This question is a great way to answer how well you work with others. Think about how your co-workers would describe you. How would your boss describe you? If you are the type of person that people come and ask advice of or vent to, then this is your question! As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor you strive to put clients at ease with your display of empathy. Be sure to answer this question calmly with direct eye contact. This will put the interviewer at ease as well and let them know that you are 100% engaged.
"I have a way of bringing the best out of our clients. This shows me that people are at ease with me and value the support that I give them."
As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, you help people with disabilities live fuller, more independent life by assisting them in securing gainful employment. What is the most important skill you have that makes your job easy when helping these clients? Tell the interviewer about your patience, active listening skills and your ability to effectively communicate with your clients. Feel free to share a story that showcased your skills.
"I feel that excellent communication skills are needed to be a successful Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Rehabilitation counselors need to be able to effectively communicate with clients. You must be able to express ideas and information in a way that is easy to understand."
"An important skill to have as a vocational counselor is active listening skills. I've found that it is important to repeat things back to clients and ask them to repeat them back to you to assure they understand the plan you have helped them make."
Walk the interviewer through your intake process. What questions do you ask your client? What history do you ask your client? How do you document and determine what your client is capable of and willing to work? Tell the interviewer that you also take family member and medical professionals suggestions into consideration as well.
"I think it is important to review the client's history. I evaluate their mental health, past work experience, what medical professionals they have and currently work with and what has brought them to my office. Evaluating the client's past history helps me determine their abilities and work readiness."
Skip the fake answers like 'I care too much about my job' or 'I'm a perfectionist' the interviewer has heard those before. Briefly, describe a real weakness that wouldn’t be a major handicap on the job.
" I think one area I could work on is my delegation skills. I am always so concerned about everything being done right and on time that I can get stuck in that mentality that if you want it done right you need to do it yourself. I learned this recently when given the opportunity to manage a large project at work. It definitely taught me how to delegate and my manager noticed the difference in my management style by the end of the year."
"A weakness of mine is my public speaking skills. I enjoy and do very well with one on one counseling sessions but speaking in front of a large crowd of people makes me pretty nervous. I've had the opportunity to speak to groups of 5 and 6 people at work on various topics so I'm getting more comfortable and proficient with my public speaking skills."
As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor you've had the opportunity to work with many different types of people. Be sure to do your homework to determine who your potential clients will be. Use work experience from your resume to answer this question.
"My experience with Autistic individuals spans over the last 3 years. I've had the opportunity to work with and successfully place individuals in meaningful employment."
"I don't have much experience working with the elderly but am looking forward to the challenge."
Now is your time to brag a bit. Tell the interviewer what the accomplishment was, what the impact was, who was affected and what the outcome was. Did you meet a personal goal? Exceed expectations of your boss? Did you create a successful group supporting your clients? Don't be too hard on yourself if the accomplishment didn't win awards or set the bar for future Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. This is YOUR accomplishment so you want to tell the interviewer why YOU are proud of it.
"I completed my Master's degree while working full time and taking care of my kids."
"I'm most proud of placing a client that had been working with us for over three months. This client faced many challenges and had actually been working with two other counselors before me. I never gave up on her and she was very thankful."
Every day will pose some sort of problem, that's what keeps you on your toes and makes you want to come to work each day. Have a story handy for this interview question. Tell the interviewer about the situation, how you provided support and how it ended on a positive note.
"A difficult situation I faced recently was working with an elderly client that had just suffered a stroke. After working with her for many months it was still hard to get potential employers to see past her age and it took longer than expected to place her in meaningful employment. The client and I had effective and positive sessions and I provided assistance and encouragement the whole way."
"The job market is tough. It's hard to see my clients who are already in a challenging situation be challenged in the job market as well. I'm always up front with my clients to make them aware that securing a job can take a little while."
A solid answer to this common interview question will set you apart from the other candidates. It is important to research the company website. Familiarize yourself with its history, Board of Directors, products, mission, and current projects. Mention professional awards and honors received the by the company as well as future projects that illustrate your interest in where the company is headed. Discussing the future of the organization is a win-win because it also establishes your interest in professional longevity.
