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Occupational Therapist Interview
Questions

33 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Updated August 22nd, 2018 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 33
What is your ideal work environment?
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How to Answer
Describe some of the aspects of a job and a facility that you enjoy most and why. Are you motivated by the positive attitudes of others? Do you thrive when your boss empowers you by giving you autonomy over decisions? It's important to know what you need and what you want out of a work situation. Share some qualities and attributes of the people and environment that you thrive in. Sometimes it's hard to know if the past places you've been employed were not the best for you. Think about an environment where you feel you will learn and grow best and describe that to the interviewer.
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Answer Examples
1.
What is your ideal work environment?
Describe some of the aspects of a job and a facility that you enjoy most and why. Are you motivated by the positive attitudes of others? Do you thrive when your boss empowers you by giving you autonomy over decisions? It's important to know what you need and what you want out of a work situation. Share some qualities and attributes of the people and environment that you thrive in. Sometimes it's hard to know if the past places you've been employed were not the best for you. Think about an environment where you feel you will learn and grow best and describe that to the interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My ideal work environment is one that inspires and motivates their employees. I thrive on the company of others and having the ability to learn from the experiences of others."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As a new Occupational Therapist, the environment that I am looking to start in is one where I am given the freedom to learn on the job while also working for an organization that has resources available for me to learn. I feel that I am bringing a lot of knowledge on the career into my first job and now it is important for me to apply that knowledge to a life-long career in the field."
2.
How do you best communicate goals with your patients and, when necessary, their families?
Setting goals for patients is an essential function of an occupational therapist. While the interview probably knows that you are efficient and effective at setting goals, here they are trying to determine how you most effectively communicate the goals to the patient and/or their family. Talk about how each patient needs to be evaluated individually and how your communication to them is tailored to their ability to receive and retain the information.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As an experienced Occupational Therapist that is able to create customized plans and goals for patient, how that plan is communicated is equally important. A patient needs to understand and be on board with the plan and if the patient is unable to comprehend, their family or caregivers need to be the people that understand. If I'm able to communicate directly with the patient, I walk step by step through their goals and explain the importance of each step of the plan. This helps them better understand why we are working on the things that we are. If I need to work with family or caregivers, I use this same approach."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Communicating the goals of my patient plan and goals is extremely important to help them have an understanding of what their therapy will entail. During my internship, my supervising therapist stressed the importance of putting things in layman's terms for patients to help them understand the process the entire way through."
3.
What is your favorite type of patient?
Describing your ideal patient gives you an opportunity to also describe your ideal interaction. When a patient is compliant and easy-going, you have a greater ability to do your best work. Without resistance, you can go through your routine smoothly. Your interviewer will be looking to gauge how you interact with patients in a positive manner. For this question, it is important to know the client base that you would potentially be working with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"A good patient responds to my questions clearly, which helps me to know what's going on and take proper action. When they are relaxed, I can get to know them better, because they feel comfortable sharing information. I am sensitive to every patient's needs, always explaining the exercise before I do it, which helps them feel at ease."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my work experience as an occupational therapy student, I really appreciated patients that showed gratitude for the work that I performed with them. These patients were always engaged in their therapy and realized that what we were doing together was important to them. One particular patient sent a nice 'Thank You' card back to our office for my work with her and this was the highlight of my time training there."
4.
How would your coworkers describe you?
Tell the interviewer about the positive working relationships you and your co-workers developed. The interviewer is not only trying to establish if you have the right skills and knowledge for the job but also how you interact with others. Think about the skills and characteristics your co-workers have that you are grateful for. Keep your answer positive.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My coworkers would describe me as being kind, helpful, hardworking and good with my patients."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As I've worked my way through college, my coworkers would describe me as a team player that is willing to help out where needed. I've seen more experience workers not be able to think outside of the box and not willing to help out people outside of their job duties or departments. I see the workplace as many people working towards one main goal and the thoughts and effort of everyone are important."
5.
What strengths or special skills will you bring to this position?
This question is similar to 'What is your greatest strength.' Be prepared to hear this question asked in a nontraditional way. If you are unable to pinpoint your best skill or greatest strength, ask friends or a family member what sets you apart. This can also be a skill or training on the job as an Occupational Therapist that doesn't show up on your resume.

Ryan's Answer #1
"A strength that I would bring to this position is my years of experience working with Geriatric patients. I've worked on a multidiciplinary team treating stroke patients and have seen much success with that patient population."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If I'm hired, you'll quickly find that I am eager to learn all that I can to become a better Occupational Therapist. I will be willing to put forth the time and effort to see as many patients as I can and work as many hours as I possibly can. I am looking to get as much exposure to wide range of patients early in my career."
6.
How would you treat a patient with sleep dysfunction?
As an Occupational Therapist, you may treat patients that suffer from the inability to prepare for sleep, stay asleep, fall asleep within an appropriate amount of time, stay asleep for an acceptable number of hours or even struggle with daytime sleepiness. Tell the interviewer how you treat these patients to help them learn healthy sleep habits and routines.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I currently work with autistic children suffering from disturbed sleep patterns. I've found that weighted blankets, constant praise, and stickers have helped my patients achieve healthy sleep habits."
Ryan's Answer #2
"If I were to be working with a patient that was having sleep troubles, I would start with environmental factors that influence quality sleep. Things like room temperature, light and noise would need to be evaluated to help the person sleep. Then I would factor in any physical pieces like the mattress or bed modifications for someone with a physical injury. Last, developing good bedtime habits like reduction in caffeine intake, diet and exercise would also need to be considered for the individual."
7.
Are you comfortable interviewing patients to gather health information?
This is an essential part of your role, and the interviewer needs to hear that you are comfortable doing so. Simply tell the interviewer that you are comfortable talking with patients to gather their health information. If applicable, you can talk about any bumps you had to overcome throughout your career to become comfortable doin

