30 Questions and Answers Written by Heather Douglass
Updated on August 22nd, 2018 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates, specifically in the health care industry.
Question 1 of 30
How many years of long term care experience do you have?
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As a Physical Therapist Assistant you may have experience with long term care. You provide assistance with daily life, including eating, bathing, dressing, general mobility, and any other day to day tasks. If you haven't had the opportunity to assist those who need long term care from chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions just let the interviewer know that you are excited to get the opportunity to and to learn.
"I was fortunate enough to perform my internship in an assisted living facility. I enjoyed providing care and interacting with the patients on a daily basis."
Second Answer Example
"I do not have any experience with long term care but it is something I've wanted to be a part of. Currently I work in an outpatient setting and I rarely see patients more than a few times. I enjoy reconnecting with patients each time and because of this I think I would enjoy long term care."
What is your experience with Orthopedic physical therapy?
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As a Physical Therapist Assistant specializing in Orthopedic Physical Therapy you work alongside a Physical Therapist treating patients after orthopedic surgery, sprains, strains, bursitis and deformities like scoliosis. Tell the interviewer about your work history taking part in treating patients with Orthopedic issues.
"I haven't had the opportunity to treat too many serious Orthopedic issues but I look forward to utilizing my education and learning alongside my peers."
What is your experience with Integumentary physical therapy?
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As a Physical Therapist Assistant you my have the opportunity to work with patients needing Integumentary physical therapy. Tending to wounds, burns, wound irrigations, dressings and topical agents to remove the damaged or contaminated tissue and promote tissue healing are ways you may assist the Physical Therapist.
"I'm often the one on our team that provides instruction on edema control and how to properly use compression garments with our burn victims."
Tell the interviewer about qualities and attributes of the people and environments that you thrive in. 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.
"My ideal work environment is one that fosters positive, professional working relationships. Mutual respect and an encouraging working and learning environment is my ideal work environment."
This question is being asked of you to see how well you work with others. When answering this question you will want to say positive and upbeat- even if you don't like working in a team environment.
"I have enjoyed my most recent position as a Physical Therapist Assistant because I work alongside a great Physical Therapist and we communicate well. Everyone on my team is focused on the same mission, to deliver quality care to all of our patients. I enjoy working with others because it is fun and challenging."
6. What is your greatest achievement? When answering this question it's best to make this a professional achievement. To meet your greatest achievement tell the interviewer about the goals you set for yourself. It shows you take initiative. It shows you can follow through. It also shows that you are ambitious. Here is an answer example: " After months of studying I passed my national licensure examination and became licensed in the state of California on my first try. Not procrastinating and putting my education on the back burner has become my greatest achievement."7. Share a time when you willingly took on additional responsibilities. This question is to gauge if you could take on additional responsibilities if need be. If your co-worker is going on maternity leave for 7 weeks would you be able to take on her patient workload? If a manager was needed on the night shift could you take on the role? Share the leadership qualities with the interviewer that you posses and assure them that you could step up to the plate if needed. Here is an answer example: "Just last week I stepped up to cover an additional shift. My colleague called out sick and her shift needed to be covered. I know she would do the same for me." Here is an answer example: "I took on additional responsibilities when one of my colleagues had to be out for the week with their sick child. I didn't think twice about it because that is what it means to be a part of a great team. We take care of one another."8. Are you efficient with your time? Time management is an essential skill in any workplace. As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have to prioritize your work and use your time wisely each day. Using your time wisely also means determining what tasks need to be done first, how to avoid distractions and how to get things done when new priorities pop up. Tell the interviewer how you prioritize your day. Here is an answer example: "I can't stand to have to much downtime at work. In between patients I'm learning or helping my colleagues. I'm efficient with my time because I feel there is always something to do." Here is an answer example: "I am efficient with my time. Staying on track and on time is important to me. My time is precious as well as my patients time so practicing my time management skills throughout the day is a way for me to keep on track."9. Why are you the best candidate for us? With this question, the interviewer is asking you to explain why you are a good fit for their company. If you cannot properly answer this question, it can appear that you are not confident or serious about the position. Highlight your best skills that relate to the position you are applying for. If you have received any awards or recognitions for your accomplishments in relatable positions, mention them. Show enthusiasm about joining and contributing to the company. This is your chance to sell yourself so make it good. