The current state of the economy can be tough for any new graduate, but don't let statistics intimidate you. In any economy, the best candidate will be hired. In a field of qualified candidates, it's up to you to stand out and make yourself memorable – in a good way. Here are some new graduate school therapy interview tips that will help make you stand out in the crowd.
Practice your communications skills. Every therapist job centers on communication. A good therapist can calm and reassure a patient, explain therapy procedures in easy-to-understand terms, and exhibit professionalism, confidence, and competence. It’s fine to be a little nervous, but to get the job, you must show the qualities the interviewer is looking for. One good way to do this is to have answers ready for typical interview questions. The more prepared you are, the more organized and competent you will appear.
Express your passion. Therapy is one of those careers you are drawn to for an emotional reason; because you have a deep desire to help people or because therapy helped you or a loved one at some point. Without going overboard, tell the interviewer about why you chose this profession and let her see how deeply committed you are to patients. Being a therapist isn’t like being an accountant. Caring matters.
Do your homework. Learn all you can about the facility you’re applying to. When the interviewer asks why you want to work for this company, be ready with a better answer than “it’s close to home.” Check press releases and news about the facility so you can talk about the facility’s commitment to innovative therapies, green initiatives, or emerging technologies. Whatever the company is proudest of is the best answer you can give. You can also research senior members of the staff and throw in how much you look forward to meeting the head physician, Dr. So-and-so, because you read an interesting paper he published in a medical journal and his outlook on patient care is intriguing. The point is to make the interviewer feel that you don’t just want a job, you want this job.
Sell yourself. There is a very fine line between presenting yourself in a professional and positive manner and oversell. Bragging will turn anyone off, but presenting your credentials is appropriate. Find the line and don’t cross it. Say just enough to pique the interviewer’s interest, and then let your documentation say the rest.
Gather documentation. One very important part of preparation is getting your documents in order. Think of it as building a professional portfolio. As a recent graduate, your resume won’t be very impressive. Include letters of recommendation, school records, and relevant work history or experience. If you volunteered for a student crisis hotline or clinic during college, for example, it’s not only good experience; it demonstrates real commitment to the profession. Include a copy of your resume, even if you faxed one in before the interview. Organization is another important skill for a therapist, and presenting a portfolio shows the interviewer that you thought ahead and came well-prepared. Remember, landing the right job is not just about schooling or experience. An interviewer will see dozens of applicants, and some may have more experience or better education. If education and experience were the sole criteria, a personal interview wouldn’t be necessary. Businesses conduct interviews to find a person who meets the basic job criteria and is the right fit for the job. They want to hire someone who is cooperative, friendly, easy to work with, and professional. Someone who the staff and patients will be comfortable with. If you can convey that you are that person, you have a much better chance of landing the position.