What will happen in your interview? First and foremost, hiring managers will try to understand two things. Whether you can perform the therapy methods and treatments they use at their rehabilitation center, or healthcare institution. And whether you have the right personality for the job, the right attitude to patients and to physiotherapy work.
How good are your chances in this interview?
Good news is that you will have more chances. Both public and private rehabilitation/physiotherapy centers are being built all around the world right now, and all of them need qualified physical therapists.
That also means that you won’t compete with many other people for the job–it is more the center that will fight for good candidates, for people like you. 🙂 Nevertheless, the better the center and their salary offer, the more applicants you will compete with for a job.
If you want to succeed in your interview in a good rehab center, in a center that does not need to hire just about anyone to have staff onboard, you will have to convince them that you meet the following criteria:
- Degree from physical therapy or ergo therapy (sometimes bachelor’s degree is enough).
- Previous experience (*only if you apply for a job abroad).
- Good knowledge of therapy methods that they use at the center.
- Good communication skills, understanding for the needs of the patients and for the feelings they experience during the therapy.
- Motivation and right attitude to work.
* Check also: Body language in an interview – say the right things without words.
Interview questions and a hint on how to answer each question
Interviewers will use a variety of questions to understand if you meet their requirements.
You should think about each question for a while right now, trying to formulate a good answer to it.
- Why do you want to work as a physical therapist? Focus on your motivation to help the others. Tell them that you enjoy doing what physical therapists do on a daily basis. Speak about your passion for physical therapy, and for the things you can achieve with the patients, helping them to return to their full level of fitness.
- Can you tell me something more about your education? The most important part are the practical subjects. Speak abut your internship or residency–if you went through one of them. Tell them that you enjoyed your education, but can’t wait to start working on the position of a physio.
- Can you tell me something more about your experience? You should mention all therapy methods and treatments you have experience with. If you achieved something great in your last job, for example helping someone to overcome a seemingly hopeless situation (helping them to recover their full range of movement, or fitness), you can narrate this story in an interview. Everyone loves stories, and the HR managers will remember your answer better when it is a story.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Responsibility, attention to detail, and communications skills are a good choice for your strengths. When it comes to weaknesses, you can say that you are sometimes over sympathetic, and struggle to forget your job in your personal life. Alternatively you can pick a weakness that does not matter for physios–weak management skills, lack of computer skills, etc.
- Imagine that a patient accused you of a bad service. What would you do?
- What are the latest trends in physical therapy? Rehab robotics, water therapy, putting emphasis of on mental part of rehabilitation, transitional care, inclusion of proper diet and daily regime as a part of rehab–these are just some of the latest trends. Check your favorite vocational magazine or website to find more recent trends.
- Where do you see yourself in five years time? A great answer is to say that you still want to work as a physio–because that is what you want to do, enjoy doing, and are good at. Alternatively you can say that you want to specialize in certain therapy methods, or you can focus on some goals from your personal life. The main goal is to show them that they can count on you in a long run, that you do not plan to change your career in next five years…
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague in your past job.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job? Here you can do a few things. One of them is betting on humility, saying that you believe other applicants are also skilled and ready to handle the job, and that you’d leave the decision on the interviewers. Humility is a highly-sought quality in today’s employment market, and this answer can do wonders for you… Another alternative is pointing out some skills and strengths, or perhaps your experience that helps you to stand out.
- What are your salary expectations? Physical therapists earn a lot of money. It is one of the best paid jobs in most of the developed countries, and you can be sure you’ll earn more than enough money. For this reason, you should say that the salary is not the deciding factor for you, and that you’ll accept their offer. If they press you and want to hear a number, go for an average salary of physios in your country (this information can be typically found online). For example, in 2018 the average salary for physical therapists in the US was more than $85,000.
- Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for a patient, or for a colleague).
Special Tip: Download the list of questions in a simple, one page long PDF, print it and practice your interview answers anytime later (even offline):
Conclusion, next steps
Speaking from my own experience with recruiting employees for physical therapy centers and hospitals, getting this job can be both easy and difficult.
Some private centers in Arabic countries struggle to attract real talent from Europe, or from the Americas. Therefore they will accept any applicant that meets the basic job requirements and is interested to work for them. If you apply for a job in the Middle East, just relax and enjoy your interview. 🙂
On the other hand, many therapy centers and clinics in Western Europe and in the US are basically flooded with job applications each month. To get a job with them, you will need excellent interview answers, and you will have to stand out with your job application. I strongly suggest you to check all articles below, in order to not underestimate anything, and to get ready for your interview:
- How to overcome interview nerves – You need to be at your very best to ace this interview, and that’s tough to do when you feel anxious. Learn how to overcome your nerves.
- How to dress for your interview – Four rules to consider when choosing clothes to wear for your physical therapy job interview.
- Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to arrange the best possible deal in your interview.
- Behavioral interview questions – Learn how to answer some tough questions that examine your attitude to different situation you’d experience in your new job.