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Physical Therapist Assistant Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.

Question 1 of 30

How do you handle stubborn patients who do not want to listen to your instruction?

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Physical Therapist Assistant Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I take the time to see what may be bothering them that particular day and what I can do to help. Often times, I will start with something simple, such as seated exercises, before getting them up and moving in order to ease their dismay."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your approach sounds very gentle and understanding, which are wonderful qualities for a PTA. Very well said! If you have a specific story of a time when you took this approach with a patient, this is a good opportunity to give a memorable example.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  2. 2.

    What is your experience with Orthopedic physical therapy?

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  3. 3.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  4. 4.

    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?

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "My greatest strength is my administrative skills. I provide very clear, concise and organized notes."

      Anonymous Answer

      "My greatest strength is my personability. I get along with all types of people and have been able to build positive patient/therapist relationships in the past."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a fantastic trait to have, especially when in the service of patients as a PTA. If you have an example of a time when this strength helped you make a memorable impact in the workplace, this is a great opportunity to tell an engaging story.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  5. 5.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Patient progress is often gradual, so we have to understand that rehabilitation takes time. Just as well, they are looking to us for direction; our interaction shouldn’t be abrasive."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You bring up some excellent points! In the end, it would be great to add a qualifying statement regarding your patience level. I have provided a starter for you below.

      "Patient progress is often gradual, so a PTA should understand that rehabilitation takes time. Just as well, patients are looking to us for direction; our interaction shouldn’t be abrasive. I showed patience and understanding when....(tell a story about a 'time when' using the STAR framework to guide your response)."

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  6. 6.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "I use good eye contact, use I statements and rarely interrupt."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I have excellent communication skills for the simple fact that I truly listen when others are speaking. I believe the key to good communication is the ability to listen attentively to those you’re interacting with."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You make an important point re: active listening. If you have an example of a time when your communication skills improved a situation, this is a good opportunity to give a story-based example. Or, you could make a qualifying statement regarding your communication style and how it will help you as a PTA. I have provided an example below.

      "I have excellent communication skills for the simple fact that I truly listen when others are speaking. I believe the key to good communication is listening attentively to those I am interacting with. By actively listening to my clients, I will be able to....(discuss the impact your communication skills will make on the job)."

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  7. 7.

    What is your ideal work environment?

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  8. 8.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  9. 9.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      View answer examples for this question >

  10. 10.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I’ve always had a strong desire to help others and be of service to those in need. That, coupled with my passion for health and fitness, led me to the field."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds as though a career within patient/health care is very well suited to you! When it comes to your passion for health and fitness, I recommend adding more details so that the interviewer can get to know you. Adding specific details around your interests will make you a more memorable candidate :)

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  11. 11.

    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?

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Depending on their physical and cognitive functioning, I may speak more loudly and concisely. I often keep it simple in terms of instruction, and my guarding of the patient is typically closer."

      Rachelle's Answer

      These are great ways to adapt your approach to the patients' needs. If you have a specific story of a time when you catered your approach to an elderly client, this is a good opportunity to give an action-based example.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  12. 12.

    How many years of long term care experience do you have?

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  13. 13.

    What is your experience with Integumentary physical therapy?

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  14. 14.

    Tell me about your experience working in teams.

      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.

      Heather's Answer

      "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."

  15. 15.

    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.

      Heather's Answer

      " 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."

  16. 16.

    Are you efficient with your time?

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  17. 17.

    What have you done in the past year to become a better Physical Therapist Assistant?

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  18. 18.

    What was the most memorable patient you ever worked with?

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  19. 19.

    What would you do if a patient you had been working with started refusing to work with you?

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  20. 20.

    What has been your most difficult situation in your experience as a Physical Therapist Assistant and how did you handle it?

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  21. 21.

    Are you comfortable working with all age groups?

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  22. 22.

    What is your greatest weakness?

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  23. 23.

    Tell me about a time you provided excellent patient care.

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  24. 24.

    How do you manage responsibilities?

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  25. 25.

    Have you ever had a situation where you had a number of alternatives to choose from? How did you go about choosing one?

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  26. 26.

    How do you manage your work stress?

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  27. 27.

    Why should we consider you for this position?

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  28. 28.

    Do you see yourself becoming a Physical Therapist in the future?

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  29. 29.

    Are you comfortable with giving patients instruction on how to perform an exercise?

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  30. 30.

    How are your observation skills?

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