3 Ways to Stand Out During a Physical Therapist Job Interview

By Tim Fraticelli, Guest Author
Medical professionals pose in a clinic

Regardless of your years of experience, sitting down for a job interview can be intimidating. To stand out and leave a great impression, many jobseekers start by reading a few articles on job interviewing tips to get a solid grasp on the basics.  

But for those who really want to maximize their chances of receiving a job offer, these three job interview tips are critical:

 

1. Bring Data

Image of a line graph over a bar chart

 

Use your resume to draw out questions that dive deeper into your strengths.  It’s even better if you can tie in a measurable achievement like increased revenue or elevated patient volume.

Here’s an example of how a new graduate can use data like this to stand out during an interview:

Resume bullet point: “Increased caseload volume 10% after creating flexible schedule system that can be replicated by future students.”

Every student may remark on the “full caseload” status during their clinical rotations. If you can share the scheduling strategies you used to grow your caseload, you’ll stand out as someone who is creative and resourceful.  Draw out their questions with the data and impress them with the creative ideas behind the results.

Here’s another example:

Resume bullet point: “Boosted clinic revenue 8% in one quarter after delivering in-service presentation on proper documentation of CPT codes.”

Any hiring manager is going to look at this point and immediately ask more questions about the results.  You’ll impress the interviewing team by knowing your numbers and talking through the challenges and successes of rolling out a new process you recommended with your inservice presentation.  

This does take some extra work on your part to keep track of the data.  The example above is a personal one and required a lot of work to organize the data and to convince the team to be more mindful in their documentation practices.  By creating templates for therapy documentation examples and “best practices” guides, the therapists were able to learn how to document effectively and increase revenues by 8% that quarter!

 

2. Keep the Conversation Two-Sided

Two professionals having a conversation

 

During an interview, it’s natural to feel nervous and simply wait for the next question.  Yes, the interviewing team is interested in learning more about you, but try to avoid the one-way conversations that focus solely on your strengths.  This is what an average interviewee might do, and you’re not average!


Pro Tip: To make the interview more conversational, try to naturally ask questions between the questions they ask you.  Practice follow up questions that relate to the answer you just provided. 


Here’s an example of how you might redirect your answer into a question back to them: “I’d consider those to be my top strengths, and I’m curious, how are other therapists using their non-clinical strengths to support the clinic?”

When you make the interview more conversational, you can put the interviewer at ease.  This is a huge win because a two-way conversation creates a connection that can quickly build a sense of trust, even if you’ve only just met!

 

3. Ask Questions

Group of eager professionals with one ready to ask a question

 

One thing you can always expect to hear toward the end of an interview is “Do you have any questions for us?”

Even if you were very conversational during the interview, you need to prepare 3 to 5 additional questions beforehand to ask them at the end.  This may sound like a lot, but there’s a good chance that a couple of your questions will have been addressed during the interview.


Pro Tip: Write down your interview questions because it can be easy to freeze up when someone asks this question at the end of an interview.


Here are a couple great questions that will give you a lot of insight into the clinic and help you stand out as someone who comes prepared with well thought-out questions.

  • What are your biggest goals for the clinic this year?  Are they interested in growth or expansion into a new part of town? Do they want to invite students to rotate with the therapists? This question is a great way for you to draw out key information that will help you decide whether you want to join the team.
  • How long have you been with the clinic? How about the other therapists? This question gives you so much insight about the turnover and is the perfect opportunity to ask why they think it’s the case. The clinic may have a really high turnover or may have a very low turnover rate.  Regardless, it’s valuable info for you and is an intelligent question to ask the interviewer.

With a little preparation, you can use these questions and interview strategies to stand out from the other applicants who want the job as well.

Now that you’ve made a positive first impression during your interview, be sure to continue the trend by sending a great interview follow up note.

 

Tim Fraticelli is a Physical Therapist and founder of PTProgress.com, a resource to help clinicians advance in their careers and find success in their work. After working as an MBA in Finance, he completed his DPT from Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 2016. He continues to practice as an outpatient PT on a part-time basis and enjoys writing and creating resources for therapists through PTProgress.

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