Last week at work, I was on the interview panel to find the new OT Technical Instructor for my ward.
It was a long day interviewing the eight shortlisted candidates with myself, the Head OT, a Charge Nurse and a MH service user forming the panel.
We had some great candidates and I'm thrilled with the successful applicant that we have chosen, and am looking forward very much to working with them in the near future.
Being back in an interview room made me think back to when I was being interviewed for my job. That was a nerve wracking day!
So, in order to hopefully help some of you who may be reading this and going through the job interview process I thought I would share some tips into what we are interviewers where looking for.
(Although the interview was for an OT TI and not a qualified OT I'm sure that most of the points will be transferable.)
Kate's top tips for OT interviews:
- Make sure you have read through the job description/know what post you are applying for and have read round about the particular area of practice. If you already have experience of the particular area than demonstrate all your valuable knowledge.
- Use past life experiences to make you stand out and prove that you are up to the job. Volunteer work, past paid work and travelling is all important. Travelling, especially solo or in dangerous parts of the world can demonstrate maturity, independence and an ability to cope which are all important traits to posses.
- Bring your CPD folder with you and know where everything is in it. Bring examples of past work which would be relevant for the role you are interviewing for. For example the post we were interviewing for required the individual to run groups and be creative so candidates who made a good impression where those who showed us examples of their past work whether formal groups they had been involved with or art and craft projects.
- DO NOT LIE IN YOUR SUPPORTING STATEMENT. It was obvious from a couple of the applicants we interviewed that their supporting statements were not a true representation of themselves. When asked questions and expanding on answers it was obvious who had been truthful and was able to expand on their supporting statements and those who were not.
- If you have experience in OT then draw upon your knowledge even if it is from a different clinical area of setting. One of the candidates had experience in physical OT only however did not draw upon any of their experience or knowledge within these settings. Although Mental Health OT is different to Physical OT there are also many similarities and transferable skills so show the interviewers that you can work in the new setting.
- Try not to let your nerves get to you. It is important for your personality to shine through, interviewers are looking for someone who can not only do a great job but who will slot in well with the team.
- Dress to impress. You are interviewing for a professional job so jeans and a top don't give the right impression. You don't have to wear a suit if you are going to be uncomfortable in it but smart wear is definitely the way to go.
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewers. It shows that you are taking the interview/job seriously and that you have thought about it and show a real interest. Include questions with relation to the service and their goals, future aims etc. as well as general questions such as shift patterns, supervision access etc.
These are the main tips that arose from the interviews. If any of you reading this are in the job interviewing process than good luck, I hope you get the jobs you all want.