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Recreational Therapists Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Elisabeth Walter

Updated August 17th, 2018
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 30
What types of experiences do you have working with the elderly population?
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How to Answer
Give examples of times you coordinating recreational activities with elderly patients. You may have limited experience, but that's okay. Share what you know. You can share how you overcame obstacles, like getting everyone involved even though several patients were resistant to the activity. Address what you did to overcome the obstacle. Maybe you motivated everyone by having a positive attitude, or maybe you made jokes and helped people to lighten up and be silly. Show that you are competent to handle working with any population!
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1.
What types of experiences do you have working with the elderly population?
Give examples of times you coordinating recreational activities with elderly patients. You may have limited experience, but that's okay. Share what you know. You can share how you overcame obstacles, like getting everyone involved even though several patients were resistant to the activity. Address what you did to overcome the obstacle. Maybe you motivated everyone by having a positive attitude, or maybe you made jokes and helped people to lighten up and be silly. Show that you are competent to handle working with any population!
2.
How do you incorporate families and loved ones?
Recreational therapists work with both the client and their families to provide community resources and include specific interests into their therapy program. A good therapist will take time to assess the patient's needs and interests, getting to know the client and the family before choosing a plan of action.
Elisabeth's Answer
"I sit down with the family and the client to find out how I can be the most helpful. By taking the time to address their concerns and find out what activities they enjoy, I am able to design a program that will help that specific individual move closer towards recovery."
3.
What aspects of therapeutic recreation do you least enjoy?
First thing's first, you don't want to sound like you're complaining about the job. There may be some annoyances or tasks that you simply find tedious, but overall you still love your job. Think about some of the challenges, like dealing with a patient who is resistant or defiant. You may not enjoy filling out the paperwork at the end of the day. Or maybe you are working with a doctor that you disagree with, which makes your job more difficult. Be honest, but focus on what you are doing to cope. Show that you are resilient and positive, no matter the challenge!
4.
Where do you see the future of therapeutic recreation headed?
The interviewer wants to find out if you think about the future. As a recreational therapist, you are setting up programs and facilitating activities with the goal of assisting your patients in their recovery process. Think about some of your professional goals and how you intend to meet them in the next five years. Try to think of ways that the company and this position will help you to achieve your goals. For example, you may want to work at a substance abuse center as a recreational therapist. Focus your response on ways that the position you're interviewing for will help you to achieve this goal. Think about some of the other steps you'll need to take in order to get there. Identify how this position will equip you with the skills and experience you need to be successful!
5.
Why should we hire you?
Now is a time to show off how your skills and traits will make a difference on your new team. Consider answering this question by demonstrating how you have proven yourself in your past roles. For example, you could say, "My communication skills always help me get along with my team, no matter the challenge. I am a good listener, staying positive under pressure." You may also have extensive experience working with a particular population that will give you an edge over other candidates. Keep your strengths and examples relevant to what you may be expected to accomplish in this new role. Remember, you have so much to offer!
Elisabeth's Answer
"My communication skills always help me get along with my team, no matter the challenge. I am a good listener, staying positive under pressure."
6.
What are your career goals?
Think about what you want to do within the therapeutic recreation field. If you already have a population you prefer to work with, think about where you would want to work with them. For example, if you enjoy working with adults with disabilities, you may be interested in working for the VA helping war veterans. Also take into consideration where you are interviewing. How will this position help you reach your goal? If you're really not clear on your goals, make a timeline. You can start with thinking five years out and then pick a goal. It could be a place you want to work, or maybe you want to further your education by attending graduate school. Next, think backward to mark down the milestones it will take for you to get there. Companies love individuals who are driven and set out to achieve their goals. Show them you are a go-getter and willing to overcome the challenges ahead in order to reach your goals!
7.
While attending post-secondary studies, what was your best course? Least favorite course?
To complete your bachelor's in Therapeutic Recreation, you will need to complete a certain number of supervised hours, either at an internship or community service. Share how your favorite experience equipped you for the job by teaching you valuable skills to help you optimize your time with patients. You may have learned about designing group activities or how to guide individuals with disabilities in dance, aquatics or even acting out a drama. Be specific and give examples to paint a clear picture for your interviewer.
8.
Tell me about a time you tailored an activity for a patient.
Your patients may have a wide variety of needs. Some will be more complex than others! Demonstrate that you are flexible to meet the needs of your patients. For example, you might have a patient dealing with a lifelong disability, like cerebral palsy. They may want you to help them improve their quality of life, but they don't necessarily know how. When you discuss how you assessed the patient, share how you took into account their interests and their physical strengths and weaknesses. You want to express that you meet each patient where they are, challenging them and encouraging them in each activity. You may have chosen to start with arts and crafts, to get to know the patient and see what they are able to do. Share from your experience!
9.
How do you establish relationships with your patients?
Therapeutic recreation is extremely relational. You are always working either one-on-one or in a group, helping your patients maintain or improve their physical, social and emotional well-being. Talk to the interviewer about your style.
Elisabeth's Answer
"I am outgoing and sensitive to the needs of my patients."
10.
How would your former employer describe you?
Think about positive traits others use to describe you. Focus on the characteristics that are most valued in the workplace.

