It's obvious your not an Autopsy Assistant for the long hours, odd smells and heavy lifting. Tell the interviewer that you love all things scientific and medical and have an aptitude for research.
"I've been an Autopsy Assistant for three years and have learned so much. It offers a mix of short-term projects and long-term goals. My organizational skills allow me to successfully multi-task and complete both kinds of projects and be successful."
"I'm currently working on my degree in forensic psychology and feel that this is a great stepping stone and experience to gain for my long-term goals of becoming a forensic psychologist."
This is a great question to be able to walk the interviewer through a day in your shoes. Tell the interviewer that you perform full-body assessments with the attending physician by examining, describing and recording external identification marks of the deceased body such as height, weight, hair and eye color, scars, deformations, blemishes, etc. You work well as a team to get the job done quickly as you are on a short timeline.
"The first thing I do in order to start a full body examination is to put on my PPE. I weigh and measure the body, noting the subject's clothing, valuables, and patient characteristics for my report."
As an Autopsy Assistant, you assist the Physician with proper collection and storage of body fluids for chemical tests, the retrieval of appropriate tissues for specific tests and the removal of foreign bodies and material for evidentiary purposes with the maintenance of chain of custody and delivery to law enforcement officials and other proper authorities.
"I'm very meticulous and take my time collecting foreign material for evidentiary purposes. I take pride in cleaning and restoring the body to its former state of integrity."
"Hair, clothes fibers, and body fluids may be some of the easier items to remove. To remove foreign bodies that I can't easily see, I utilize an x-ray to locate the item to retrieve it."
As an Autopsy Assistant your job is to X-rays human remains, develops X-ray film, photographs human remains and take fingerprints. If you are new to the career field and you have yet to get a lot of experience just let the interviewer know that you are ready for the challenge.
"Taking the required x-rays are my specialty because I always get my shot and am able to develop the film quickly."
"For the last year, I've been taking and developing x-rays for the exams. Prior to my current role, we had a radiologist that assisted us during autopsies. I was fortunate enough to learn from him and get certified."
The interviewer is asking this question to hear positive impacts you've made at your last job. Tell the interviewer that you were punctual, never called out sick and were dependable. Think of the traits that make an ideal employee in the eyes of a boss. Added bonus if your boss will write a letter of recommendation for you.
" My boss would describe me as a hard worker, motivated and consistent. I always strive to exceed expectations when I can, and I feel like I've done a good job following through by meeting deadlines and completing projects as they were assigned."
"My last supervisor would describe me as having the immense desire to succeed, my passion of solving intricate problems and resolve complex issues, and that my positive attitude has a positive impact it has on the rest of my team members."
As an Autopsy Assistant, you've found ways to keep work at work and not take it home with you. Tell the interviewer about your immunity to certain situations such as people riding motorcycles without a helmet, failure to wear seatbelts, and various other things that can be avoided. Death is never easy but as a professional, you are able to look at situations and not let them affect you.
"No. My work doesn’t affect my personal life simply because I don’t allow it. When my day is over, it stays there until the next day but I wouldn’t be human to say that some cases didn’t creep into my thoughts."
"I don't allow work to affect my personal life because I encourage an effective and positive work environment. I'm part of a strong team and because we all work well together and share the load I don't bring work home with me each night."
When answering this question make sure that you are brief. Keep this answer to 30-45 seconds or you will lose the interviewers attention very quickly. Remember, ‘tell me about yourself’ doesn’t mean they want your life story. Summarize your skills and experience in a way that make you stand out and show why you are the best person for the job.
"My name is Heather Smith. I am an Autopsy Assistant with a Biology degree. My qualifications include four years of experience working for the State Health and Welfare Department."
"I would describe myself as outgoing, a fast learner and detail oriented."
The interviewer is asking you this question because they want to make sure you are reliable and dependable. Can they count on you to show up to work on time? If you are proud of your attendance record, go ahead and name drop your last supervisor so they can vouch for your perfect or near perfect attendance.
"I've never been reprimanded for my attendance but I have been late before. I'm always sure to give my boss a courtesy call if I'm going to be a few minutes late."
Do some research on the hospital or clinic that you are interviewing with. Check out their website, talk with the local community and professionals working at the location. You do not need to be an expert but showing some knowledge lets the recruiter or interviewer know that you are committed to finding a great position.
"A friend of mine that works for your hospital suggested that I apply for this position. She told me about your company culture and how much you value your employees. I researched and read that your department won a Annual Award last year. I'd like to work in a world-class hospital such as yours."
"I know that your department is one of the busiest in the state of Georgia. I look forward to the fast pace, challenge, and learning that a large facility can provide."
If you are still employed, show that you are respectful of your employer. This shows you care about your work and that you're not the type of person who would quit as soon as something better comes your way.
