Picture yourself pinning down a large pit bull who is peeing all over the table while you administer anesthesia as cats cry in the background, the phone is ringing off the hook, and you can hear a small terrier whimpering and banging itself against the kennel. Your job will be stressful. Knowing how to handle stress will help you to navigate the ups and downs in a constantly changing environment. Take some time to think about what you would be able to do when you are busy at work feeling your heart rate rise and your nerves begin to shake. Your coping skills outside of work might be difficult to apply, as you can't stop what you're doing and run to yoga class. However, you can take deep breaths and allow yourself to take a break in between patients. You can laugh about the fact that you are covered in dog shit and you can enjoy the company of your coworkers. Getting through the tough parts of your job requires you to have a good perspective and be able to make light of situations.
There's a lot of pressure to choose the right action to take when an animal is being treated for an illness or injury. Sometimes you walk a thin line. How do you assess the situation to choose what's best? Luckily you have the help of your partner in crime, the veterinarian, to assist you with decision making.
Tricky question, eh? Here's the deal: if your boss asked you to do anything outside of your job description just say, "Yes!" As a vet tech you will have a wide range of responsibilities already, but there may be times when you're asked to do something an assistant typically does. You might even be asked to take care of something a veterinarian does! When asked to do something you don't know how to do, now that's a different story. "Sure, can you show me how to do it? I have an idea, but I could use a little help." While we encourage an enthusiastic YES to anything your boss asks of you, use discretion. Make sure it's a task you're knowledgeable about it enough to give it a go. If not, don't be afraid to ask for help!
Oh the joys of being covered in vomit and anal gland secretions! A vet tech's job is anything but glamorous and certainly not for the faint at heart. This is likely your least favorite part of the job, and understandably so. Here's a sample response to the question: "Cleaning up after animals can be pretty disgusting, but it's just part of the job. I keep a positive attitude and remember that I'm helping these animals, and that's what gets me through it. I've experienced some pretty gross situations, like expressing anal glands that exploded in my face, so I think I can handle anything." Giving a brief example of a scenario you handled will show the interviewer that you understand the dirty side of the job and you can handle it.
"Cleaning up after animals can be pretty disgusting, but it's just part of the job. I keep a positive attitude and remember that I'm helping these animals, and that's what gets me through it. I've experienced some pretty gross situations, like expressing anal glands that exploded in my face, so I think I can handle anything."
Excellent question! You will need to know how to manage a long list of responsibilities as a vet tech. Have you ever worked in a job before where you were expected to multitask between answering the phone, handling a customer in front of you and maintaining records? The key to time management is find what works best for you. Often times we don't learn this until time gets the best of us and something falls through the cracks. Here are some tricks to managing your time: - Prioritize. - Maintain a schedule. - Set alerts on your phone or computer. There are many helpful tricks you can apply to your new job. Start thinking about them now to help prepare yourself!
Do you think a 100 lb. Labrador Retriever will have the patience to sit through an hour long vet appointment? There are several reasons why a veterinarian would try to keep visits short and quick. One reason is revenue: you can see more clients in a day if you keep the exams short. If you work for a corporate chain, this could be a company standard. When you think about performing your duties within a 15 minute time frame, keep in mind that the goal is efficiency, not speed. If you rush through an exam, you're not providing quality care and you are more prone to mistakes. A great response to this question would be, "I am thorough, completing patient paperwork and assessing the animal, keeping them calm during the process. It will take practice, but I feel confident that I can fulfill my duties if I am focused and aware of the time." Yes, it will be difficult, but practice, your accuracy and speed will improve!
"I am thorough, completing patient paperwork and assessing the animal, keeping them calm during the process. It will take practice, but I feel confident that I can fulfill my duties if I am focused and aware of the time."
First of all, what are your goals? Maybe you want to work at a zoo. You might even aspire to work in veterinary internal medicine. This question may seem overwhelming as you are entering your first job in a new career. Take heart! It's okay if you don't have your future all figured out! Here's a way to answer it: "I really enjoy helping sick and injured animals in emergency situations. Right now I am refining the skills that would help me work in critical care." You may be asked a follow up question like, "Why do you enjoy emergency medicine?" or asked to give an example of a situation. Talk about the details. What skills and knowledge will you gain from this job you're applying for that will help you to accomplish your goal? Knowing how this new position will fit into your career goals and articulating that to your interviewer will help you score extra points!
