Preparing for the interview

This is the second blog in a series of three in which we walk through the steps of the interview process. From the previous blog, applying for a job, to this one preparing for the interview and finally next month your performance at the interview.

Great news!

Your application form was shortlisted and you have been invited for interview.

So we are preparing for the interview for your new job as an occupational therapist. The first thing we need to think about is the client. Who will be you will 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?

First of all from 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?

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 in….eg the RCOT (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) Briefing Paper..’ is valuable and shows you have done your homework.
Some interviews can 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. Try and take some pressure of yourself with some positive self talk. Think about a short and sharp presentation, include some of the info 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. Let the interviewers 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 you 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 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.

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About Margaret Spencer

For the kind of collaborative supervision you have always wanted. Are you are passionate and enthusiastic about occupational therapy? Are you working in the NHS, third sector, independently or for a private company? Would you like your supervision to enhance, and develop your professional practice? If you answer yes to any of the above I would love to hear from you. Have a look at my website to see where we could work together. I have supported many occupational therapists in developing a service from scratch,. I have worked with OT's to design training packages for support staff in older adult falls services, I continually carriy out audits in psychiatric intensive care units, and learning disabilities forensic services. On behalf of commissioners I have completed service reviews in learning disabilities from 2002 onwards. I complete individual HCPC audits with OT staff in many different clinical areas, am involved in yearly appraisals, and monthly supervision sessions. I also critique, design and write job descriptions. I shortlist and interview for all levels of OT post from Band 5-8. What ever your needs I can support you.

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