You need to prepare in advance for your interview to gain confidence and reduce the pressure brought about by the interview process. This article will help you by looking at a few occupational therapy questions and answers that you should expect.
1. Why Occupational Therapy?
The interviewer wants to know why you decided to pursue a career in occupational therapy. Convince them that you have a calling to help others. It would be best if you told a story supporting your calling. Did you volunteer in an occupational therapy clinic? Do you have a friend who is an operational therapist?
I believe that I have a calling to help others. I once had a sick family member who received occupational therapy services that significantly improved his life. I made a conscious decision to be a blessing to others. I also spent time volunteering in an operational therapy clinic and got to see how OT changes people’s lives, which further convinced me to pursue this career.
2. What Interests You about Our Facility and this Particular Position?
Why do you what to join that particular facility? You could have tried your luck in many OT clinics, but you chose this particular one, which means you have a reason. Your answer will help the interview filter candidates and pave the way for more deserving ones. Therefore be careful and mention more than the normal ‘I would like to work with injured people’ response.
I have conducted extensive research on your facility and even spent time observing your processes. I love what you do and would be honored to join you. As for this particular position, I believe that I have the ability and expertise to perform and deliver excellent results.
3. What are Your Career Goals? Where Do You Think You Will be in 5 Years?
This is a common question asked by interviewers to establish whether you have reflected on your personal goals and how they connect with the particular position. Show that you are committed to your role and would love to advance further in the next five years. Make sure that you have realistic goals that you can quickly achieve.
I intend to be practicing in an environment that values professional growth, allows for program development, and recognizes how crucial occupational therapy is. I also believe that I will have advanced my knowledge in this career and undertaken a few extra courses.
4. Share With Us a Situation Where You Needed to Advocate for Occupational Therapy.
Such questions require you to be honest and not try to make up experiences. Your answer should show passion and enthusiasm for this position. Show how you advocated for occupational therapy, what you said and how you ensured it was done. Also, have in mind there are several ways and forums to advocate for OT.
I once encountered a recovering patient who was hesitant about starting occupational therapy. I talked with her and explained the importance of occupational therapy and how it would help her get back to her everyday life. I managed to convince her together with the physician and shortly started administering OT.
5. Why Should We Hire You?
This is where you tell the interviewer some of the contributions you will make to the team that other applicants can’t. Make sure that you sell yourself, highlight your outstanding qualities and mention any quality reasons why you deserve the job. It doesn’t matter whether you are fresh from college and yet to practice.
I am passionate about occupational therapy and can positively contribute to the ongoing evaluation and analysis of the practices modeled within this department. I have a great deal of experience that I can use to deliver outstanding results and enhance service delivery within this department.
6. Tell Us How You Would Handle a Difficult Situation with a Patient
You need to understand that you will be representing the employer the moment you are hired. Some of your roles will be handling difficult situations with patients. You need to frame your answer positively and reassure the hiring manager that you can adequately address such a situation.
I will assess the patient’s emotional and physical state while maintaining clear communication and relaxed body language all through our interaction. I will also ensure that they understand that I am willing to help. I may also encourage discussion with the patient to diffuse the situation and work on solutions if any.
7. How Will You Deal With Overwhelming Workload?
You should know that being an occupational therapist is not as easy as it may seem. You will have lots of workload and roles to attend to. You must therefore be able to handle such stressful moments and ensure that you won’t lag. Show the interviewer that you can prioritize your work well and deliver.
I can easily handle a heavy workload. I once took up the work of an absent colleague, prioritized tasks, organized myself, and delivered on time. Whenever I have lots of work, I list everything down in my planner, identify those that need to be addressed first and work on a schedule.
8. Have You Ever Made a Difference in Someone’s Life?
This is a common question in occupational therapy interviews, asked to determine how passionate you are about the job. You need to be empathetic and understand the plight of the patients. Make sure that you give a quality response by reflecting upon a patient or colleague who you helped change their life.
I once convinced a patient to undertake occupational therapy. He was a veteran who had been injured at war and therefore had a hard time going back to his life. I used to talk to and encourage him and even ensured that he was okay once he was out of therapy. He later broke down and thanked me. We still speak to date, and he has never missed a chance to tell me how grateful he is.
9. What is Your Greatest Weakness?
The interviewer wants to see whether you are transparent and open regarding your growth and development. Admitting that you have a weakness may be pretty tough since we all want to be seen as strong and sufficient. However, do not give a flaw that will stand in your way to performance and make the interviewer disqualify you. Avoid mentioning anything that touches on the job description.
My biggest weakness is that I get too engrossed in my job that I miss some of the things happening in life. A friend once told me that I use work to escape some of the things I do not want to face in life. However, I got a therapist who is helping me manage this weakness.
10. How Do You Establish Patient Goals?
The interviewer will always want to know how you will deal with patients, given that it is your primary job. One of the most critical aspects of occupational therapy is setting goals for patients. Both the patient and the therapist will be responsible for achieving the set goals. Goal setting also serves as motivation.
I usually ensure that the patient is involved in the goal-setting process and that the goals are achievable after finding out what the patient can achieve within a given time frame. I also consider how willing the patient is to cooperate, the availability of a support system, and the number of sessions required.