"I really enjoy helping sick and injured animals in emergency situations. Right now I am refining the skills that would help me work in critical care."
Your clients at the vet clinic will have a variety of pets, some more surprising than you might think. Depending on the clinic, you may treat exotic birds, hamsters and rabbits. Review the website of the clinic before you go into your interview to make sure you're familiar with all of the animals they treat. Then think about animals you have handled, in a clinical and home setting. The vet wants to make sure you're comfortable with the animals you'll be handling at their clinic. Be confident in your skills! Discuss your vast experience with anything from ferrets to Great Danes! How is it more difficult to work with a hamster than a kitten? How are the personalities of animals different?
Do you remember when your dog Skippy was taken to the vet as a child and he never came home? How devastating to lose a pet. They become a furry family member on four legs. Your ability to relate and show compassion to pets and customers will help you throughout these situations. Putting an animal to sleep is sometimes the most compassionate choice when they are suffering. Consider responding in this way: "When I am forced with no better decision but to euthanize a beloved pet, I take time to talk with the owner and explain the situation. I give them choices and time to think it over. I am sensitive to the customer and the animal's needs and I try very hard to not get emotional."
"When I am forced with no better decision but to euthanize a beloved pet, I take time to talk with the owner and explain the situation. I give them choices and time to think it over. I am sensitive to the customer and the animal's needs and I try very hard to not get emotional."
Now that you're in the field, you know what to expect. If you're working with exotic animals, you might wish that you took more classes on the subject. Maybe now you're interested in the intricacy of performing surgeries on animals but you need further training. How have your interests changed since you started working as a veterinary tech?
When you start a new job, you may be excited about the company and the people you'll get to work with, but there are some unknowns you can't predict. It's up to you to roll with it or get frustrated. Maybe your boss implemented a late or tardy policy that you didn't agree with. Or it could be that you only had 15 minutes to assess a patient and you thought you needed at least 30 minutes. How did you handle it? Being passive in these situations isn't necessarily the best response, but you also don't want to get upset in front of your boss. We recommend a peaceful solution. Calmly offer your stance, but be okay with your boss's reasoning, even if it doesn't make sense. You have to pick your battles. How have you done this in the past?
Vet techs are expected to give great care to their customers and their animals. They need to be flexible, hard-working and willing to deal with the smelliest, dirtiest of situations. They need to be accurate, decisive and smart. With all of these qualities in mind, think of an example that might apply to your new role. Examples of providing amazing customer service to turn an upset customer into a happy one or staying late to finish a project when everyone else went home are both great ways to show you went above and beyond. Take some time to prepare a couple of examples you might use in your interview.
Interview tip: Walk into the interview knowing you are the best person for the job and be able to tell them why. Other candidates may offer more experience and a broader spectrum of skills, but you offer something unique that will make you an asset to the company. Remember that! Now, how do you talk about it? "My compassion for animals and my commitment to accuracy and precision make me excellent at my job. I care about quality and understand the importance of efficiency. I am also easy going and fun to work with." The more you know about the company, the culture and the veterinarian, the more you will know what to share when asked the question. You want to highlight the areas of your skill that you know are important to them. And if you know how much they value teamwork and positive attitudes, talk about how you embody those values.
"My compassion for animals and my commitment to accuracy and precision make me excellent at my job. I care about quality and understand the importance of efficiency. I am also easy going and fun to work with."
What do you like most about this company? If it's small, you can find out most of the things you'll need to know on their website. If it's a larger company, you might be able to find out more about them through other sources like employee reviews. Take some time to research more about their mission and other notable aspects like how they give back to the community. When asked, you'll be prepared to share what you like most about the company.
"I like that you are a family owned clinic. You have a great reputation among pet-owners and take such pride in the way you treat animals. I want to work alongside a vet I respect. All of those qualities make your clinic a place I would want to work."
