Allied Health Podcast Series 1 Episode 9

Interviewing – Ultimate guide to interview success

In Episode 9 of Allied Health Podcast Clare and Danielle offer advice on interviews; interview types, how to prepare and what to expect; our ultimate guide to interview success.

Speaker You’re listening to Allied Health podcast, talking all things Allied Health with your hosts, Danielle Weedon, physiotherapist, and Clare Jones, occupational therapist.

Danielle Weedon Welcome back to Allied Health Podcast. In this episode, we offer advice on interviews, interview types, how to prepare and what to expect.

Clare Jones So before we cover the different types of interviews, we thought we’d highlight some key advice before attending any interview. Now, preparation is key, so be prepared and do your homework. Apart from making you confident to attend an interview, being well prepared demonstrates that you’re organised, that you research and prepare in advance to situations, and that you’re invested and committed to this particular role. It enables you to have a better understanding of the role, which in turn enables you to better demonstrate to interviewers why you’re the best person for the job. So first up, ensure you have a copy of the position description, and it’s a good idea to speak to the contact person of the organisation so that you can gain a better understanding of the role and its requirements. This also gives you the opportunity to make a good impression before you’ve even interviewed. Research the interviewer or panel of interviewers and the organisation in detail. Seek clarification on who will be interviewing you. You need their name and their job title. Then look them up on LinkedIn and Google them. Research the organisation. You want to know the services they provide, their clients and their history. Things like how long have they been around? And really importantly, do you know anyone who may already be working there or who has worked there in the past? It’s a small, allied health world out there, and finding out this information can mean the difference between interview success or not. So before the interview? Prepare for questions that may be asked. It’s likely that you’ll be asked both clinical and non-clinical clinical questions that relate to generic skills, such as communication, time management, report writing, punctuality and reliability, and working under pressure. To answer such questions, you can draw on experiences both from your clinical experience, so as students, your student placements, or you can also draw on experiences in other roles such as disability support, hospitality and retail. It goes without saying that you must present professionally whether you’re interviewing in person or via video link, so brush your hair, wear neat business attire or neat casual attire. And if you’re in doubt about what you’re wearing, sit on the conservative side. Regardless of whether it’s a face to face interview or a video interview, turn up early. This is going to minimise the chances of unexpected delays which are going to make you late. And finally, good preparation can really settle the nerves. Now, interviewers understand that applicants will be nervous, and most will try to put you at ease. The right amount of nerves is a good thing, as this means you’re invested in the opportunity. Good preparation is the key to not being too nervous and not feeling too overwhelmed in an interview.

Danielle Weedon Next up, we’re going to discuss how interviews are conducted. Commonly interviews are conducted face to face. However, given the recent impact of COVID 19, we’re seeing more and more interviews conducted via phone or video link. For face to face interviews, as previously mentioned, make sure you know where you need to be, at what time you’ll be meeting and who you’ll be meeting. Get there early and present professionally. When it comes to phone interviews, be mindful that a phone interview can be slightly more difficult for both parties as you’re unable to read facial expressions and body language. Let the interviewer know if you’ve not heard a question correctly or if you wish to have a question clarified, and be sure you speak audibly and clearly. Make sure you’re also in a quiet and uninterrupted space. Now, regarding video conferencing, common platforms for video interviews are via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. When it comes to interviewing via video link, a professional space is critical here. Your space needs to be quiet and free from distractions, a tidy space or if you can’t have that, put a filter on, make sure there’s good light and don’t interview lying on your bed.

Clare Jones OK, now on to different types of interviews. The interview stage of the recruitment process can start with a pre interview phone screen, and we commonly see this. So typically for allied health roles, a phone screen will be an informal conversation with an employer who will briefly discuss the role, your experience, ability and knowledge related to the role and your career goals. It’s also a chance for you to ask any questions that relate to anything that may determine whether or not you want to proceed with your application for the role. So, for example, if you don’t drive, you’ll want to ask in the phone screen if driving is a requirement of the role. If it is, then there’s no point continuing. Of course, if you’re working with us here at MediRecruit we’ll advise you of such requirements prior to applying for the role. So we commonly see informal interviews used for health roles in the private sector. Informal interviews are not structured like formal interviews, but they have the same goal, which is to work out if you’ll be a good fit for the role and organisation. Informal interviews can seem very relaxed, conversational and less intense. But don’t underestimate the importance of being prepared for informal interviews. Typically, formal interviews are with one to two interviewers or even a panel of interviewers. In a formal health interview, you might most likely be required to respond to questions that relate to the key selection criteria, and you’ll also be given case studies typically. So case studies again typically are presented 20 to 30 minutes prior to interview. This gives you some time to prepare, and at the moment we commonly see formal interviews used mainly for hospital roles only. Now, regardless of whether or not an informal or formal interview style is used, many employers will use behavioural based questions. So behavioural based questions require you to outline a specific example in your work history to address the key selection criteria questions. So, for example, it might centre around dealing with a difficult client or teamwork, or working to timeframes or working under stress. The concept of behavioural based interviewing is mainly based on the theory that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. So not what you would do, but what you have done to influence a positive outcome in the past. When preparing for behavioural based questions, we advise you to use the star method to structure your response. This structured manner of responding requires you to outline a specific situation, so that’s “S”. The task “T”, the action taken “A”, and the “R”esult that you achieved. Useful situations to reflect on include like really, you know, the most challenging situations you’ve encountered, an accomplishment which you most proud of. Or maybe it’s a difficult patient’s family that you’ve had to deal with.

Danielle Weedon Yes. And when it comes to interviewing, there’s two more pieces of advice that Clare and I’d like to share with you. The first one is that interviews are a two way process, so the interview is a chance for both you and your future employer to learn more about each other. And it’s advisable to ask some questions at the end of the interview if they’re relevant. As a grad or early career therapist, don’t forget to ask about continuing professional development and supervision and support if this hasn’t already been covered in the interview. It could also be really useful to ask about key challenges within the role, or you might have another clinical question or want to know more about the location or working arrangements. The last tip is getting interview feedback. It’s fair to ask in interview when a decision is likely to be made about the outcome of your application and when you can expect to receive feedback, even if you’re unsuccessful. Feedback is really important as it provides the opportunity for professional growth. And again, hopefully you’ll be able to learn something useful for your next interview. Finally, if you’re unsuccessful in the application, it’s advisable to thank the organisation for their time with the aim of building lasting professional contacts in a very, very, very small, allied health world.

Clare Jones So that’s it. Thanks again for listening to Allied Health podcast. Please contact us if you’d like to access our free interviewing guide and please listen to our next episode, where we cover dissecting a letter of offer and an allied health employment contract.

Speaker We hope you enjoyed listening to the Allied Health Podcast. In the show’s notes, you’ll find links to our free recruitment resources, job opportunities and health care marketplace insights. To listen to new episodes, please subscribe via Apple, Google, or wherever you find your favourite podcasts. And if you’ve enjoyed the show, please give it a five star rating and review. And be sure to tell your therapy colleagues and friends to tune in.