OT Job Interview Questions and Sample Responses

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On this page, you will find sample responses to some of the most frequently asked questions for an occupational therapy job interview, broken out into 4 categories as listed below. Be sure to also reviewYour Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Job Interview to learn all the essential strategies and tips you need to know before, during and after your job interview.

  1. General questions about your background, character and qualifications
  2. Questions related to salary
  3. Questions related to a specific setting or population
  4. Behavioral Interview Questions

1. General Questions

When an interviewer asks you questions related to who you are, they are trying to get a feel for how well your experiences and qualifications meet the needs of the organization. “Tell me about yourself” is not an invitation to divulge your personal life stories, but to articulate your value. That means, every question must be met with a response that highlights your experienceaccomplishments and the value you’d bring to the organization. Here are some examples:

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF

“I’m a new practitioner with a strong interest and passion for working with the older population. I enjoy working in a fast paced environment and I’m able to adapt well to shifting priorities and changes. And although I’m a recent graduate, my fieldwork experiences have been a tremendous training ground for me, giving me the clinical knowledge and skills necessary to provide high quality, evidence-based care that is client centered and occupation-based. I really do feel that my experiences and passion align well with what you’re looking for and am confident that my enthusiasm and skill sets will be a valuable addition to your team.”

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH?

“My greatest strength is my ability to think critically and incorporate strong clinical reasoning based on evidence and science to guide every process in the delivery of care to ensure optimal patient outcomes. I am passionate about learning and am continuously gathering new evidence and treatment approaches through continuing education courses. In fact, I have been using the MedBridge Certificate Programs to increase my knowledge base and stay abreast of new technologies and research aimed at improving patient outcomes.”

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?

“My greatest weakness may be that I spend more time than necessary on a task or take on tasks that can be shared or delegated. I realized this tendency during my final fieldwork placement and learned that this behavior arises out of my need to control or produce a positive outcome. Since then, I have really worked on myself to trust others and create a collaborative work environment, which has led to higher productivity, efficiency and outcomes.”

Here is another great example provided by a recent graduate who received an offer the day after her interview:

“As a new grad and recent student, my area of weakness is being able to stand my ground and establishing myself as a respected professional among colleagues who have several years of experience. It’s difficult for me to take on a leadership role at times when I was so recently in the student role, but I have taken steps to address this by looking into continuing education courses and training, as well as identifying therapists and mentors that I can shadow, which has increased my confidence and readiness to step up and take initiative.” Allison Grace Hall, MOT, OTR- Bay Path University.

As you can see in both of the examples above, you must provide an example of an action that you took to overcome your weakness, resulting in a positive outcome. In the first example above, the action that was taken to overcome the weakness is “worked on trusting others and creating collaborative work environment.” The resulting positive outcome was “higher productivity, efficiency and outcomes.” In the second example, the action that was taken was to overcome the weakness is seeking additional training and support. The resulting positive outcomes was “increased confidence and readiness to take initiative.”

2. Questions About Salary

If asked about your salary requirements, always answer in a range, not specific numbers. This range should reflect your understanding of your value based on the location and practice setting, as well as your level of education, experience and skills. Important: wait until you have a job offer before you negotiate your salary so that you have a number to respond to.

“Based on my skills, education and experience for this position, I believe I should be paid in the range of $75,000-95,000.”

3. Questions Specific to the Setting or Population

Every employer will be interested in knowing how well your previous experiences have prepared you for the specific practice setting and population for which you will be working. Be ready to provide clear, specific and relevant examples from your experiences that demonstrate your readiness to address the specific population of the facility.

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN X SETTING?

This question is asking for you to describe how well you’d fit in with the practice setting and work environment for which you are applying. So be sure to demonstrate your readiness to navigate and perform effectively in this practice setting.

“During my level II fieldwork in the acute care setting, I had the opportunity to provide comprehensive acute care OT services for adults with a wide variety of conditions including burns, cardiac or pulmonary diseases, transplants and amputations. Every day, I witnessed the skills, collaboration and the meticulous expertise with which the multidisciplinary team worked together to ensure optimal patient outcome, even during an intense moment of unexpected changes and shifting priorities. It was in this moment I realized the immense contribution I can make as an individual who thrives in fast-paced and dynamic environment that calls on strong clinical expertise, creativity and problem-solving skills.”