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I'm the best candidate for you not only because I have the training but because I have the passion and patience to be an amazing Physical Therapist Assistant."10. Are you a good listener? Sometimes being a good listener is a better skill to have than being a good presenter. Tell the interviewer that your a good listener especially with your patients. Listening to their concerns, pains and stories is what makes you a successful Physical Therapist Assistant. Here is an answer example: "I've found that utilizing my active listening skills is imperative with my patients. I make a point to repeat the information back to them to make sure we are both on the same page." Here is an answer example: "I am a good listener. I practice active listening during my treatment sessions to assure that the patient and I are on the same page." Here is an answer example: "I am a good listener. I practice my active listening skills during my patient treatments to assure we are both on the same page."11. What have you done in the past year to become a better Physical Therapist Assistant? As a Physical Therapist Assistant you know it is important to stay current with your skills as you may not have the opportunity to utilize them every day. Do you make a point to work along side a Physical Therapist to learn from them and ask questions? Do you take online CE's to keep up with your skills? Tell the interview about a few things you are doing to stay current and improve your skills. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I've taken a step outside my comfort zone and assisted with treatment that I'm unfamiliar with. I've told myself that I'm not going to get familiar with it until I jump in and do it."12. How do you handle stubborn patients who do not want to listen to your instruction? Patients that are in pain or ones that are getting discouraged will sometimes become stubborn and not want to continue treatment. As a Physical Therapist Assistant how do you encourage your patients to continue and and stop being stubborn? Share a time with the interviewer where you had to work with a stubborn patient. Here is an answer example: "There are times that my patients are stubborn but I just crack a few jokes to get us both laughing and it seems to break the ice and get them a better mood." Here is an answer example: "If my patient is being stubborn I'll take a few minutes to pause treatment and just listen to their concerns. Sometimes patients are just having a bad day, need someone to listen and then they can move on."13. What was the most memorable patient you ever worked with? As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have the potential to build a lasting relationship with your patients. Tell the interviewer about a patient that made an impact on you. Did they make you want to become a better therapist? Did they simply make you smile each time they came in because they were such a pleasure to work with? Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "The most memorable patient I worked with was a 7 year old child. The child was so happy and eager to get better that it motivated me to be the best Physical Therapist Assistant I could be."14. What would you do if a patient you had been working with started refusing to work with you? As a Physical Therapist Assistant you may run into a situation where a patient you've worked with for awhile has decided they want a new therapist. Would you approach the patient and ask why they've requested a new therapist? Would you let it go and go about your day? Your personality type will determine whether or not you confront the situation or not. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I would respect that patients decision and ask who they would like to see and how I could make them feel more comfortable while they waited."15. What has been your most difficult situation in your experience as a Physical Therapist Assistant and how did you handle it? The interviewer wants to hear about a particular situation that challenged you as a Physical therapist Assistant. The interviewer can see that you are qualified by reading your resume, now they want to make sure that you have the people skills needed to do the job. Here is an answer example: "The most difficult problem I faced this week was working with my schedule to get two walk in appointments in between scheduled patients. I made a point to explain to the walk-ins that I would do my best to get them in but they may have to wait a bit. The fact that I was up front with the possibility that they could wait made them understand why they had to wait a bit longer than normal." Here is an answer example: "The most difficult situation I've experience was an emotional experience with a car crash patient. The patient was very depressed and wasn't making much progress. Treatment was delayed but picked back up a few months down the road."16. Why did you choose to become a Physical Therapist Assistant? This question is being asked to hear more about your work and why you decided to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. Tell the interviewer how being a Physical Therapist Assistant is very rewarding. You work with patients one-on-one, see them progress through treatment and know that you are really making a difference in their lives. Whether your assisting a patient with a problem that is a result of injury or disease your role is to fosters the patient's return to maximal function. Talk about your current experience or where you see the career field going in the future. Be upbeat and positive and you’ll be sure to knock this one out of the park. