Strategies for a Physical Therapy Job Interview

physical therapist helping patient
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There is nothing more daunting than facing an interview for a career that you have spent countless hours studying and planning for. A career as a physical therapist can be challenging and rewarding. Careers in the physical therapy field, as therapists or as physical therapy aides and technicians are in high demand.

The competition for jobs is fierce. What can you do to stand out in a sea of resumes and qualified candidates?

How to Interview for Physical Therapy Positions

There is nothing more anxiety-producing than having to face the interview squad. These days most job seekers have to endure an onslaught of pre-employment tests, obstacle courses, and various interview formats to win a coveted position as a physical therapist, PT aide, technician, or related position in this health therapy field.

Most organizations have developed seasoned techniques and questionnaires for determining which candidates will succeed in selected positions. Some will first subject physical therapy tech candidates to a phone interview, and perhaps online or other forms of tests before a candidate can actually meet with someone for a face-to-face interview.

How can you convince someone that you are the best candidate when you have to overcome the barrier of not even winning them over with your award-winning smile?

Your best bet is preparation!

Preparing for Phone Interviews and Pre-Interview Testing

How do you prepare for job interviews? Companies conducting interviews know that strong candidates are ones that conduct research ahead of time. To win a premium position as a physical therapy technician whether at a hospital, long-term care facility, private office, or other facilities, study diligently before an interview.

Take time to learn about the agency you plan to interview with. Most companies these days conduct phone interviews before a face-to-face interview. This allows companies time to determine whether a candidate has the skills and competencies necessary to succeed as a physical therapist with their company.

These first questions asked also determine whether you might be a good fit for the organization that is doing the hiring.

If you want to pass the phone interview, start by answering each question honestly and succinctly. Nothing forfeits an early interview faster than a long-winded candidate. Most hiring managers have to talk with several candidates before they determine the best fit for their needs. They do not have time for long-winded answers. Stick to the facts.

Typical questions posed during a first or phone interview may include:

  • What is your experience working in the healthcare field?
  • Do you have any experience working in physical therapy or as a physical therapist?
  • Why do you want to be a physical therapist, pt tech, pt aide?
  • What qualities or characteristics do you think make a good physical therapist?
  • How do you handle work stress?

There are right answers. These answers typically are the ones that stick to the physical therapy field, which includes relationship-building, compassion, and problem-solving. Be sure you have some questions prepared about the company that is interviewing you as well. This shows you have done your homework.

The Best Answers to Physical Therapy Interview Questions

The best interview answers always use specific examples to specific questions. If you have a solid work history, then draw from your past experience to answer any questions you are asked regarding problem-solving, work stress, and organization

The interviewer wants to know how you handle specific work problems. If you can provide examples of how you handled specific problems in the past, you are much more likely to progress to the next round of interviews or be offered a job.

Proper Attire

Some people have no sense of style when it comes to a job interview. If you plan to get a job then you should take some time to get a feel for what the culture is at the company you plan to interview with. If you make it past the first round of interviews and are offered an in-person interview, then you are going to have to decide what to wear to make a great impression.

This is not the time to bust out your 1970s style suit or bellbottoms. Making an impression is vital to your success as a serious job candidate.

While you may love your SpongeBob tie, the Chief Administrator at the hospital may think it is a bit over-the-top, unless you plan to work in pediatric physical therapy. If you are interviewing for a job in an assisted living center, then consider the type of culture and people you plan to work with.

You might spend some time reviewing the company website to get an idea of what people wear. A Manhattan styled business suit might not be the best choice for your interview. On the other hand, it may be perfect if you plan to work in an upscale physical therapy office in Manhattan.

Lastly, have a little fun. When you finally get to meet someone in person, remember personality goes a long way to winning the job at hand. Relax, and be yourself. Remember that you are interviewing a company as much as they are interviewing you. With time and focus, you will find the right fit and the ideal employment opportunity in physical therapy.

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