"I know that you all have earned numerous awards since you have been open over the last 4 years. I know I'd like to be apart of the team."
This question is to see if you've been stagnant as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Because you are always looking for new ways to help your clients you are constantly working to improve yourself and your techniques. Tell the interviewer about any workshops you've attended, classes you've taken or a mentor you admire that has been assisting you with your professional development.
"In the past 5 years, I've been an active volunteer within my community. I've been able to learn from clients and bring that to my current position as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor."
"I've been fortunate to learn from my colleagues over the past 5 years. I've been given the opportunity to work a bit outside my position to build upon my skills."
Don't get hung up on the wording of this question. Instead of fixating on the word difficult, answer this question with what type of client you find as challenging. Describing difficult clients may turn your answer ugly and negative. Instead, answer with a recent client that was challenging and explain how you overcame the difficult situation.
"The only type of person I have a hard time working with are those that don't want to be helped. Once the client realizes that they need the help and that I want to help them they will put up a wall. Patience is one of my strengths so I am happy to wait until they are ready to move forward."
No matter how difficult, unfair or terrible your previous boss was, use this question as an opportunity to share what you learned from them and what you learned from your previous role.
"My boss taught me the importance of precision. He was particular about every little detail, from preparing for client appointments to filling out reports. I learned how to fine tune my skills and identify the slightest details that could make all the difference in a life or death situation."
You can't really fudge the results on this one. If you made a huge mistake or were reprimanded, your future employer can still find out when they check your references. You also may have some great relationships with co-workers but you and your boss didn't really get along.
"I did my best to work well with everyone and I always put in 100%. My co-workers would say that I was consistent, dependable and driven."
As a professional, you will receive criticism throughout your career. Hopefully, you were able to learn from the criticism. Tell the interviewer that you are open to constructive feedback, learn from it and apply it to your daily work.
"Often times, I seek out feedback from my peers, leaders, and mentors as a way to continually improve. One of the most useful criticisms I have ever received has been honest and straightforward about how to adapt my talents to better support the team."
Time management skills are key to being a successful Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. You will juggle multiple clients and projects and will need some sort of system to keep track of it all. Tell the interviewer about the system you utilize to manage your time.
"Time management is an important part of meeting deadlines and being successful in my role as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. While there are general activities that are ongoing in my role, I manage my time based on pressing projects and the needs of the people I support in my role. When necessary, I adapt and ensure flexibility in my time management."
Tell the interviewer that you excel at both because you know it's part of the job. Tell the interviewer that you are an independent learner and you enjoy working as part of a care team while working one-on-one with patients. Tell the interviewer that a team approach provides the most comprehensive care for the client in every aspect, as no single provider can address all of the complex needs of many clients. This is why specialties exist and why they can be so valuable to a team, so it is important to mention that you very much enjoy being a part of it.
Part of your job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is to help your clients write their resume and cover letters. You can answer this question with a story where you helped the client and they got the job. Talk about the database of sample resume's and cover letters you've built over the years and utilize. Consider creating a portfolio to bring along with you...just in case. Bring a few sample letters and resume's to show your work.
"I've been assisting with resumes and cover letters over the last 6 years. I utilize my skills to help the client work up a legible and applicable cover letter and resume."
"I've been creating resume's, CV's, Cover letters and Federal Resumes for 5 years now. When working with a client I like to work along-side them to create their own resume. I feel it gives them a self of accomplishment."
Practice, Practice, Practice! As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor you've had the opportunity to help your clients from initial meeting to closing the deal with an interview prep. Tell the interviewer that you prepare a list of questions based on the client's job opportunity. Tell the interviewer that you work with the client to come up with the best answers and provide constructive feedback.
"As a Vocational Therapist, I provide thorough and nonaggressive mock interviews. I believe that practice makes perfect and I'm to practice until the client feels comfortable."
"Absolutely! The client and I have built a relationship and they feel comfortable with me. I'm the best person to ask them the tough interview questions and coach them through the answers. With coaching and encouragement, I know they will do great!"
Your answer to this question will be important to relay to the interviewer that you have been a member of a multi-disciplinary team. Explain your communication style with these fellow professionals. How do you document your interactions with medical professionals? Use this question as your opportunity to tell about a situation where you had to involve one of these members in order to help your client succeed.