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I've always loved my anatomy and physiology classes. I decided to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant because of my desire to help people."17. What is your greatest strength? This is one of the most common questions asked during an interview so you need to have your answer memorized. To determine your strengths, think of the job related skills that others compliment you on. Are you a patient person? Good listener? Provide amazing customer service? Here is an answer example: "My greatest strength is my ability to build professional patient/therapist relationships. Patients confide in me, respect me as a provider as well as a person." Here is an answer example: "My greatest strength is my administrative skills. I provide very clear, concise and organized notes."18. Are you comfortable working with all age groups? As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have had the opportunity to work with all age groups. Do you enjoy working with children because of their inquisitive minds and sense of humor? Can you relate with them best? Are you most comfortable working with adults because they are able to communicate a bit easier with you? Because your job is hands on with all age groups be sure to tell the interviewer that- follow it up with your favorite group to work with if you'd like. Here is an answer example: "I am comfortable working with all age groups. I think my favorite group to work with are children. I love making up games for treatment and being a kid again myself." Here is an answer example: "I do get a bit nervous working with the elderly because of their limitations and lack of strength. I just take my time and work along side the patient to make them feel confident and comfortable."19. How do you work differently with an older patient As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have to adjust your style of therapy quite often. Working with older patients require a softer approach than a man in his 30's in good health. Tell the interviewer about a time you successfully rehabilitated an older patient. What steps did you take and how did you adjust your regular style of treatment? Here is an answer example: "Last week I started working with a patient that is recovering after a hip replacement. Treatment may be running slower than some but we are still making progress." Here is an answer example: "I provide the same level of care and caring to every age of patient that I see. I may move a little slower and speak a little louder with older patients but I adjust my patient care based on the patients needs."20. What is your greatest weakness? This is one of the most common interview answers so you need to have this one memorized. Don't choose a weakness that will make the interviewer hesitant to hire you but a weakness that can be improved upon to make it a strength. Here is an answer example: "My greatest weakness as a Physical Therapist Assistant is being able to say no. I always want to help but I've found that its a great way to put too much on my plate. I'm working on saying no to helping at that moment but offering to help once I've completed my own tasks." Here is an answer example: "My greatest weakness is not being able to say no. I've been working on letting people know that I can help them but not right at that second. This gives me time to work on my own work as well as provide a healthy boundary with my colleagues."21. Tell me about a time you provided excellent patient care. The interviewer is looking for a particular story. It's a great idea to have a few stories in your back pocket for your interview to show how you personally impacted your patients treatment. When you share your story be sure to follow it with feedback that was provided to you either by the patient that you helped or a co-worker that applauded your care. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "Excellent patient care is given the second they walk through the door until they leave the office. A smile, encouraging words and kind interaction is all examples of the patient care that I provide."22. Tell me why it is important to have patience as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Becoming impatient with your co-workers or yourself at work is not only counterproductive, it can also be bad for your health. Stress and anxiety in the workplace can lead to conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, so it's in your interests to keep a lid on things. Answer this question calm, cool and collective. Showing irritation or impatience during your interview will make it seem like you are hard to work with. Here is an answer example: "I interact with people all day so I need to show them that I'm an approachable and patient person which will lead to a positive outcome." Here is an answer example: "Patience is important as a Physical Therapist Assistant so I don't upset the patient. If I'm short or inpatient my patient might shut down and not do well during our session. If the patient is upset during the session it might cause an unnecessary injury."23. How do you manage responsibilities? During some point in your career you may be in a leadership position. If the position you are interviewing for is a leadership position be sure to relay your leadership style as