"I'd love to start immediately, but I need to give my two weeks notice. How does this work for you?"
"As you can see by my resume, I've been out of the job market volunteering for the past 3 months. I can start as early as tomorrow if you'd like!"
Interviewers are always looking for the candidate with the best potential to mold and grow within their company. The interviewer wants to know if you think or plan for the future. This role as an Autopsy Assistant requires strategy and goal-setting. Tell the interviewer what long term goals you have set for your career.
"I look forward to learning new skills and experiences from the attending physician. I'm eager to further my career by studying alongside my coworkers and becoming an all round expert and progress to a management position."
"I'd like to be here in a leadership position."
This question is asked in a way that it requires a yes or no answer, but don’t just say yes. The interviewer is looking for you to describe situations where you have worked under pressure and had to meet deadlines that you had no control over.
"I believe my ability to communicate effectively with my colleagues during these moments helps reduce my own stress during stressful situations. Effective communication allows me to work under pressure without getting discouraged, burnt out or make mistakes."
Show your success, self-confidence, and preparation when answering this question. Simply matching your skills to the requirements in the job description can be an easy way to answer this question. Don't make it about you, make it about how you will benefit the company.
"I believe that I will be successful in this position because I have had the opportunity to see all different types of cases and situations allowing me to get a lot of hands on training and learn so much over these past 3 years. I look forward to growing with the company and learning from the other staff."
"I would bring unique volunteer experience to this position. I was a Red Cross Volunteer for FEMA assisting in their mortuary affairs department during my last year of school. I was able to learn how to work during mass casualties during extreme situations."
The fact that the snack machine stocks Payday bars are pretty awesome....but in this case, the interviewer wants to know what makes you get up each morning ready to better yourself professionally. Tell the interviewer if you work with a great group of medical professionals, the fact that you are pushed to make decisions or that you feel you are respected and well liked by your co-workers.
"The one thing I love about my job is that every day is different. Each day brings new challenges and learning experiences."
"I love the people I work with. Everyone has a great sense of humor, professional and is very helpful."
Besides spending the day in the morgue the morning after you watch a horror movie, we hope nothing at works makes you too uncomfortable. This question can also be considered a 'weakness' question. Tell the interviewer if working in large groups makes you uncomfortable, public speaking or performing examinations on children. Whatever your discomfort be sure to tell the interviewer that you are working on making the issue more manageable.
"Speaking in public in front of large crowds makes me uncomfortable. For whatever reason, I seem to freeze up despite the hours of work I've put into my speech. I've been working on presenting my findings to groups of 5 or more to help me with my fear. So far so good, my intentions are to work up to groups of 10 next week."
"Working on children after traumatic situations always pull at my heartstrings. I work with a great group of people that are always willing to talk through difficult cases so I'm able to keep my composure and professionalism."
You may despise your last supervisor but now is not the time to spill the beans. Word travels fast, especially negativity, so keep this answer upbeat. Tell the interviewer if you didn't see eye to eye with your last supervisor but that you respected and learned from them.
"In my career, I have had many different supervisors with different leadership styles. I did have one supervisor in the past that was new to being a supervisor. We may not have seen see eye to eye on everything but because of those differences we challenged each other and worked really well together."
"If I've ever had difficulty with a Supervisor I've been sure to address it professionally as soon as possible."
Now is not the time to tell the interviewer that you are a one man show and only comfortable working on your own. Tell the interviewer the different work personalities you've worked with and how you all worked well as a team. Not only can you work in the morgue but you work off site at a crime scene. Every day is different and you look forward to the new situations in the new job.
"The majority of my job is spent in the morgue with just a few other colleagues. Some days my scenery changes as well as the cases. The one thing I love about my job is that no two days are the same."
"I would bring a wide variety of experience to this position. I have been trained by the Military, I've worked for the state, I've volunteered with FEMA and have also worked for a small mom and pop establishment."
Your patients may not be going anywhere but you still need to make quick important decisions at the workplace. Tell the interviewer if you make quick decisions in regards to their examinations, when and who to contact during your short notice examination or how you've handled situations when you are the only one on shift.
"I've had to make quick decisions in regards to improvising when certain tools were not at my fingertips."
Assure the interviewer that you are able to manage schedule changes and other unforeseen circumstances that may impact your day as an Autopsy Assistant. Tell the interviewer how you handle a high patient volume, a staff member being out sick or when you seem to need to be in two places at once.
"When my day unravels a bit due to unforeseen circumstances, I will take a minute to reassess my priorities. To ensure that I am not taken off schedule too much I'll ask for assistance."
"Death is never planned. When we have a full caseload it can be difficult to find the time to squeeze in another case. Because my team and I have great time management skills, we are able to discuss our schedule and re-prioritize if needed."