Do you prefer working with small animals or large animals? Are you most interested in biomedical research or clinical pathology? What area of veterinary medicine is most interesting to you? "I enjoy the challenge of performing surgery on small animals. There are so many details to think about, like how much anesthesia to administer with the least side effects." As you contemplate why you chose that particular area of focus, think about the skills it takes to perform something like surgery on a cat. What are the qualities that will make you a pro as you perfect these procedures?
"I enjoy the challenge of performing surgery on small animals. There are so many details to think about, like how much anesthesia to administer with the least side effects."
You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. As you prepare for this question, picture a few scenarios that have occurred in your current or previous position. How did you respond? Are you reliable and on-time? What are some of the qualities that are important to you in a coworker? Think about how you embody those qualities and share 2-3.
As you can imagine, this scenario is very common. Most pets get antsy when their owner's try to put them into the car to go to the vet. Once they arrive, they may be crying and whining, like a small child who knows they are about to get a shot at the doctor's office. How do you calm them down? What techniques are helpful? Sometimes you can't calm them. You simply need to distract them or perform the assessment quickly. You can say something like, "I hold them closely and speak softly to them, moving as quickly as possible throughout the procedure." Use your knowledge of animals if you don't have the technical experience just yet.
"I hold them closely and speak softly to them, moving as quickly as possible throughout the procedure."
The challenge may not be your ability to maintain accurate records. It might just be balancing all of the other duties along with it. Talk about your attention to detail and ability to stay calm, even if the customer or their pet are not. You also want to be thorough, reviewing records to check for accuracy. If a customer gives you information that you're not sure was recorded correctly, do you double check by asking them? What systems do you have in place to make sure information is correct?
No one wants to show weakness in an interview. Talking about failure seems like it might hurt your chances of getting the job, right? Wrong! If you can talk about a time you failed with precision and poise, you may help your chances! Here's how: 1) Think about a time when you made a big mistake at work. What happened? Did you forget something important? Was it a careless mistake? 2) How did you handle it? Did you apologize? Did you make things right? What were your choices? Sometimes you can't fix the problem but you can definitely learn from it. 3) What did you learn? Going forward, maybe you will read an email over a few times before sending it. Showing you care enough about the quality of your work and how it affects your coworkers is a hard quality to find! Prepare an example and recite it to yourself until you feel confident talking about it in your interview. Focus on what you learned and try not to get caught up in the details of what went wrong.
Problem solving can be extremely difficult, especially in a chaotic environment. It's not always possible to prevent issues, but sometimes when the stars align, you are able to see something coming and take care of it. With animals, this is particularly important and possible! One way to prevent problems from occurring with owners and their pets is education! Educating owners about the food they need to feed their pets and the tendencies certain breeds have towards certain illnesses will keep animals healthy and customers happy! For your example, the problem doesn't have to be catastrophic. Describe a time you fixed a technical error or left 30 minutes early for work because you knew the weather would caused terrible traffic!
Know the types of surgeries that could be performed on large and small animals in every area, from abdomen to deformities to wounds. Obviously you are not the veterinarian and will not be held accountable for the depth of knowledge and experience, but you need to be familiar about the different therapeutic and surgical procedures. You may want to brush up on your diagnostic testing as well. The vet wants to know if you can be trusted to work alongside him. It's worth studying your terminology before the interview to make sure your future partner in crime feels confident in your skills!
A veterinary technician works under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian. Their main responsibility is to help the veterinarian with testing animals and diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries. The exact scope of practice varies widely depending on the type of veterinary clinic they are working in.
The route to becoming a veterinary technician is not as rigorous as that of a qualified veterinarian. Veterinary technicians complete a 2-year degree program accredited by the AVMA or American Veterinary Medical Association. A genuine love for animals is a crucial requirement for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a veterinary technician.
At your interview, the interviewing panel will be very interested in knowing more about your interest in animals and if you know exactly what this role entails. Completing an internship in a veterinary clinic is one of the best ways to demonstrate your passion for animals. At mock interview questions, you will find many more questions that will help you prepare for your upcoming veterinary technician interview.