Tell the interviewer how you motivated at work and what keeps you going in your job even on the most difficult days. Tell the interviewer if it is your patients, learning new therapeutic techniques or the team that you work with.
"I am personally motivated by words of encouragement and feedback on my work. If I can leave the office feeling like I did my best, and learned something new, I feel very motivated."
Your answer to this question can be a bit more personal if you wish. Think about what brought you to this career path and talk about that.
"I grew up with a father as an OT and it was always a really intriguing occupation to me. I would go to work with him at his clinic from time to time and always loved to see him help people. I would eventually like to become an OT myself but for now, my role as an OTA is a perfect fit for my lifestyle and it's a fulfilling career."
Fidget tools may be written into the plan for a patient by the Occupational Therapist you are working alongside. Tell the interviewer what tools and therapy techniques you to help your patients keep their hands busy in order to help them maintain focus and attention as well as decrease anxiety.
"I do encourage fidget tools as part of my sensory therapy. The Occupational Therapist that I currently work alongside often integrate chewy tubes and therapy putty in our sessions. I've had many parents comment that my simple suggestion of sending two lego's to school has been benificial."
Talk about your overall education and be sure to list any additional coursework that may be applicable to your career as an OTA. You can also talk about what areas of post-secondary you excelled in.
"I earned my Occupational Therapist Assistant Diploma in 2012 and graduated top of my class. While attending school, I completed my practicum with XYZ Sports Therapy."
The interviewer is asking this question to hear how your career has been fulfilled and on a bad day what keeps you going.
"There are so many aspects of being an OTA that I love - it's difficult to choose. I do think that my favorite part is knowing every day that I have the opportunity to help someone. Creating a connection with our patients that are long-term is also really exciting for me."
Take some time to think about an OT that you worked with previously. What was the best part of the working relationship? Give examples if you can.
"In my current role, I have an excellent working relationship with my OT. She gives me direction at the beginning of the day and reviews the areas that she needed me to step in the most. I always appreciate the constructive feedback so I can become a better assistant."
Having a conflict in the workplace should always be handled professionally and with grace. If the conflict is with an OT, who would be reporting to, that can be an even stickier situation. Reply with a positive answer and do not get wrapped up in detail if you are referring to a specific situation.
"If I were to ever have a disagreement with the OT, I believe that keeping quiet and waiting until the end of the day to discuss the details would be the best method of managing the situation. The OT is often who I report to and I need to do what they require of me, putting feelings aside on the job. I would try to also learn something new from the situation."
There are many areas that you can take your career in occupational therapy. Talk specifically about some areas that are of more interest to you than others. You can make this answer a bit more detailed if you have a personal reason behind it as well.
"I have always wanted to work more with stroke patients. When I was a teenager, my grandfather suffered a stroke and he was in therapy for many months to re-learn many basic functions. The difference that therapist made was incredible and that is what piqued my interest in this line of work to begin with."
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you may have the opportunity to work with various types of patients. From patients that have suffered a stroke, a patient involved in a car accident to an autistic child. If you have not had the opportunity to work with an autistic patient be sure to let the interviewer know but voice your enthusiasm to broaden your career by working in different types of situations with multiple types of patients. If you have worked with autistic patients before, tell the interviewer about your work history. Feel free to share a success story.
"I've had the opportunity to work with a patient over the last year that suffers from sensory issues. I started slowly by introducing her to sounds and colors. We've now advanced to a sensory room where we conduct our session from a beanbag chair and play with glow in the dark toys while music is being played. It's quite exciting to see how much my patients have progressed."
If you are still employed, show that you are respectful by letting the interviewer know that you want to give a two-week notice. 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."
Think about positive traits others use to describe you. Focus on the characteristics that are most valued in the workplace. Explain why your coworkers think you have these traits or an experience that shows off these characteristics. Prepare three examples that you can use in your interview. These examples can also be applied when talking about your strengths, another potential interview question.
"My coworkers say I'm easy to work with because I have a good attitude even when we are really busy."
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, your communication style should be effective. For this answer, you will want to tell the interviewer how you communicate as a healthcare provider as well as an employee. As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you must communicate with patients to gain information, convey critical information and make important decisions. Without effective communication skills, you may not be able to obtain or convey information and cause detrimental effects to your patients. As a team player, your communication style should be direct, honest and collaborative. Share a situation where you had effective communication and what the outcome was.
"My communication style in both my professional life and personal life is to be factual and honest. I've found that this achieves the most effective results."
The correct answer to this question is that you can work under ANY type of supervision style. You wouldn't want to bring up a particular style for fear that the interviewer is the total opposite. Let the interviewer know that you've worked under various types of supervision and you've been successful under all of them.
"I've worked under all types of leadership styles and have been able to work under all of them. I do find that I work best with a supervisor that is confident, hardworking and possesses the same integrity as I do."
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you'll have situations where a patient wasn't improving. Tell the interviewer what steps you would take. Walk the interviewer through the documentation you would make, the plan change you would discuss with the Therapist and the conversation you would have with the patient.
"If I noticed a patient wasn't progressing as planned I would work with the Occupational Therapist to come up with a new plan. I would present it to the patient on their next visit by highlighting the milestones they had met and show where progression had stopped. I would be sure to keep encouraging the patient and confirming that sometimes we hit walls with therapy and change is common."
Think of a time when perhaps a patient or a situation tested your patience. How did you react, and how did you calm yourself down?