well as the way you manage your responsibilities clear throughout the interview. Are you a to-do list type of person? do you delegate your duties and responsibilities? Here is an answer example: "When managing my responsibilities I like to keep a to-do list. I prioritize my to do list a few times a day. I like to have something in front of me as not only a reminder but to help me keep on track." Here is an answer example: "I manage responsibilities by prioritizing them."24. Have you ever had a situation where you had a number of alternatives to choose from? How did you go about choosing one? Your day as a Physical Therapist Assistant can be full of patients and administrative work. Figuring out a balance between the two so one doesn't suffer is sometimes difficult to do. How do you go about prioritizing your work and choosing to work on one thing at a time. Tell the interviewer about a time you were faced with different solutions and how you came up with the one. What was the outcome? Why was it successful? Here is an answer example: "When faced with a difficult decision or situation I like to get a second opinion from my colleagues to make sure I'm on the right page." Here is an answer example: "Sometimes making a simple pro's and con's list will help me make difficult situations. Being able to see it all down in front of me can help me weigh my options and make a decision."25. How do you manage your work stress? Working within the medical career field you may encounter work stress. Tell the interviewer how you deal with your stress and use it to your advantage to motivate you. A little stress within the workplace can motivate you and keep things from getting boring. Managing your stress so it doesn't make you unhappy and unproductive is important. Tell the interviewer about a time you faced a stressful work situation and how you handled it. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "To manage my work stress I make a point to leave the clinic for lunch each day. I like to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air with my packed lunch and a book. Relaxing during my lunch hour gives me my second wind."26. Why should we consider you for this position? This question is your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer. Tell the interviewer about your professional skills, education and goals as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Bring something unique to the table to set yourself apart from the rest. How do you plan on making an impact at the work place? Keep your answer to 30-45 seconds. Make it big and wow the interviewers. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I'm right out of school and come with a fresh mind and a new set of eyes. I'm eager and hard working."27. Do you see yourself becoming a Physical Therapist in the future? If becoming a Physical Therapist isn't on your priority list don't stress out about how to answer this question. If you're new to this position tell the interviewer that you'd like to stay put for a few years and become an expert Physical Therapist Assistant. Here is an answer example: "I have thought about becoming a Physical Therapist, but for now I want to become a proficient assistant." Here is an answer example: "I would like to become a Physical Therapist. I'm actually enrolled in night classes to further my education and become a Physical Therapist."28. How would you describe your communication skills? Your type of communication style will tell the interviewer what it will be like to work with you. Is your communication style passive and you go with the flow? Are you aggressive and try to dominate all communication? When answering this question tap into your inner assertive communication style. Having an assertive communication style is the least abrasive or hard to work with. Here is an answer example: "I use good eye contact, use I statements and rarely interrupt." Here is an answer example: "I foster clear communication between myself, the therapist and the patient. We need to know we all understand each other and are on the same page. Our good communication skills make treatment flow easily."29. Are you comfortable with giving patients instruction on how to perform an exercise? As a Physical Therapist Assistant you are right along side the patient working through their treatment plan. Being able to give clear and precise instructions is important in your job. Patients look to you to be the subject matter expert and to know exactly how to help them perform the required exercises. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I am comfortable giving instruction to patients. My Physical Therapist relies on me to provide instruction after the session so he can move on to the next patient."30. How are your observation skills? As a Physical Therapist Assistant, sharp observations skills are a must. Tell the interviewer you ability to give 100% to your patient and observe their movement during treatment and use the details observed to plan their treatment plans. Did your observations skills and quick thinking prevent a patient from falling? Feel free to share a story when your observations skills played a part in your treatment with a patient. Here is an answer example: Here is an answer example: "I've been praised by leadership for my observations skills. There was a time that I made an observation of a patient unknowingly favoring the right side of his body and we were able to take that into account when we treated him."
Author of Physical Therapist Assistant Answers and Questions
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
First written on: 10/31/2014 Last modified on: 08/22/2018
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