Ryan's Answer #1
"I am comfortable interviewing patients to gather health information. If I'm unable to get the information needed because of their state or age I'm happy to w,ork with their caregivers, teachers or adults in their life to gain the information needed in order to provide the best care possible."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Coming into my first job as an Occupational Therapist, I fully understand the importance of being able to interview my patients to gather as much information as I can about them. That first interview sets the course for the remainder of the treatment with me. I am comfortable working with patients and conducting interview sessions with them and any family members or caregivers as well."
8.
Why did you pursue a career as an Occupational Therapist?
For this question, the interviewer is looking to get an insight to your inner workings and what really drives you to love and be successful in your career as an Occupational Therapist. There is no right or wrong answer to this question so just be sure to be genuine in your response to the interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"During my high school years, I knew that I wanted a career where I could work with children who were struggling with basic life skills. In researching careers in a college career fair, I learned about occupational therapy and all of the different paths that a career in the field could lead me. In my time working with school aged children, I've never regretted my career path one bit."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In wanting to work closely with individuals that needed help, I originally thought that Psychology was my true passion. But after entering college and learning more about OT and getting to piece together the mind with the body functions, I knew that occupational therapy was the career path for me. I am so excited to get started in my first real position in the field."
9.
Talk about the most difficult patient that you had to work with. What made them difficult and how did you handle the situation?
As an Occupational Therapist, there will be times that you have to work with a difficult patient. The difficulty can happen for many reasons and the interview is looking to see how you handle situations with difficult patients by remaining composed and making sound decisions. The interviewer is also looking to get an idea for what types of patients may be frustrating for you to work with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"During my time working with patients in a skilled nursing facility, I was working with a particular gentleman that wasn't receptive to any of the treatments that I tried. In taking a step back to get the know the man a bit more, I knew he had a love for the outdoors. After a brief conversation with the nursing staff, I was able to take him outside where he was much more willing to my treatment."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my internship working at a large acute care hospital, I worked with an older lady following open heart surgery. Having just lost her husband a year prior and not having much family around, she was in a lost and depressed state of my mind. Her situation brought up many personal feelings in my mind of my grandmother and how I would feel if she were in this ladies position. Taking a more loving approach to this patient and making as much small talk as I could with the patient, she slowly warmed up to me and our therapy time together. Upon her discharge, she hugged me and thanked me for all that I did for her."
10.
Talk about a time you had to be innovative or use a new method or technology to help a patient. What made the situation innovative?
Most occupational therapists love their career as it enables them to provide innovative, individualized care to each patient. Think of a single patient that you've worked with where you had to think outside the box to provide a great outcome for that patient. Thinking outside the box can happen in many directions and your interviewer is looking to see what resources and creative problem solving skills you used in one particular situation.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In working in a home health setting with an older man that recovering from a stroke, I learned from his family that he had been an avid golfer his entire life and was the reigning senior level champion at his golf course. Knowing that he'd be inspired by the sport, I made sure that each session with him ended with us practicing putting strokes in his living room. As well, for aids in the bathroom, the family allowed us to install a modified golf club grab bar in his bathroom for him to utilize."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my internship working in a school setting, I was working with an autistic child that was having emotional outbursts while we were working on her fine motor skills in the classroom. In having her family involved in all processes, I learned that music was her favorite getaway for her during her outbursts. In trying to coordinate music and fine motor skills, I began working with her using musical items like a simple xylophone and a guitar. Hearing herself make her own music with own hands and incorporating this into each session really helped her progress to the point where she writing more clearly in the classroom."
11.
What types of patient assessments have you worked with in your work history?
As an occupational therapist, you have utilized a wide-range of assessments to help treat your patients. While it isn't necessary for you to dig back through your memory and list ever assessment you have used, try to focus on particular assessments that you've used that will apply to the position that you are applying for. Give your interviewer a broad overview of your history with working with assessments and give some specifics on those that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Throughout my career, I have hands on experience working with a very wide range of patient assessments. Some have been great to work with and others have not. In my current position, I utilize several community living assessments like the 'Community Integration Questionnaire' to help assess a patients ability to participate in their community. I've also used several social interaction assessments like the ESI. I think my experience with these types of assessments make me a great candidate for this position."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my Master's degree program, I was exposed to all of the different types of patient assessments and I had hands on experience with many of the assessments that are used in an educational setting during my internship. I feel very comfortable researching and learning new assessments and working with children on any type of assessment."
12.
What do you do in your spare time?
The interviewer wants to know something personal about you that isn't necessarily listed on your resume. Share a hobby or something personal during this interview question. Don't make it too personal, you don't want things to get awkward. It's important for you to stress why this is important to you and how it potentially helps in you in your career as an

