Interview Like a Pro: Part 2A – General Tips for Both Phone and Face to Face Interviews

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Editor’s Note:  This post is part 2A of a four-part interview guide for pediatric and school based speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.    

To read the rest of this guide, visit our Interview Like a Pro – The Pediatric Therapy Clinician’s Guide landing page.

General Advice for Your Phone Interview:

Many times a telephone interview is conducted for contract or temporary positions, in lieu of a face-to-face meeting.  Although a contract job is not a “commitment for life,” the employer holding the phone will be looking for a strong indication that you are committed to the position you are being considered for and that you are truly interested in their district or company.  Interviewees often make the mistake of perceiving a phone interview as less important than one that takes place face-to-face.  In fact, the opposite is actually true. A telephone interview may be your only chance to make your best impression. It is much more difficult to get the “real you” across by phone, so you need to make the most of every minute by preparing ahead of time.

  • Schedule a time where you can give the interviewer your undivided attention.
  • Keep the interview “clinical” and focused on the job duties. Other, more general questions can be answered by your recruiter (if you have one) or through your research.
  • Don’t talk about money. If you are interviewing through a recruiter, they will have that information for you.  If you are self-represented, you should obtain that information through Human Resources, not during the clinical phone interview with the hiring authority.
  • Let the interviewer ask his or her questions first to ensure that the interviewer covers all that they want to learn about you.  If there is time, feel free to ask job related questions.

General Tips for Your Face-to-Face Interview:

  • Make sure you have good directions and allow plenty of time to get there.
  • As a starting point, it is critical to understand that the impression you make in the first few minutes of the interview generally sets the tone for your success or failure for the entire interview.
  • SKILLS – ACHIEVEMENTS – ATTITUDE are three ingredients an employer will assess during your face-to-face interview.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your specific accomplishments and skills as well as open ended questions like “Tell me about yourself.” Bring with you a list of job related questions you want to ask, but save them for the end of the interview.  Make sure to avoid questions about days off, vacations or schedules until the job is offered.
  • Dress professionally; avoid bright colors. Make sure hair is clean and neatly styled.  Avoid perfume and cologne.
  • Be exceptionally courteous to everyone you meet.
  • Leave your cell phone in your pocket or bag during your interview.  Make sure you silence your cell phone.
  • Be mindful of your body language. So much of how we communicate is nonverbal. For more on body language, please check out the following link.
  • Even if you’re having a bad day, put on a smile and show your enthusiasm for the job.  Many hiring decisions involve more than one candidate.  Personality and motivation are often tie-breakers.
  • At the end of the interview, you may ask:

If I have any more questions, may I call you? This usually prompts them to give you their contact information which you’ll need for your follow up.

  • How quickly are you hoping to have a decision?
  • May I ask how many people are being considered for the position?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?

Thank them for their time and let them know you will look forward to speaking with them again.

 

Continue to Part Two B of Interview Like a Pro – Video Interview Tips

Continue to Part Three of Interview Like a Pro – Specific Clinical Questions to Be Prepared For

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