 If you have NO experience or exposure to the setting, be sure to describe the steps you have taken, such as Continuing Education, to be prepared for the new experience.

WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH X POPULATION?

“My level II fieldwork placement was in a private pediatric clinic, where I had the opportunity to design and implement treatment plans for children with special needs including Autism, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Processing Dysfunction, Developmental Delay and other medically complex conditions leading to impaired occupational function. Utilizing a wide variety of both standardized and non-standardized assessment tools, I worked closely with the family to determine the child’s area of needs and develop a treatment plan that provides just the right challenge. Some of the most commonly used assessments include the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability, the Peabody Motor Developmental Scales, and the Bayley Scales of Motor Development.”

Be specific with the types of assessments and treatments you used.

WHAT INTERESTS YOU MOST ABOUT OUR FACILITY AND THIS POSITION?

“When I imagine a place and work environment that would support my growth and help me thrive, this facility comes to mind. With a medical staff representing and leading the national standards for excellence in stroke rehabilitation, this department has shown a strong commitment to evidence-based practices. And as someone who wants to work towards becoming a stroke certified rehabilitation specialist, there is no other place I can think of that would allow me to excel in both clinical rigor and excellence for which this hospital is known. So I am really excited about the prospect of joining your team to contribute to advancing the mission of the hospital.”

 This question calls on research. Be sure to know the organization’s strengths and how that correlates with your passion and career goals.

4. Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions are often employed to help the employer learn about your skills, abilities and personality through various case scenarios. The idea behind these type of questions is that your past behavior reflects how you will behave in the future. So be sure to include an ACTION that you took that led to a positive OUTCOME or RESULT.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE A SITUATION WHERE YOU DID NOT AGREE WITH MANAGEMENT?

“Most of my experiences with my former supervisors and management have been very pleasant. There was, however, one incident when my clinical supervisor had asked me to perform an evaluation on a patient using an assessment I had never used before. Despite my lack of experience and confidence using the assessment, my clinical instructor stated that there was no one else who could perform the evaluation before the deadline. This situation presented an ethical dilemma because I knew that administering the assessment without training would be outside my level of competence. To resolve this issue, I began by meeting with my supervisor to describe my discomfort and proposed a plan to help me identify a seasoned practitioner who may be able to train me on the use of the assessment prior to the date of evaluation. Ultimately, we were able to find at PT who was knowledgeable and trained in the use of the assessment and I was able to complete the evaluation to meet the deadline. My supervisor was impressed with my ‘initiative, adaptability and willingness to be a team player,’ which is reflected in my Fieldwork Evaluation Form.”

MORE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

The questions during your interview may not come in this exact format below, but all of these questions are important to think about because they will help you articulate who you are and the value that you would bringto the organization. In addition to hard skill sets, the employer is trying to assess your emotional intelligence, character, interpersonal skills and integrity. So be sure to review these questions and develop your own strong and compelling personal narrative.

Questions About Your Confidence and Competence

  • How would you describe yourself? How would your enemies describe you?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you consider your greatest “failure?”
  • Tell me about a time when you delivered a positive experience for your patient.
  • What can you bring to our team that other candidates cannot?

Questions About Your Learning Style

  • What kind of feedback works best for you?
  • What kind of management/supervision do you prefer?
  • What kind of working environment do you thrive in?
  • What are some of the things in a job that are important to you?

Questions About Your Interpersonal Skills

  • Have you had a disagreement with your supervisor? How was it resolved?
  • What kind of individuals do you find it most difficult to work with?
  • Do you have experience working with people of different backgrounds and interests?
  • What are some essential communication skills necessary for this position?

Questions About Your Problem-Solving Skills

  • Tell me about a time when you had  a difficult patient and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick or hard decision.
  • How do you cope with a stressful or overwhelming situation?
  • Can you think of an example of problems or challenges that you find difficult to solve?
  • What do you believe are key success factors for an effective therapy session?

Questions About Your Intent and Motivation

  • What can you tell us about our facility? What do you know about us?
  • What are your professional goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

OT JOB INTERVIEW

This article above is part of the Job Interview series. Be sure to check out the OT Job Resources to download a Sample Resume, Cover Letter and so much more!

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