Tips to Ace Your Occupational Therapy Job Interview (Guest blog)
Looking to get a job with an occupational therapy company? That's a really great idea. According to KidsHealth.Org, it's work that is useful. Occupational therapy or OT helps people with physical, sensory, and cognitive problems. OTs support people to remove barriers that can affect a person's emotional, social, and even physical needs. In short, being an OT is a noble purpose.
And because you want to help people, you've likely applied to different occupational therapy companies. After weeks of waiting, you finally get scheduled for an interview!
But now, you're suddenly feeling nervous. It's your first job interview ever for an OT position, and you want this position badly. What do you do so that getting hired is almost a sure result? How do you prepare?
Read on for tips to help you get through - and even nail - your job interview.
Find out more about the company.
We're assuming you didn't just aimlessly send your resumes to different companies, right?
Well, if you did, don't beat yourself up over it. But since you did get an interview scheduled, you need to find out more about the company. In fact, you're actually already expected to know about the company - that's the whole reason you applied there.
Be sure to do your research. Find out the company's mission, vision, and culture. Do they respect your time when you're not on duty? Do they give you bonuses for holidays? Do they show their employees respect? If you can, go deeper - ask current and former employees about their experiences at that company.
You're going to have to like working in that company. Otherwise, there's no point in continuing your application.
Practice answering questions.
One thing you can do to lessen your nervousness is research the usual questions for occupational therapy job interviews. For example, you'll usually encounter the following:
● Why did you pursue a career in occupational therapy?
● What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
● What skills do you have that make you qualified to be in occupational therapy?
● Talk about a situation where you needed to advocate for occupational therapy.
● What interests you most about the company and this position?
● What do you feel are the essential qualities of being an excellent occupational therapist and staff member?
● What contribution could you make to the team that other applicants cannot? Why should you be hired?
● Can you work under pressure?
● Can you work as part of a team?
We cannot list all possible questions that come up during a job interview - there can be a lot. Simply, our point is that you should prepare as much as you can with these common questions.
Get a friend to mock interview you and ask for their feedback once you finish. Use that feedback to improve how you answer questions at the actual interview.
Of course, at the same time, don't try to memorize your answers to questions. That might make you seem robotic and fake. And that impression is not a positive one to leave on your interviewer.
Show up on time - or even earlier - for your interview.
If you want to be a professional occupational therapist, you need to exhibit professional behaviors. That includes showing up on the agreed-upon time for your interview. It doesn't matter if the meeting is in-person or online. It also doesn't matter if the interviewer is late, as long as you're not.
And if you arrive early, you can use the extra time to calm down and relax. It's for your sake as well. When the interviewer does appear or goes online, you'll be in a better mindset for your interview.
Bring a copy of your resume.
We know: you've already submitted your occupational therapy resume sample to the company. That's why they scheduled an interview with you, right?
But just because the company has a copy doesn't mean that the interviewer will bring it with them. It also doesn't mean that if they reference your resume that you will also be able to refer to it. Bring your own resume so that you can easily refer to it when asked about specific experience or skills.
If you show up for an interview looking sloppy, that's a big turn-off for the interviewer. They're not expecting you to show up in a gown or a three-piece suit, don't worry. But at the same time, if you show up looking like a mess, you're going to seem unprepared for your interview. Worse, you might give the impression that you're not really interested in getting the job. So make sure you dress up nicely, even if it's just a virtual interview.
Practice your listening skills.
Here's one more way to make a good impression. If the interviewer is talking, don't interrupt them. Make sure you listen to what they're saying, especially if it's about the position. If you want to ask questions, do it after they finish talking. And establish eye contact as much as possible. That way, you'll look engaged and interested in the interviewer and what they're saying.
These are our tips in making sure you ace your occupational therapy job interview. And if you don't get hired the first time, don't feel down. Just chalk it up to added interview experience and evaluate how you can do better. And keep applying - you'll soon belong to a company that you really enjoy working in.