That dreaded time has arrived. You have completed all the preparation. You submitted your application. Finally, YOU, YES YOU, GOT THE INTERVIEW! But now what? Thoughts might rush in your head telling you, “I’m so nervous” or “I am so not ready for this!” Perhaps you feel somewhat ready and want a few pointers. Well stick around, job candidate, this is the blog for you!
Tip 1: Be Prepared and Collect information
Really, the first step to any successful interview is to be prepared. You’ve applied to the site. But, do you know anything about it? Often, the best place to look is on their website. Try to figure out the facility’s mission and history. Are they a well-established or relatively new facility? Does the site have specific clinic specializations or populations served? If possible, identify who you are interviewing with and their professional interests. The more you know about the site and interviewer, the better you can respond to their questions!
Plan what you will wear before the day of, have extra resume copies available, a legal pad for note-taking, a pen, questions, and stay focused!
Tip 2: Practice answering interview questions
Yet again, preparation is key. Try sitting down with a friend or loved who will ask you practice questions and provide feedback on answers. This will provide you with time to fluster and fumble through words, and figure out how you want to phrase your thoughts. Through practice, you might avoid some word blunders in interviews. There are so many interview questions available online to look into that might help you prepare. Try answering questions related to: your strengths and weaknesses, why you want that job, a positive or negative patient encounter, or sharing about yourself. Check out the Academy website for interview question tips!
Be sure to repeat the question back to the interviewer to make sure you understood it correctly. This gives you time to formulate an answer. Then, be sure to actually answer the question (perhaps even provide a specific example)!
Tip 3: Double check the time and location of your interview
Time zones add another layer of complexity to any interview! Perhaps you are on Eastern Standard Time and the interview is in Arizona (which does not follow daylight savings!). It is always best to confirm the time in both time zones (and possibly triple-check the time difference through Google). Also be sure to know the mode in which the interview will be conducted. Will it be telephone, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or another platform?
If you are interviewing in person, be sure to know the building or room number you need to meet in, where you will park, and the cost of parking. Also, know what time to arrive. It is best to arrive to the facility 30 minutes before the interview time but do not go to the meeting place until about 15 minutes before you need to meet. If you are too early, then it can be a burden for the facility to move around their schedule. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and park. If you are early, you can always practice your interview questions and do some final preparations outside!
Tip 4: Be your authentic, yet professional, self
Let’s be honest, your credentials got you the interview. You are a strong candidate. The interview is the time to see if you are a good culture fit for the facility. Really, the key in the interview is that the employer is assessing BOTH your clinical and interpersonal skills! Be honest and straightforward in your interactions. If you do not know a topic, it’s okay to admit. It is better to be honest than attempt talking about things you do not know about. Most importantly, be professional, cordial, and demonstrate your emotional intelligence. A wise preceptor once said, “I can teach you any clinical skills but I cannot teach you how to be personable.” Be sure to follow up with a “thank you” email either the day of or after your interview, including what you liked most about the facility.
Tip 5: Be Prepared With Questions
Prepare genuine questions about the facility, patient populations, location, and region. For example, you might ask: What the interviewer finds most rewarding and challenging about the job? How is feedback provided? What are they searching for from their candidates? Be sure to actively listen to their answers and provide a follow up sentence or two to their responses to show that you listened. Consider adding a personal touch and ask what they like most about the area, especially if you do not live there.
Some questions should NOT be asked, especially those regarding the following topics: pay, vacation, politics, religion, work drama. When it comes to pay, vacation, and benefits, save that for when you are negotiating the job offer!
Tip 6: Dress to Impress and Nothing Less
Lastly, dress to impress. It is better to slightly over-dress than under-dressed for an interview. Dressing professionally shows that you care about the interview, and the first impression is important.
Overall, be prepared, be professional, and be yourself. Good luck; you can do it!
Kevin Kock is a fourth-year Au.D. student at the University of Iowa. Currently, he is in his externship year at Oregon Health and Science University in the LEND program. Kevin serves as the SAA Externship Subcommittee Chair and as NSSLHA’s VP for Finance. Clinically, Kevin is interested in collaborative care for pediatric and disabled populations, hearing conservation, community outreach, and legislative advocacy.
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