"I recall a patient that would constantly complain about her lack of progress yet it was apparent that she was not doing any of the stretches and exercise recommended to her by the OT. This went on for weeks and I had to smile and nod, letting the OT take the lead in convincing her that doing these exercises would help. It's difficult at times to help people in recovery when they don't want to do the work to help themselves. That, in my opinion, takes a lot of patience to deal with."
Some types of treatment can seem invasive. Be sure to disclose to the hiring manager if you have ever come across a type of treatment that has made you uncomfortable but how you worked through it.
"I am comfortable with almost all types of patient treatment. Only once did I find myself uncomfortable, and that was when a patient was receiving electrotherapy. I am more than willing to try again as the experience would be different as I've learned from the last experience."
Interviewers like to see that you spend some of your time giving back to your community or to a group that is close to your heart. It can say a lot about your character. If you haven't volunteered, let the interviewer know that you are anxious to give time back to your community once you find the right opportunity.
"Yes, I currently volunteer for the Kids Cancer Foundation. I have also spent time volunteering at the local animal shelter. I believe in showing care and compassion during my work hours, and outside of them. It's an important part of who I am."
Now that you have your appropriate education to become an OTA, do you have plans to continue that career path as an Occupational Therapist? When you answer this question be sure to let the hiring manager know that you do plan to stay with their particular office or clinic. If you are quite content staying an OTA be sure to follow your answer by stating you hope to work with the company for a long period of time.
"I would like to become an Occupational Therapist in the next five years. I would really like the opportunity to be employed with your clinic long term."
It is absolutely okay to not love every single detail of your job. When answering this question it is best to be specific. You will want to avoid brushing a broad stroke and saying something like 'I dislike documenting' - since that is a huge part of your role as an OTA.
"There are so many aspects of the job that I love so much, and they outweigh any negative. If I could pinpoint one thing, I would say that I disliked administering electrotherapy in the previous clinic I worked at. The equipment was a bit intimidating to me as it was older but I worked through it with the assistance of my Occupational Therapist."
Answer this question by telling the interviewer about one positive thing you brought to your last position. By highlighting an improvement you made you'll make yourself stand out amongst the rest of the candidate.
"In my previous office, I feel that I made things better through my positive attitude and willingness to take on any task. The patients really appreciated my cheerful disposition and my co-workers did as well."
Rather than simply answering 'yes' to this question, be sure to talk a bit about what you do to stay organized and detail oriented. You could also talk about a time when you were complimented by a supervisor or co-worker on these specific attributes.
"I am definitely known to be organized and detail oriented. I stay organized by taking notes and documenting in great detail. In my previous role, my supervisor often complimented me on my ability to stay focused and on task through great organization."
Your answer to this question could determine for the hiring manager if you are a true fit for their team or not. Be sure to read the company's core values or mission statement on their website. The interviewer can see your qualifications on paper, now they
"I am known to always treat patients with the utmost respect and kindness. From the research I have done on your clinic, you have a strong reputation for extending kindness to patients in your care. This is one of the reasons why I am so interested in this position."
The interviewer can see your qualifications on your resume, now they want to know if you are a team player. This is a good time to give an example of when you went over and above for your coworkers.
"I work best in a collaborative team environment and I love to help my co-workers out. Teaching a co-worker something new and also working with people who will teach you, in turn, makes for a really good work environment."
This question is being asked to learn more about your work history. Take this opportunity to share a short story about a successful patient interaction. Discuss how you've made modifications for patients learning how to eat again, hand strength exercises used to gain hand movement or even sensory integration exercises.
"I've had a lot of success over the years with Therapy Putty. From children to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I've found that this simple tool not only builds strength but is also a nice stress reliever."
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you may have the opportunity to work with children. If you haven't worked with children but with adults be sure to tell the interviewer but take the opportunity to tell the interviewer how you have worked with an adult and their handwriting or hand strength.
"I've spent the past 4 months working with children and assessing their handwriting. I've had a lot of success using Handwriting Without Tears as my tool to help children."
Asking questions shows you are interested and enthusiastic about the position. Thoroughly research the facility before your interview, and ask targeted questions that show you've done your homework.
"Being a few miles from a Military Facility I would imagine the caseload would consist of a number of military members, is this the case?"
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, you help patients become more independent by helping them improve, develop and recover the skills they need for daily living and working. Occupational Therapist Assistants are employed by hospitals, nursing homes, home healthcare services and private clinics. You will work under the direct supervision and direction of a qualified Occupational Therapist. On the job, you teach patients therapeutic exercises and how to use specially designed equipment that will help them relearn the skills they've lost which will help them become stronger. You may also set up therapy equipment, monitor therapeutic sessions, and record patients' progress. They report all their observations to the Occupational Therapist who is overseeing the patient's treatment.
An associate's degree from an accredited program is the minimum qualification required to work as an occupational therapist assistant. Licensing or certification is required to practice in almost all states. Compassion, physical strength, flexibility, an eye for details and excellent interpersonal skills are essential attributes for anyone wishing to pursue a career as an occupational therapist assistant.
Be prepared to answer tough questions that aim to gauge whether you have what it takes to work as an Occupational Therapist Assistant. The interviewer may give you instructions that an occupational therapist would, to assess how well you follow and execute instructions. The interviewer may also ask you all types of questions related to techniques used in occupational therapy, ask about your short and long-term career goals as well as behavioral questions.