The Interview Process

This is the second blog in a series of three in which we walk through the steps of the interview process.

The previous blog covered applying for the job and the last still to come, your performance at the interview.

So great news! Your CV or application form has been shortlisted and you have been invited for interview, often done by phone if looking at a locum role and usually in person for a permanent position.

To prepare for the interview for your new job as an occupational therapist the first thing we need to think about is the client.  Who will you mostly be working with? People with mental health issues, people who have had a brain injury or stroke, people with learning disabilities etc etc you get the idea? Even more imperitive if you have moved around in different locum occupational therapy roles. 

Look firstly at your CPD file, check ruthlessly, identify anything that could illustrate how you can do the  job from the person specification. Then moving on, what are the relevant NICE guidelines? Is there a Royal College of Occupational Therapy Briefing Paper? Examine any Government legislation that may have impacted on this area of work. What is the most recent, relevant and thought provoking piece of research that is relevant to your new job? Not forgetting an international perspective (you want the job don't you..?). What current research articles are there in Canada, Sweden, or Australia etc for your client group? Think about your previous roles you have held and think about a similar setting and different challenges you had to overcome and how you did this.

The reason you are doing this research is believe it or not to reduce your anxiety. You should now have a good working knowledge and understanding of the context of your new job. That information alone will give you a head start and help you feel more confident. You may not even use it but it's there to say, 'Yes there is information about that  the RCOT (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) Briefing Paper..' or 'yes I had a similar situation when I worked in xxxxx role', it's valuable and shows you have done your homework and thought about this position seriously.

Next, Try and take some pressure of yourself with some positive self-talk.

If you are having a face to face interview for a permanent role it may involve a task or presentation. I know most people hate presentations but it is a means to an end so we just have to crack on.. Think about a short and sharp presentation, include some of the information we have discovered. Practice the presentation, on your own, in front of the dog/friends/family until it feels natural, remember this is something you have worked towards for years.

Especially important if you are having a telephone interview, let the interviewer feel your passion, see your motivation and hear your enthusiasm!

Finally before we finish just check, have the interviewers asked for a CPD file? In practice not many interviewers do, there simply isn't the time to open them and plough through a lever arch file of plastic wallets. Try and find out before if its going to be required before you get out your trolley to lug it to the interview.

Anything relevant should already be in your CV/statement/presentation or you should have the info at your finger tips ready to illustrate all the skills from the job description/person specification. Phew all ready..?


Next time: The Interview.


Margaret Spencer

If you have any thoughts, questions or queries, I would love to hear from you.



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