Recovering from an injury or a serious illness, many people need to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation in order to regain their full range of movement, or to improve the functionality of certain body organs. Since a therapy isn’t cheap, and it has become more sophisticated over the years (with various tools and exercising equipment), therapists rarely work alone.

They have their aides, who help with transporting patients and preparing them for treatment, setting up and cleaning treatment rooms, taking care of paperwork, and with other duties, so the therapist can focus fully on their work with each patient. The job has low entry requirements, and you can get it without previous experience in the field. But you’ll have to pass a face to face interview, and we will have a look it right now.

Before looking at the questions, I want you to remember two core principles. First one, your attitude matters much more than experience in this case. Your duties won’t be difficult, and you can learn them on the job easily. But they are always looking for someone hardworking and motivated, and someone who sees a meaningful purpose in this work. Second one, personal preferences play a big role in this interview. In every setting, an aide spends considerable time with the therapist, and logically they will choose someone they feel good around and can imagine talking to and working with on a daily basis. Keep this on your mind while preparing for the interview, and let’s move to the questions!

 

Why do you want to work as a rehab aide?

You can start with emphasizing the meaningful purpose of the job. Perhaps you always wanted to work in healthcare, in one way or another, but wasn’t lucky enough to earn a degree (yet), or simply took a different direction in life. As a rehab aide you can help patients regain their fitness after a surgery or a serious illness, because every staff member is important and plays their role. Said in another words, you prefer a job of a rehabilitation aide to a job of library aide, or office aide, etc.

You can also point out that you have the skills and fitting personality for the job. Excellent communication and teamwork skills, patience and empathy with the patients, physical strengths and stamina for lifting and moving immobile patients, and so on. Considering everything, the job of a rehab aide seems like an excellent match to you.

Do you have any clerical experience?

In most places you will do the paperwork, and may even respond for basic bookkeeping. That’s why it is good to mention any administrative or office roles you had in the past, or basically any jobs in which you worked with papers, did some data entry, worked with MS Office, and so on.

And if this is your first job application in the field, ensure them that you have excellent computer skills in general, and are a quick learner, and without a doubt you’ll learn to take care of the paperwork and administrative duties in a short time. You may also answer phone calls and take care of appointments scheduling, and they may ask about these duties. The principle remains the same however–either you did it before, and know how to do it, or you have confidence in your ability to handle such tasks, and quickly learn anything you may have to learn in order to perform your job.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in your work of a rehabilitation aide?

The key is to show proactive approach to work. You can either list the duties from job description, ranging from transporting immobile patients to cleaning the therapy room and responding to phone calls and emails (read the job description before the interview to make sure to show realistic expectations).

Another alternative is summarizing your mission in a single sentence, saying that you imagine taking care of a variety of clerical and other tasks while making sure that the therapist can focus on the core of their job, instead of taking care of paperwork, patient transportation, answering incoming calls, etc. One way or another, ensure them that you imagine having your hands full, and are looking forward to your days at work.

 

You may sometimes need to lift heavy patients from beds, helping them to a wheelchair. Do you feel physically fit to handle such tasks?

As I’ve already said, you should show confidence in your ability to handle the job. Now it doesn’t mean that you have to weight 200 pounds and have a muscular stature. Many diminutive women are excellent rehabilitation aides, simply because they know how to work with the patients and with various tools that help them lift them in the hospital, as well as laws of physics (such as a lever, for example). That’s something you can refer to if you do not look like someone who can help a 300 pounds heavy cardiac get up from bed.

You can also refer to your past experience at this point. Perhaps you had a job in which you had to lift heavy weights, or you spend a lot of time in the gym, or whatever. Anything that helps to demonstrate that you do not mind such physical work is a good example.

 

Phone rings, someone knocks on the door, there’s a liquid spilled on a floor, and a patient waits for you to help them get to the treatment room. How will you react in such a situation?

You may realistically face such a situation, or a similar one, when two or more people demand your attention at once. Ensure the interviewer that you can prioritize your work, and won’t start panicking in similar situations. Of course, what exactly you do first, second, third, etc, depends on the exact situation they inquire about. In the one from my question, I’d suggest the following:

  1. You pick up the phone, and try to address it quickly. If you cannot handle the phone call within 30 seconds, you will ask the person for patience or tell them that you’ll call them back in ten minutes.
  2. Then you will answer the knock on the door–most likely the person is still there, and they can certainly wait longer than the person on the phone. You will apologize them for having to wait, and again try to address their request promptly.
  3. Just then will you take the cleaning rag and quickly wipe the liquid from the floor.
  4. Working with great efficiency, you managed to do all three tasks in one minute, and can proceed with helping the patient getting to the treatment room…

 

Five other questions you may face in your rehabilitation aide job interview

  • Imagine that one of the patients accuses of rough treatment. How will you react?
  • How do you feel about taking care of some clinical duties as well?
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to someone (a colleague, a patient). What did you do to eventually get your message over?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What do you expect from the therapist you work with?

 

Final thoughts

A typical interview for a job of a rehab aide isn’t difficult, at least once you prepare for it in advance, and think about your interview answers for a while. It can happen though that you compete for the job with many other candidates, especially nowadays, when many people lost their jobs in the pandemic.

In such a case it is pivotal to make a good connection with your interviewers, especially if it goes about the therapist you will work with. Keep it on your mind, try to speak openly, maintain eye contact, ask questions, and show honest interest in their practice and professional career… I hope you will succeed, and wish you good luck in your interview!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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