Ryan's Answer #1
"I spend my extra time volunteering with my family. My family and I volunteer with a Veterans home in town. I think it's important to give back to the community and have my kids help as well."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Outside of work, I am a very active person that works out on a regular basis. I run every day and participate in 10k races whenever I have the opportunity. I have found that staying fit and in shape keeps both my mind and my body refreshed and this keeps me at the top of my game when on the job."
13.
How did you learn about this position?
Openly share how you heard about the job. It may have been online, in the local newspaper, or from a friend. If a current employee told you about the job, be sure to mention their name; it will gain you extra recognition with the interviewer!

Ryan's Answer #1
"I was recruited from LinkedIn by a Healthcare Recruiter. She reviewed my profile and felt I would be a great match for the position. I wasn't actively looking for a new position at the time, but the duties of this job really convinced me that I was a great fit for this job."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Getting prepared to graduate from my Master's degree program, my job search was really focused on working in a school setting. My dream in becoming an Occupational Therapist was to work with school aged children. In looking to remain close to my family, this was the first position that I found when searching the internet."
14.
How would your current supervisor describe you?
When answering this question, you will want to consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Good communication skills, attention to detail, and patient sensitivity are all important characteristics for an Occupational Therapist. Show off your strengths, like having a good attitude when faced with difficulty or being willing to go above and beyond expectations to help someone out. Don't be afraid to brag a little, but keep it relevant.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My supervisor would describe me as an energetic, hardworking, knowledgeable Occupational Therapist. He would say that I'm always willing to help others and that I love my job."
Ryan's Answer #2
"My most recent supervisor while I was employed through my Master's degree program would say that I come to work with a positive attitude each and every day, no matter the circumstances. I am a firm believer that the work day goes so much smoother and more productive with a positive attitude and I have found that remaining positive on the job is infectious for all my colleagues."
15.
What are a few ways you would help an adult experiencing stress?
Your patients may suffer from sleep dysfunction, stress, be unable to manage their pain or fatigue, experience decreased the range of motion, depression and even anxiety. As an Occupational Therapist, you educate your patients on healthy living and exercises to improve their quality of life. Tell the interviewer about a patient suffering from stress and what tools you gave them to become healthier.

Ryan's Answer #1
" As a Therapist, I encourage health management behaviors such as smoking cessation, reduced caffeine intake, a balanced diet, and adequate exercise. When my patients apply these changes in their life they will notice their stress level will decrease."
Ryan's Answer #2
"To help patients that are struggling with stress, I look back on a great seminar I attended during my Master's program and think about how these techniques help me in my personal life. The seminar talked about how studies have shown that artistic endeavors like music, painting, drawing or even cooking help people dealing with a lot of stress ease that burden. These are techniques I would look to use with my patients."
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33 Occupational Therapist Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. What is your ideal work environment?
  2. How do you best communicate goals with your patients and, when necessary, their families?
  3. What is your favorite type of patient?
  4. How would your coworkers describe you?
  5. What strengths or special skills will you bring to this position?
  6. How would you treat a patient with sleep dysfunction?
  7. Are you comfortable interviewing patients to gather health information?
  8. Why did you pursue a career as an Occupational Therapist?
  9. Talk about the most difficult patient that you had to work with. What made them difficult and how did you handle the situation?
  10. Talk about a time you had to be innovative or use a new method or technology to help a patient. What made the situation innovative?
  11. What types of patient assessments have you worked with in your work history?
  12. What do you do in your spare time?
  13. How did you learn about this position?
  14. How would your current supervisor describe you?
  15. What are a few ways you would help an adult experiencing stress?
  16. Have you worked with patients that have suffered a stroke?
  17. What type of chronic conditions have you helped your patients monitor?
  18. Have you applied with any other facilities?
  19. How do you handle criticism?
  20. How do you validate the client's pain and work to establish trust?
  21. How do you help your clients suffering from Arthritis?
  22. Are you experienced at hiring clinic staff? Is this a responsibility you are comfortable with?
  23. Tell me about the most successful patient you've had.
  24. How are your administrative skills?
  25. Where are you most comfortable providing therapy?
  26. Do you have specialized training in driver rehabilitation?
  27. Have you ever had to work with a patient that couldn't communicate verbally due a physical condition? How did you effectively work with that patient?
  28. Have you specialized in the field throughout your career or are you looking to specialize?
  29. What are some unique skills that you think you can bring to our team that set you apart from your competition for this position?
  30. Have you ever disagreed with a decision or process change made by upper management? How did you handle that situation?
  31. How do you keep yourself organized on the on the job when the work day or week gets hectic?
  32. What experience do you have helping your patients work through Mental Health challenges?
  33. How would your patients describe you?
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