4.04.2017

slp interview/job search tips.



Hi friends, long time no see! This whole blog thing has taken a back seat due to life being crazy so to all my loyal followers, I'm sorry!! I'll post randomly throughout the years, but it definitely will not be as often as I used to. Hopefully you all will understand! 

With that being said, a lot has happened since the last post. Let me start from the beginning. 

As many of you know, I went to college for speech-language pathology. You can see what exactly that is here. 

Well, through that major you have to go through 2 externships - one school based and one medically based. I have accomplished both of those and I am now graduating this May and finally getting the degree I worked for so hard! 

So, since graduation is coming up, the past few months have been filled with job searching. When going to interviews and looking for jobs I turned to, what everyone does, the internet for some advice. Unfortunately I did not find as much information as I would have liked, so I kind of had to figure it out on my own. So, through all of those experiences I went through, I learned what exactly to expect when job-searching. I figured I would share it for you upcoming graduates as well, because I'm sure you are all somewhat freaking out like the Type A people us SLPs are. 

Lets begin with the job search. I began looking at jobs the beginning of my last externship, in January. I didn't apply, I just started looking on indeed and monster. I set up my resume and finalized it and just tried to get everything ready to go for when I was ready to apply. I began actually applying to jobs beginning in Mid-febuary. I applied to the jobs that I found in my location on those previous named job search websites. I focused my search on hospitals, private practices, and SNFs. Then after I applied to those places I did a quick google-search and compiled a list of numbers of all the SNF's and private practices in my area and called them to see if they had any openings. 

A lot of places I did not hear back from, some I heard back right away, some have contacted me later on, you really cannot tell when exactly or if you will get contacted just because you apply. I think that often if you apply on those job-search websites that they are just left on there after already accepting an applicant or they are just trying to get information to potentially contact you later on when they actually need a speech therapist. 

It is worth your while to call places though. I found 3 places that were not listed online through calling them, one of them I will be working part time for now. It pays off to be thorough. 

So, through all of that, I had a total of 10 interviews at 6 different facilities before I started cutting off the requests for interviews. Which had to happen. Believe me guys, you do not have to worry about getting a job, I promise. They need you way more than you need them.

I interviewed at 2 big hospitals, 2 SNF's, 1 autism center, and 1 Private Practice/First steps agency. If you are interested in info about schools, I'm sorry I can't help much in that aspect. 

So, I will lay it out in the order the interviews came. 

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Hospital #1: First I interviewed at a big hospital where I live. I applied online, they contacted me in 3 days, I had an interview the next week. The first interview was very nerve racking, I thought they were going to ask me case scenario questions, like "How would you informally assess a right hemisphere CVA?" or "What steps would you take if you were presented with x and the client was y?" You know, stuff like you read on the Praxis. I was mistaken. There were really no specific questions like that. It was basically questions as to how I handled certain situations in the past (i.e. has anyone ever disagreed with you? how have you handled it?, have you worked with other professionals?, what are you specific experiences?, etc) So much easier than I thought it would be. Granted, it was still not the easiest interview, but still much easier than expected. 

So, after that initial interview they called me back for another interview. Yay! The second interview just consisted of my shadowing the SLP that would be my supervisor. She just showed me around and let me follow her for 3 hours, just to see what a day was like at that hospital. No questions were really asked, she was just getting a feel for who I was. Super simple. 

SNF #1: My second interview was at a really big SNF in the area. They had 180 beds, 4 dining halls, 4 cats, 1 dog, it was just overall huge. I got there, filled out a paper application (which I thought was a little silly since I had already filled out all that information online, but whatever I did it) and then met with the rehab manager. She took me on a tour of the facility. It had long term care, rehab, a locked memory unit, skilled nursing, assisted living, everything. I'm telling you it was huge. I got lost really quickly while I was there just due to it being so big. After the initial tour, she then took me back to her office and just asked the basic "tell me about yourself question" and "what are your experiences." Nothing crazy, way easier than the first interview. She then asked if I had questions and, I of course, had a lot. So basically it was like I was interviewing her. I thanked her at the end and was on my way. 

SNF #2: So, it was really nice seeing two separate SNFs so I could compare then. The second one I interviewed for was much smaller, only 70 beds and it seemed overall much more chill. Which I thought was super important. I couldn't justify accepting a position at a SNF that had 180 beds with one SLP when there is one that only has 70 beds and that SLP is busy 40 hours a week. I just felt that compared to the first SNF, this one would have been much more chill and I wouldn't be as stressed out working there. This interview was much like the other SNF interview. Went on a tour, back to the office, asked about my experiences, then asked if I had questions. Super simple. PLEASE if you are interviewing at a SNF don't worry at all. They just really need someone so they don't really ask specific questions. I also saw a puppy at this interview so that was also a win for this SNF. 

