You did it. You dug deep and discovered what kind of amazing *OT jobs suit you. You prepared a fantastic resume accordingly. You applied - and now they’ve reached back to ask for an interview. It’s an exciting and possibly daunting moment, especially if you’re early in your career or making a big change.
Rather than fret (which we doubt an incredible talent like yourself would ever actually do), there are some stress-relieving, pragmatic steps you can take to ensure your interview goes smoothly and increase your chances of receiving an offer.
1. Please, at Least Google the Company
If you’ve taken the time to carefully select a role and company where you’d like to work, then chances are you’ve already done your research. The quickest ways to learn about an organization are online, but speaking to someone who works there, even if they occupy a different role, can give you insight beyond what’s printed on a website.
Some of the most important areas to research are the:
- Mission statement
- General services
- Company culture
- Affiliated companies
- Company history
- News about the company
2. Bring What You Need
The basic things you need to bring include:
- Printed copies of your resume
- Your portfolio (if applicable to the specific role)
- Printed copies of your references
- Pen and notepad for yourself
- A neat, conservative folder to hold these materials
It’s impossible to underestimate the first impression. If you look prepared and organized, you immediately seem like a great candidate.
3. Dress for Success
Cliché, but oh-so-true. How you look will subconsciously register with your interviewer and everyone else you encounter. From top to bottom, spend time looking professional, clean, crisp and conservative. You can personalize your look a little, but in the healthcare field, traditional business attire still trumps personal style, at least initially. If you want to wear jeans, consider switching to technology. Otherwise, remember: PROFESSIONAL, clean, crisp and conservative.
4. Plan Your Route and Know Where You're Going
It’s brilliant. It’s simple. And it’s often forgotten.
You can relieve a TON of stress by knowing exactly where you’re going, how long it takes to get there, and if there’s construction on the way. Do it. Trust us.
5. Anticipate and Practice the Questions They May Ask
Glassdoor posts over 200 real-life questions asked in OT interviews across the country. Read them. Chances are you will encounter some of the same, if not similar, questions in your interview. The AOTA also gives a list of typical questions asked in OT interviews with their pick of the best responses.
You can quiz yourself in front of a mirror, with a friend, via video or even by writing some of the standard questions down. Familiarizing yourself with area-specific questions is an excellent way to calm your nerves before the real deal.
6. Ask Intelligent Questions
There is usually a time at the end of the interview where your interviewer will give you the floor to ask questions. Take the opportunity to gather some questions ahead of this so you sound smart. There’s no need to become flustered over something you can reasonably expect to encounter during an interview. Some of the most common questions OTs have shared asking are:
- Where do you see the company in five years? (This is the flip of a question normally directed at you.)
- What are some of the characteristics of OTs who succeed at your company?
- What assessments are typically used?
- Will I have other OT’s around me to ask questions/get ideas from?
- Will it be possible to have a mentor?
- What are the typical types of patients seen?
- What are the productivity requirements?
Sarah Stromsdorfer, OTR/L writes, “As far as productivity requirements, my advice would be to be wary of greater than 80%. 85% is really pushing it, and run away from anything higher than that. Lastly, don’t ask questions about salary or benefits until after you get an offer. You don’t want to look too ‘pushy.’”
Don’t try to ask all of those questions. Rather, know in advance what questions you could ask, and then pick two to three that best suit the direction and tone of the interview.
Asking about the nuts and bolts of the job is fairly standard, but you can also use your soft skills and knowledge of psychology to ask a question that aligns with the top values expressed in the interview. In doing so, you show your ability to recognize and connect yourself to the concerns of people around you. In other words, you can use your questions to demonstrate your EQ and initiative – it’s a value added!