5 best ways to prepare for an interview for a speech pathologist position

As an employer, it always fascinates me how people approach interview preparation differently.
One thing that is certain, you can always tell the ones who have tried to “wing it” and perhaps would have benefitted from better preparation techniques.

So, I have interviewed my team who have a wide range of interview experiences with the government and private sectors and want to share the top 5 ways to prepare so you can feel confident that you have given it your best shot!

1. Research the company

This goes without saying, however when you are applying for positions at several companies it can become confusing. Open your notes app on your phone (so you can always quickly review while waiting to be called in for your interview) and create a new note for each company.

Look at the job description and find out:

  • What age range they service
  • What communication conditions they assess and treat
  • What professional development (PD) package do they offer

Look at their website and find out:

  • Company purpose, mission, vision and values
  • What geographical locations are serviced by the company
  • Who is the head of the speech pathology department
  • Who are the clinical supervisors
  • How many therapists are on the team

Look at their social media and find out:

  • Does their social media reflect the values and team culture that are described on the website?
  • What type of information do they share on social media?

2. Where are the gaps

If you aren’t able to find the answers to any of the above questions, these are great questions that you can ask the interviewers when you are asked “Do you have any questions for us?”. Be sure to make reference to the research you have done. For example, say something like “When I was researching your company, I was reviewing your website but I wasn’t able to work out who on the team were clinical supervisors. Could you tell me more about the clinical supervisors in your company and how clinical supervision is provided on a week to week basis?”

3. Write out answers to clinical questions that you think you may be asked

You can work out some possible clinical questions that may be asked based on the ages and conditions of clients who are serviced by that company. For example, if it is a government agency that services schools, write out possible questions relating to developmental language disorder (DLD) and the school aged child such as the signs and symptoms of children with DLD, or the different assessments used to help diagnose DLD.

Also, remember how you were to research the information shared on social media? Well, this gives you a good insight into information that that company values so much it wants to share it with its clientele. Makes sense to brush up on your clinical knowledge of these topics then, doesn’t it!

4. Draw on your own experiences

Anyone can recite theory and reproduce it in an interview but to make you REALLY STICK OUT from all the other applicants, draw on your own experiences, even if that is simply talking about specific examples from your university placements.

This shows how you integrate your learnings and makes your answers so much more genuine. Also, it is easier to recall your practiced answers when you can match them with a real-life client whom you have helped.

5. Teamwork, problem-solving, strengths and weaknesses

Most interviews will also include questions relating to teamwork and problem-solving so it is best to write out some answers to practice questions relating to these topics. Use personal examples of HOW you have been a team player or HOW you were able to solve a problem. Be able to describe what the consequences of your actions were. This demonstrates great reflection and insight – two very desirable qualities of a team member!

Some companies may want to know more about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to fob these questions off by saying you have too many strengths to name or you simply don’t have any weaknesses.

If you are not sure of the answers to these questions, ask those closest to you.

Also expand on how you re aware of your weaknesses and name some strategies that you are actively practising to help you overcome them.

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