Updated on August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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Have you worked with stroke patients?
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How to Answer
When you answer this question be sure to talk about a specific patient but do not disclose any confidential information about the patient or clinic.
" I have not had the opportunity to work with patients that have suffered a stroke. I have had the opportunity to work with patients that suffer epileptic seizures and through my studies, I have learned that the challenges are similar. I look forward to working with different types of patients and improving my therapy techniques."
When you answer this question be careful not to fall into a slippery slope of negativity. Be brief and end on a positive note.
"Overall, the pro's always outweigh any con's in the in this career field. If I had to change one thing, I would wish for the billing process to be more streamlined for patients who are on financial assistance. It can take a long time for them to see a refund for their medical expenses."
This is one of the most common interview questions so you'll need to make sure you have your answer rehearsed. Talk a little bit about what you are doing to strengthen yourself in this particular area.
"I would say that one thing I could improve on would be my knowledge of more difficult medical terminology. I have enrolled myself in a medical terminology course that starts this summer."
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."
When you answer this question, it is good to give an example of a time that you have had strong communication with a patient. You can also talk about a time that you were complimented by a supervisor on your strong communication skills.
"I really enjoy communicating with patients. Everyone has their own unique story, needs, and preferences. It makes my day go by so quickly when I can be in a patient facing role. Through my previous job reviews, my former supervisor consistently commented positively on my communication style with our patients."
6. Why do you want to be an OT Assistant? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."7. Do you encourage fidget tools as a part of sensory therapy? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."8. Tell me about your education. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."9. What do you like most about being an OTA? The interviewer is asking this question to hear how your career has been fulfilled and on a bad day what keeps you going. Here is an answer example: "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."10. How should an OT and OTA function together? In your opinion. 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. Here is an answer example: "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."11. Does any type of patient treatment make you uncomfortable? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."12. Do you have any questions for us? 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. Here is an answer example: "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?"13. If you noticed a patient wasn't improving what would you 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. Here is an answer example: "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."14. What type of supervision do you work best with? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."15. What is your communication style? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."16. How would your co-workers describe you? 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. Here is an answer example: "My coworkers say I'm easy to work with because I have a good attitude even when we are really busy."17. When can you start working? 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. Here is an answer example: "I'd love to start immediately, but I need to give my two weeks notice."18. Have you worked with Autistic patients? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."19. What type of patients would you be interested in specializing in? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."20. If you have a disagreement with the OT, what would you do? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."21. When have you demonstrated a great deal of patience in the work place? 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? Here is an answer example: "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."22. What do you not like to do as an occupational therapist assistant? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."23. Do you have any volunteer experience? How do you believe that helped you prepare for this career? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."24. Have you assessed a child's handwriting? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."25. What therapeutic techniques are you familiar with and which have you used successfully? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."26. Do you enjoy helping out the team and making the office more successful? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."27. How do you typically treat patients? 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 Here is an answer example: "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."28. Do you have further career plans, past being an OTA? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."29. Would you say you are an organized, detail oriented person? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."30. How have you made your previous office better as an OTA? 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. Here is an answer example: "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."
Author of Occupational Therapist Assistant Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 09/20/2010 Last modified on: 08/21/2018
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