11. In Your Opinion, What Makes a Good Occupational Therapist?
A good occupational therapist can be challenging to define. It goes beyond just knowing one’s field. Make sure that you touch on the different aspects of this job when answering this question. What are some of the qualities that one needs to be a good occupational therapist?
A good occupational therapist should be ready to work with others given that this is a multidisciplinary environment; be able to manage stress levels and challenging situations, and work without supervision. Another essential quality is the ability to reflect on one’s practices.
12. How Would You Handle a Situation Where You Disagree With a Directive From a Supervisor?
Conflicts are normal in the workplace. Therefore, a prospective employer must know how you will react to conflicts and if you are a team player. You can give a past situation where you dealt with a difficult situation involving your boss or supervisor. Ensure that you outline what the issue was, how it was resolved, and the outcome.
I understand that there will always be a difference of opinion in the workplace and that people can disagree. I once had a different approach to a given task which was against what my boss wanted. I communicated honestly and in a polite way when tabling my strategy. He saw sense in what I was pushing for and agreed with it.
13. What is Your Greatest Strength?
You should state a strength that makes you good at this job. Do you know some of the things that are required in occupational therapy? Would you mind looking at the job description and trying to align some of your skills to it? Treat this as a chance to sell yourself and convince the interviewer that you are adequate.
I believe that my greatest strength lies in my ability to think critically and use strong clinical reasoning based on science and evidence when offering care to patients for excellent results. I am also passionate about learning and gathering new information, making me a great addition to this team.
14. Tell Me About Yourself
This is a general question asked by interviewers at the beginning of the interview. You need to focus more on your experience and less on your personal life. Mention some of your educational qualifications, experiences, qualities, and attributes relevant to this position.
I recently finished my internship and haven’t, therefore, stayed for long in the field. I am passionate about working with children and older adults and helping them with their problems. I can work well in a fast-paced environment and adapt to changes and shifting priorities. I have had many fieldwork experiences that have equipped me with clinical knowledge and skills to offer high-quality services.
15. Tell Us About Your Experience in ‘X’ Setting
The interviewer wants to know if you would fit well within the work environment and practice setting if given a chance. Therefore, show them that you are ready to navigate well and deliver in the assigned practice setting.
In my level II fieldwork working in the acute care setting, I offered comprehensive occupational therapy services for adults with several conditions such as burns, pulmonary diseases, amputations, and transplants. I worked with a team of professionals to ensure excellent patient outcomes and got to witness how to survive in a fast-paced environment. It significantly improved my skills and expertise.
16. What Kinds of Feedback Do You Like?
The interviewer wants to know the type of feedback that works best for you. This question targets your learning style. You should be ready for different types of feedback when going about your job, especially in such a fast-paced environment. Convince the interviewer that you appreciate feedback and would love to receive some from the patients and your bosses.
I appreciate all types of feedback since they help me restrategize and improve or keep on doing the good work. However, I particularly love constructive feedback since I find them helpful and encouraging. I do not mind my boss or any patient coming and talking to me about my services.
17. What Kind of Individuals Don’t You Like to Work With?
The interviewer wants to know the kind of individuals you find most challenging to work with. Occupational therapy is a multidisciplinary field that brings together different professionals. Even though it is normal to feel that answering such a question may significantly decrease your chances of landing the job, be tactful and mention people with negative qualities that may make your work harder.
I can work with anybody provided they respect the job and are willing to do everything possible to deliver. On that note, I do not fancy being in the same environment as uncooperative and irresponsible people who are not willing to put in the work required to achieve good results. Also, I’m not too fond of derailers and those who discourage others.
18. Do You Have Experience Working With People From Different Backgrounds?
The interviewer wants to know if you can work with people from diverse backgrounds. This is a pretty broad group that may consist of people from different races, religions, or continents. As we mentioned before, occupational therapy is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary field that brings together several people. Having worked with people from diverse backgrounds will give you an upper hand. Strive to be as detailed as possible in your answer.
I have worked with people from different backgrounds before. During my last job, I was stationed at a center situated in a place with people of mixed origins. I got to work with people from different racial and cultural backgrounds and learned a lot from them. My experience also opened my eyes to the world and the possibility of leaving my country to work in a faraway land one day.
19. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
This is a general question asked in interviews to help the interviewer know more about you by shedding more light on some of the most significant accomplishments in either your life or career. Mention an experience or time in your career that you think highly about. Remember, the interviewer will also use your answer to tell your definition of success.
My most outstanding achievement in this career was helping a war veteran injured in Afghanistan recover, develop and acquire skills that would help him in his daily life. This was the first time I ever dealt with a war veteran, and I even considered it an honor. I did a pretty good job and got positive feedback. I once bumped into him and was pleased that he could remember me.
20. Why Would You Advise Someone to See an Occupational Therapist?
This question aims to tell if you know what your job entails, the right target audience and what occupational therapy does to people. How can you know that someone requires occupational therapy and even advise them to seek it?
Occupational therapy helps people of all ages with their physical, cognitive, and sensory problems. I would therefore advise someone to seek occupational therapy to help them regain independence in their lives.
We have covered some of the questions that you should expect in an occupational therapy interview. I hope that you have the answers at your fingertips to avoid stuttering when asked. We wish you all the best!