAs, family education, and adaptive equipment for ADLs.
- What standardized assessments were you exposed to/did you feel comfortable with during your FW rotations?
- Provide an example where something did not go as planned with a patient during either an intervention session or an evaluation. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
- Provide an example of an intervention session that went very well. Could any part of what you did be translated to a different population or diagnosis, and if so, what?
- What are your short-term and long-term (5-year) goals for your future career as an occupational therapist?
During this process, never forget how far you have come and what you have already achieved. Be proud of yourself and let that confidence carry through to each interview. Your confidence will show, and it will help you to be remembered once the interview is over. Best of luck on this new part of your OT journey!