Private Practice/First Steps: This interview is was for a hybrid type of facility. The provided both first steps (birth to 3) services and services at a private practice. This is one of the places that I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't called around the area. So, the first interview I had with them was a phone interview because I had taken off so many days for interviews for my externship I thought it'd just be easier to do it over lunch so I wouldn't have to worry about taking off more work. I fell in love with this interviewer. She was so sweet and understanding and I could really tell her passion for these young children. She asked my basic questions, tell me about yourself and your experiences, etc. Again, just trying to get a full understanding of who I am. This was just as easy as the other interviews, if not easier. She explained how first steps works and the positives and negatives of working there. She was an open book, which I really appreciated. We ended the phone call and I was then called for a second interview with the woman who would be my CF supervisor. 

For the second interview, I met with my potential CF supervisor at the private practice. This was super simple, she just wanted to meet me and get to know me a little bit. Super easy. Nothing difficult at all, she just gave me information on how the job will go etc etc. 

Autism Center: I was primarily interested in this facility just for the mere fact that I could potentially do feeding therapy, which is my ultimate career goal. They took me on a tour and then I went to a board meeting with 3 women. I must say it was a little intimidating, but that's okay. In the back of my head I knew I wasn't going to accept this position so I didn't worry about it as much. I just wanted to keep my options open and I knew right away when I toured the facility and they told me more about it that this center was not the place for me. They asked about my experiences, nothing specific. Pretty simple. 

Hospital #2: This interview was at the hospital that I completed my externship in so I was much more comfortable interviewing here as opposed to the previous hospital. The first interview I had was with the director of rehab and then the manager of rehab. They asked me questions about my experiences, who I am, etc. Then, the questions got much harder. They asked me specific case scenario questions like "what have you done in the past when you realized something was not ethical" which was difficult for me to ask simply because I was new and I was blessed to have had great supervisors over my schooling. I never really was put in ethical situations. So those questions were tricky.

I then had a second interview with my peers. I was interviewed by 2 other SLPs who went through specific case scenarios (i.e. a parent isn't happy with how you manage behavior during the session, how would you make the parent happy while still getting therapy accomplished? a child comes in with a low grade fever and an occasional cough during feeding therapy, what would you next step be?). These questions were super specific and super intimidating. I tried my best and it seemed to work out. 

THEN - I had one last interview at this hospital with another feeding specialist in the area. She basically just asked me questions as to why I wanted to be an SLP in the feeding/dysphagia field. Why I loved pediatric feeding/dysphagia, etc. It was more like a conversation, which was great because she could truly see my passion for that population. 



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So there we have it. Those were all of the interviews that I completed before I started rejecting interviews. Basically, from what I learned, hospital interviews are much more intense, which is understandable. All of the other interviews seemed pretty chill and just wanted to get an overall feel of who I was as a person and if I was willing to work hard. 

I will tell you, though, each interview I had they asked "Tell me about yourself." When answering this question, please, do not tell them about how you are about to get married, you have a cute dog, etc. Tell them about yourself in the sense of what has led you to applying for that position. 

Additionally, go in being energetic and excited for the opportunity. That's what will make you stand out. Even if you are excited about it, fake it. It's important for future employers to think you are excited and willing to work hard and are passionate. 

We are CF's, they do not expect us to know everything, they just want to know we are willing to put the work in to be a good therapist. I think often, being a CF kind of puts us in a place of power as opposed to those who are more experienced. We are straight out of school, we are young, we are willing to work, and we are passionate. Talk that up as much as you can. 

As for me, I accepted a position at hospital #2 and the first steps place because I have a passion for pediatric feeding and hospital #2 will allow me to be trained by a super knowledgeable woman (which is super important to me as I want to become a specialist down the field in this area, and it is hard to find a good mentor, especially in this area) and the first steps allows me the flexibility to pick up hours whenever I want and I still can work with feeding and the little kiddos, which are my favorite. 

Please, do not rush things and do not accept a job you are not comfortable with just because it's a job. You are worth so much more than what you think, so take your time and go with your gut. It will all work out, it always does. 

I hope this helped you out, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask. I am sure I missed some things, but I tried to keep it as short and to the point as possible! 


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