First up, preparing for an interview.
- Do your homework. Research the potential employer and learn what makes them unique or different from other places you are interviewing. This is important for you to find a job that is the best fit for you, and also to be able to ask good questions of your potential employer.
- Prepare for potential interview questions. Practice your answers! Next week I'll cover common interview questions and how to prepare for them.
- Questions for the employer. Always be prepared to ask questions at your interview. It's not just them interviewing you, you are also interviewing them to make sure it's a good fit for you.
- Research salary. Salary varies based on experience, geographic location, and practice setting. Do your research prior to the interview to know what to expect, as well as to be ready to answer the sometimes uncomfortable, "what is your salary expectation for this job?" question. I recommend checking out salary.com and the Advance for OT Salary Survey results.
- Make sure you know how to get there. I usually ask if there is somewhere specific I am supposed to park and where I should report when I arrive. This reduces my anxiety around not knowing what to expect, because at least I know where to park and where to go in the building. Also, I recommend checking out how long it will take to get there and don't forget to take into consideration the time of day you will be going and if traffic may delay you. Do a drive by if necessary a day or two before to really make sure you know where you are going.
- Decide what to wear. Dress professionally and choose your clothes prior to the day of the interview. If you pick out your clothes in advance, it's one less thing to think about on the interview day.
The day of:
- Arrive on time! Give yourself plenty of time to get to your interview, including time to find parking and get to where you are supposed to be. You can always sit in your car and review your notes if you arrive too early. It's much harder to make up for arriving late.
- Dress appropriately. Hopefully you've already decided ahead of time what you will wear, so this is just a matter of putting those clothes on! Remember, dress professionally!
- Bring everything you need. This might include extra copies of your resume, your OT license, CPR certification, a list of references, a list of previous employers and previous addresses. You probably already filled out an application online when you submitted your resume, but often employers have a paper application that you must fill out when you arrive. Information that is often required is dates of when you were in school, dates and addresses for previous jobs, and previous home addresses (going back seven years) for a background check.
- Relax and be yourself. The interviewer just wants to get to know you, and hear about your skills and experiences, so relax and show them who you really are!
The day after:
- Follow up. Once you complete the interview, you still have work to do! It's always good to follow up the next day (usually by email) to thank the interviewer for interviewing you, to reiterate your interest in the position, and to highlight your qualifications for the job. Keep it short and sweet. This is not the time to write an essay. Remember, just three things: 1) thank you, 2) your interest in the job, 3) your qualifications for the job. Bonus points if you are able to tie in something the interviewer shared in the interview!
Good luck preparing for your interviews! Be sure to stop back next week for common interview questions!