Occupational Therapy is a field that deals with rehabilitation and recovery of physically disabled, injured people or people suffering from mental diseases. It focuses on long term well being. Being a occupational therapist you may come across people of different age groups suffering from different disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, etc. So having a positive, unique and holistic approach is necessary to be a occupational therapist.
Occupational therapist sometimes have to go through interview rounds to get a decent job. As this job requires a lot of patience, professionalism and ethical behaviour, the interview questions mostly deal with your personality traits.
Occupational Therapy Interview Questions & Answers
1.Why did you choose occupational therapy as a career?
Occupational therapist is a career that helps people recover. This feeling of helping someone is always accompanied by feeling of contentment. You have to explain why you feel this way. You can refer any past incident that inspired you to choose this field. You can also mention any qualities of this job that you think are appealing.
This question is for those who had any previous experience in this field. You can mention any difficult case or subject that took years to recover or you can refer any of your extraordinary performance that helped save a person’s life. Don’t share any personal information of any of your previous patient.
E.g. I once treated a patient with knee movement disorder. His daily treatment plans were hardly showing any good results. As we moved ahead with my treatment plan he started feeling nauseous. I checked for other symptoms and even though he was a bit resistant I suggested him to take few tests that confirmed his cancer. As it was detected earlier,it made it treatable and he is now fully recovered and living a happy life. At that moment I felt proud to be an OT.
3. Do you have any previous experience in this field?
This is just to check your experience. Do not lie if you have no experience. Mention some of your qualities that will help you fill the shoes of an experienced OT. If you have any previous experience, you can mention the name of facility or hospital you worked for. You can mention the number of years you worked in that facility/hospital.
4. How do you deal with difficult people?
Being an OT you will have to deal with rude, impolite and unpleasant patients. This might even escalate if your treatment plans and therapy sessions didn’t show results. You can’t be unprofessional in this situation. You have to know the importance of empathy and sensitivity. You should have good communication skills and have an ability to build a strong professional relationship with your patients. You can also suggest any home exercises beside therapy sessions. This will make him feel important.
5. What do you do in your free time?
This is just a question to judge your productivity and personality. You can mention your passion, your hobby that you like to pursue during free time. You can mention activities like reading books, listening music, even watching tv or movies. Don’t ever imply that you never get a free time.
6. Have you ever faced any difficult situations? How did you handle it?
You can mention any case that required lot of patience and problem solving skills. You can also mention incidents that are not related to any patients like conflict between your co workers or colleagues. This highlights your problem solving skills.
7. How do you think of handling stress due to this job if you are hired?
Stress is the part of every career and never deny the fact that you will also feel stressed at many moments in this job. Enjoy it as the part of this job. You can mention any stress relieving activities like meditation, listening music, etc.
8. How will you handle disagreement with your supervisor or the management head?
Sometimes you will come across situations where you disagree with any of your supervisor or you get two conflicting orders from different supervisors. Dealing with this type of situations require extreme professionalism and problem solving skills. If it is an ethical dilemma never compromise your ethics. You can meet your supervisor and express your discomfort. This is the most professional way to deal with this situation.
You can also mention your relationship with your previous supervisor.
9. Did you ever feel like your ethics are being challenged? How did you handle it?
This question is to check whether you have a strong ethical base. You better have an example ready for this question or your answer can represent you in a negative way. Focus on your ability to stay poised in difficult situation.
10. Why should we hire you?
This is the most cliché and commonly asked question in any interview. Almost every candidate faces this question. You should maintain your confidence and humility while answering this question. You can mention some of your extraordinary qualities and experience benefits. Avoid sounding too conceited.
11. How would you describe yourself?
This is the question where you can highlight all your pros to grab your job. You can mention your passion towards job, your knowledge related to the field, etc
E.g. I’m very passionate and have very strong interest in being a occupational therapist. I also have previous experience in this field that helped me gain better knowledge and excel my decision making and problem solving skills. I can adapt well to any situations any give better patient treatment.
12. What are you professional goals?
A potential recruiter will always want to know your career goals. You have to be discreet while answering this. You can focus on how career growth is important for you and convience the employer that this job fits right into your five year plan.
13. What is your greatest weakness?
This question is to embrace the fact that no person is perfect. You should mention your weaknesses and also share the ways that you are trying to overcome that weakness. You can mention your time management issue, trust issues or any other issues that are obstacles in your progress.
E.g. As I am a fresher for this job, I was resistant to take on extra responsibility of leadership and management. I think that is my greatest weakness and an obstacle in the way of my progress. I have realised this weakness and now I’m trying my best to overcome that by embracing any extra responsibilities.
14. What is your greatest strengths?
You can mention your clinical reasoning skills and critical thinking skills. You can also mention any extra degree or course you did that will help you have an edge over others.
15. How will you deal with confidentiality issue?
Doctor-patient privilege is very important aspect of the job. You can tell how important it is to make the patient trust them. You can assure your strong ethical grounds and that you will never break the privilege by sharing any personal information of any patient.
16. What makes a good OT?
This is to find out your idea of a good occupational therapist. You can mention qualities that a person should imbibe to be an OT. You can highlight the importance of having good clinical, communication, decision making, problem solving skills.
17. Does any particular type of patient interest you more than others?
This is a tricky question. Never try to answer in a way that will make you look insensitive and immature. Try to show that you are unbiased while treating any type of patient. However you can mention any of your favourite or memorable therapy sessions to show your interests.
18. What do you know about or what are your opinions about our hospital or facility?
This question is to check whether you know anything about the place where you wish to work. This can highlight your seriousness towards job. Better research about the hospital/facility before going to this interview. Mention any testimonials from any of your known employees that prove a great working environment at the place.
19. Do you have any effective methods to determine patient’s rehabilitation goals?
The answer to this question should focus on you symptom navigating skills, decision making skills. You can also give example any particular therapy required for any particular problem and how you will implement it.
20. What is your opinion on how an occupational therapy team should function?
Sometimes you will have to work in a team of OTs. This question will check your team spirit and cooperative skills. Make sure you showcase your required qualities by sharing any experience. You can also focus on your leadership skills.
21. Do you have any questions for us?
This the ultimate question that is asked during an interview. It is the best chance to sum up all the previous discussions and highlight your adaptability, flexibility, disciplined behaviour and entrepreneurship that will prove to be an asset for this hospital/facility.
Download the list of questions in .PDF format, to practice with them later, or to use them on your interview template (if you want to crack Interview):
Being an occupational therapist you will have to adapt to many difficult situations. You will also have to face difficult patients without compromising your ethics and professionalism. Having great personality, interpersonal and communication skills is very important for this job. Sometimes you even have to show extreme optimism when your suggested path or treatment shows low results. So having positive outlook and capacity to handle stress and criticism are also a critical part of this job. TR to enhance your qualities in every possible way to get this job.