Working within the medical career field you are trusted with sensitive information each day. Don't fall into this trap and answer this question with a story containing confidential information, people will view your answer negatively and view you as not being trustworthy. If you choose to tell about a situation be sure to be vague and not use names or too many details.
"I'm trusted with confidential information every day. I make a point to leave my work at work and not discuss patients outside of the office. By not discussing confidential information about the patients I'm ensuring that I'm not breaking any rules and giving information to those that are not on a need to know basis."
"When I meet with family members of the deceased I keep the patient's information confidential."
Skip repeating what is on your resume, the interviewer wants to know something unique about you that they aren't going to read on your resume. Tell the interviewer about a skill that isn't typical of an Autopsy Assistant or a characteristic you have that is important to the job.
"I'm a problem solver, motivated and am able to perform under pressure while keeping a positive attitude."
"I've been in the field for 10 years and have had the opportunity to work in large and small facilities. I've been working as the lead Assistant in my last position and look forward to the opportunity to mentor new assistants in this position."
When answering this question, think about what you bring to the table that others may not. Think your skills or qualities that make you valuable to the team. Struggling to come up with your best asset? Think about the common praises you received in past performance reviews, or ask a respected colleague for their opinion.
"My best asset is my ability to pick things up quickly. I'm a hands on learner and learn by just jumping in and figuring it out."
"My best asset is my ability to work with all types of people."
This is a pretty emotional question and will definitely show the interviewer your passion in the career field. There will always be certain situations or types of patients that will be hard for you to work on. You're human so don't be afraid to show your sensitive side.
"The most difficult part of my job is seeing the people who die innocently. Ones who had no say about the end result and pass as a result of someone else’s actions."
"The hardest thing about being an Autopsy Assistant can be the aroma at times. After years of working within the career, I don't seem to notice it much but there are days that it takes me a bit to get used to it."
Be sure to go into the interview with both a professional achievement and a personal achievement. If your interviewer seems to be a rule driven, nose down to the questions type of interviewer stick with a professional accomplishment. If your interviewer has asked a few laid back questions with the intent to get to you feel free to answer with a personal achievement.
"My biggest achievement has yet to come. I'm always looking to achieve more tomorrow than I did today and am striving to improve myself all the time."
"One of my greatest accomplishments has been learning how to set up the cutting station for extended neuropathologic examination and other extended examinations so quickly. My supervisor knows they can count on me when we have a tight deadline."
This can be a tricky question to respond to if you suggest you have no weaknesses, you don't want to appear to the interviewer as a lair or egotistical. Respond realistically by mentioning small work related weaknesses. Small work related weaknesses can be improved upon and that could be the way you put a positive spin on your weakness.
"I feel that my leadership skills could be stronger and I am currently working to improve them."
"A weakness of mine is drawing blood from a corpse. Because veins have collapsed and are pretty much non-existent it can be a challenge for me. I'm working to get better at the task by insisting that I draw for each patient we have on the table. My boss has been very accommodating and I'm getting better at it every day."
No one likes confrontation but sometimes it is necessary. When working in the lab, having tension between co-workers can make an uncomfortable environment. Tell the interviewer if you have ever faced such challenge. When telling your story to be sure not to name names or give too many details.
"There have been times that my coworkers and I have had miscommunication. We've been able to sort out our issues by talking it out and coming to an agreement together."
"I would solve a personal conflict with a co-worker by inviting them to lunch or coffee to discuss the situation face to face away from the office. I've found that being away from the environment that the conflict happened makes it easier to come to a solution."
As an Autopsy Assistant you work along side the pathologist before, during, and after an autopsy. Your duties include: Accepting bodies into the morgue, contacting relatives of the deceased, preparing toe tags, assists with evidence collection at crime scenes and transfers bodies to funeral homes. As an Autopsy Assistant you may also handle clerical duties involved in the autopsy process. You label folders, fill out autopsy forms, create diagrams if necessary, prepare and label specimen containers and maintain files on the bodies you and your colleagues examine.
As an Autopsy Assistant you'll find that laboratory science and writing can help you learn how to organize and write scientific reports that come along with the job. Good speaking skills are important in this field as you'll be interacting with medical professionals and family members. Knowing how to use surgical instruments will help you succeed as will knowing what and where organs are in the body will come in handy when working within the job.
As an Autopsy Assistant you may come into contact with water, liquid, blood and other body fluids. You'll need to be confident during your interview to assure the interviewer that the duties of the job aren't challenging. Let the interviewer know that you can stand for long periods of time, be able to lift and carry upwards of 200 pounds and be able to stay calm during an emergency or crisis. Let the interviewer know if you can work a flexible schedule.