This weekend, I had the opportunity to do mock interviews with women from the community. There was one from an adult hospital and one from a school. I knew it was just a mock interview, but I was nervous anyway! I have had other interviews in the past, but I didn't really know what to expect from an SLP interview. I wanted to share what I learned from that morning with all of you, in case you're interviewing soon or will be in the near future!
1. Know information about the place you're applying. They're going to ask you why you want to work in that specific place. Know your facts about the company/school/hospital. Know the potential caseload you could have. What makes that place special?
2. Know the research. I wasn't asked anything in the mock interview myself, but I know that my friends who have interviewed have been asked specific and general questions about research. They have been asked about the most recent research article they've read. Know the title, the gist of the article, and if possible, the authors (or at least the primary one). Demonstrate your knowledge about different techniques and how you address a specific disorder that you would see in that setting (e.g. right CVA in adults or stuttering in children).
3. Be yourself. We all want to look amazing in our interviews because we want the job and we want to stand out. Be honest about yourself. Let your personality shine through!
4. Be open. My interviewer this weekend told me that she looks for the nitty-gritty of who you are. She wants to know what life experiences you've had and what lessons you've learned from them. She said, "You can teach clinical skills, but you can't teach those life lessons." You don't have to give lots of details, but you should offer up at least one personal experience that has taught you valuable lessons that you can apply to your practice.
5. Know what types of questions the interviewers like to ask. I looked up a list of potential SLP interview questions just to be prepared. I'm really glad I did, because I expected most of the questions I was asked. It allowed me to prep them ahead of time.
6. Know your strengths. I was asked to name 3 of my strengths. It's hard for me to talk about myself like that, and it's hard for me to think of things on the spot. This was a question I knew was going to come up, so I had a few answers prepared. It will most likely come up in the interview, so go ahead and prep it ahead of time. Just don't make it sound rehearsed.
7. Have a "good" weakness answer ready. You want a "good" weakness. By that, I mean you want a weakness that isn't actually a weakness. These can be very difficult to come up with, especially on the spot. I spent a lot of time thinking about mine ahead of time. Mine is that I sometimes care TOO much about a case or family and let it burden me. It's a good thing that I care a lot, which makes it a "good" weakness, if you see what I mean. It's just bad because it ends up burdening me. You never want to say "I'm stubborn" or anything along those lines.
8. Stay calm. I know this is SO hard because you're nervous and you want to do well. If you stay calm, you'll feel more comfortable and will probably answer the questions better. Don't drink caffeine beforehand if it makes you even the slightest bit jittery.
9. Don't talk with your hands too much. This is a bad habit of mine. Just don't do it. I had to sit with my hands in my lap/under my legs to avoid it. Do what you have to do.
10. Dress well and not over the top. I've seen a wide variety of interview outfits. I've seen ones that are black, white, gray, or tan only. I've seen ones that are mainly those colors with a pop of one accent color. I've seen patterns and no patterns. I've seen dresses and pants. So what is the standard??? There isn't one. Look professional but be yourself. Don't dress like someone you're not. BUT don't be too over the top. No super loud colors. No leopard print. Another tip I heard recently was to dress up one level from whatever your interviewer will be wearing. For example, if your interviewer will be wearing jeans, you wear dress pants and a nice shirt. If your interview is wearing business casual, then you should probably wear a blazer or a "tv-anchor" type dress.
Those are just a few things I pulled from my mock interview this weekend.
Do you have any tips for interviewing? Please share them below!!