The First Post-grad Challenge for Student Therapists is Rocking the Interview

By: Lee Whitlock
Former Director of Recruiting for Infinity Rehab

A blind date and an interview have more in common than you think! The same nervous feelings and questions come up to haunt us:
• Did I wear the right outfit?
• Did I talk too much?
• Did I talk too little?
• Was my breath bad?
• Was there food in my teeth?
• Did he or she like me?
• When will he or she call me?
Interviewing is completely nerve rattling just like a blind date can be. However, I hope I can offer you some advice that can make it a little easier to stomach. After 24 years in recruiting, I can tell you employers still want the “Wow Factor.” We want to be wowed in the interview! We want you to show up polished and professionally dressed with a resume or application in hand. It’s a good idea to bring several resumes in case more than one person shows up to interview you. And we want you to show up on time and be enthusiastic to meet us.
Next – be prepared. You should always do your research on the company and the position you are interviewing for before the interview. Most of the important information is right at your fingertips on the Internet. I highly suggest you go one step further and research the person who is interviewing you.
But, the most important advice that I can offer you is that interviewing is a two way street.

You will be interviewed, but you need to stop and interview them, too! Most clinicians do not interview the company and/or person they are meeting with. Maybe you don’t know what to ask? Maybe you are too nervous? Maybe you thought they answered most of your questions. And so, the interviewer shows you out, tells you to have a great day, and they will be in touch with you soon. STOP!
This is your career. This is where you spend 40 or more hours a week. This is how you are eventually going to pay those student loans off, get into management, maybe own your own clinic someday, or go on the trip you dreamed of for so long. This is what makes your mood poopy or happy when you come home to your spouse, partner, or roommate. Your career and job matter more than you can ever imagine! Therefore, interviewing the person on the other side of the desk matters most!
What do we, the interviewers, think when a clinician pulls out a piece of paper with a list of questions, and more importantly, starts taking notes when we answer? We get the “Wow Factor” and we love it. We think, “Wow this person really cares about where they are going to work. Wow, this person is smart to ask all these questions. Wow, why didn’t the other interviews go like this? Why didn’t they ask questions? Wow, I really like this person.”
Ask questions, take notes, ask to job shadow, ask to meet other staff, ask for a tour of the facility, hospital or clinic; ask, ask and ask more. You will be surprised how much you will learn about the position versus being interviewed. Now you can make the informed and appropriate decision on where to work.
I hope all of your interviews go well, and I hope you have fun interviewing. I think when you realize how much you can learn in the interview, you will really enjoy asking questions more.
Good Luck!

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