"My old boss says I'm easy to work with because I have a good attitude, even when I have a heavy workload. At the adult day care program I had several difficult patients. Even though I worked longer hours, I learned how to address behavioral issues and really got to help my patients by spending more intensive time with them. I maintained in good spirits and I didn't let the challenges overwhelm me."

Explain why your coworkers think you have these traits or an experience that shows off these characteristics. Prepare three examples that you can use when you interview. These examples can also be applied when talking about your strengths, another potential interview question.
Elisabeth's Answer
"My old boss says I'm easy to work with because I have a good attitude, even when I have a heavy workload. At the adult day care program I had several difficult patients. Even though I worked longer hours, I learned how to address behavioral issues and really got to help my patients by spending more intensive time with them. I maintained in good spirits and I didn't let the challenges overwhelm me."
11.
What characteristics make you a great fit for this role?
Look over the job description before your interview to notice the qualities the company is looking for. Now think about how you embody some of those traits. Recreational therapists need to have excellent communication skills and people skills. You will also need to be patient and flexible. Make a list of your top five characteristics that would help you meet the criteria for the role. Show off your strengths to prove to the interviewer that you are the best fit for this role!
12.
What has been your favorite experience working in therapeutic recreation so far?
Think about a positive you had with a patient that impacted you. Let's say you completed an internship with children with autism. While you were there, you worked with a specific child who was completely anti-social and by the end of the semester, they were more willing to talk to you and others, participating in games that they would not have tried before. Talk about the tools you used and the conversations you had that made a difference. Share how this experience impacted you and why.
13.
What is your greatest strength?
Think of a trait that your family members praise you for time and time again. Is might be something you have worked at for years or is could be a quality that comes naturally to you. Strengths can be skills or qualities that can help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand patient or client needs, and apply what you have learned in your training every day. Being perceptive and observant will assist you with your interactions with others. Attention to detail will help you notice and correct mistakes. Consider the strengths that make you exceptional at your job and write them down to prepare for your interview.
14.
What do you wish someone would have told you before you started working as a recreational therapist?
When you consider working in a new field, it's important to do your research. If you have not already spoken with other recreational therapists about their jobs, you might want to take some time to ask around. You can talk with your professors or contact practitioners in your area. It's important to know what you want out of the job and be clear on your goals. If you're already working in the field, think of some of the challenges you've faced so far. It could be that you had no idea the schedule could be so hectic, or that you would have as much paperwork to do. Share what you have learned so far.
15.
What sort of game would you suggest for a group of adults who could not walk?
As a recreational therapist, you will have a stash of resources you keep handy for planning time with your patients. If you haven't worked with a group who could not use their legs, get creative. Think about some of the games you have used for other handicaps. You will want to be prepared to answer questions like these in your interview. You may be drilled about a variety of scenarios. To make sure you are prepared, review the games and activities you have learned so far and be sure you are prepared to suggest activities for the demographic of your future healthcare facility.
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30 Recreational Therapists Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. What types of experiences do you have working with the elderly population?
  2. How do you incorporate families and loved ones?
  3. What aspects of therapeutic recreation do you least enjoy?
  4. Where do you see the future of therapeutic recreation headed?
  5. Why should we hire you?
  6. What are your career goals?
  7. While attending post-secondary studies, what was your best course? Least favorite course?
  8. Tell me about a time you tailored an activity for a patient.
  9. How do you establish relationships with your patients?
  10. How would your former employer describe you?
  11. What characteristics make you a great fit for this role?
  12. What has been your favorite experience working in therapeutic recreation so far?
  13. What is your greatest strength?
  14. What do you wish someone would have told you before you started working as a recreational therapist?
  15. What sort of game would you suggest for a group of adults who could not walk?
  16. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  17. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  18. Tell me about your assessment skills.
  19. What is your favorite population to work with? Why?
  20. What is the greatest challenge recreational therapists face?
  21. What types of activities would you use with a child recovering from a broken arm?
  22. Where do you see the future of therapeutic recreation?
  23. Do you have a bachelor's degree? Tell me about your education.
  24. What is the greatest challenge you have faced so far? How did you overcome it?
  25. Have you obtained your Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) designation?
  26. What social activities have you created to help a patients social skills?
  27. Do you have any experience with addiction? Explain.
  28. How would you motivate patients who were not participating?
  29. How do you handle stressful situations?
  30. Where would you like your career as a recreational therapist to go?
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