"I had been working with a client for the past 6 months and started to notice that they weren't their self. I contacted their Dr. and explained the symptoms I was noticing. Come to find out that the client needed a change in their medication and hadn't relayed that to their Dr. By reaching out to the clients Dr. I was able to help the client become healthier personally as well as improve our work interactions."
"I prefer to work on a multidisciplinary team if the situation calls for it. The more members of the team the more support it shows to the client. My goal is to show the client that they are not alone and sometimes my support isn't enough."
Now is your time to tell the interviewer about one of your biggest accomplishment. Give a brief, detailed explanation of a case and how it was a success. By explaining the process and the outcome you'll give the interviewer an idea of how you work and communicate with your clients. Showing passion for this interview question will show the interviewer that you not only love your job but that they would be crazy not to ask you to bring your enthusiasm and knowledge to their team.
"My most recent successful case I worked on was an individual that had just recently been charged with a misdemeanor. What made this successful was that the client was receptive to my counseling and we worked well as a team."
Positive attitude is #1. Your passion and attitude will shine when you answer this interview question. Talk about a situation you've had recently when you had to motivate your clients and how you accomplished it. Being able to talk about a current situation will let the interviewer know that you will be capable of empowering and motivating clients in the new position.
"I start each day and each appointment with my client with a smile. I've found that being positive and friendly helps clients be more motivated and helps our interactions be more successful and productive."
"The type of motivation I provide my clients is based on their needs. I have a direct approach to my communication style with each client. Each of my clients reacts to a different style of motivation to stay focused during our sessions and during the job hunt."
The reason the interviewer is asking you this question is to see if your goals match up with the companies goals. Be enthusiast and realistic.
"In five years I'd like to be running a support group through the office. I enjoy helping clients one on one but also enjoy group settings. I think group settings is a great way to get our clients to support each other and know that they aren't alone."
To answer this question, consider your personal characteristics, job skills and what motivates you. Your skills are strengths, which allow you to perform well. Determination, dedication, a passion for your work are great skills to share with the interviewer.
"My greatest strength is my commitment to my work. I give 110% to each task as well as to the communication between my co-workers and clients."
"My greatest strength is my communication skills. I have the ability to communicate with other professionals as well as clients. My communication skills help me every day."
When answering this question, make sure you don't try to convince the interviewer that you've never had to deal with stressful situations. What the interviewer wants to hear is how you have handled a stressful situation in the past. As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, you may have had to deal with co-worker confrontation, non-compliant clients or relapse. How did you handle these situations in the past, find a solution and move on from the situation?
"Pressure is very important to me. Good pressure, such as having interesting clients, or a client with what seems to have an impossible case, helps me to stay motivated and productive."
"I handle stressful situations one at a time. I don't allow stressful situations to stack up and overwhelm me. If I need help I'm always willing to ask."
Before your interview, it will be helpful to review your resume so that specific qualifications, dates, education highlights are fresh in your mind. When answering this question you'll want to highlight your specific work experience that relates to the job as well as your educational background. Tell the interviewer about a skill you have that directly relates to this job. Tell the interviewer about a transferable skill that you have that is not listed on your resume.
"I'm confident that the work experience and education listed on my resume shows that I'm qualified for the position. My empathy and patience with patients are a few other qualifications that I have that meek me an excellent choice for this position."
"My qualifications for this position is my formal education, various agencies I volunteer with as well as my passion for helping others."
This question is similar to 'tell me about yourself'. It's important to be familiar with all ways that this question is asked so you won't be stumped but be prepared for your 30 to 45-second elevator speech. This is your time to tell the interviewer a bit about your work history. Keep is short yet impactful. This is your chance to wow the interviewer and set yourself apart from the rest.
"When I read the job posting I noticed that you specifically mentioned you were looking for someone with experience working with Down Syndrome Patients. As you can see on my resume I have over 10 years of experience as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and 3 of those years was spent working specifically with Down Syndrome adults. What sets me apart from other candidates and will make me a valuable addition to your team is my ability to combine my work experience with my people skills. I value lasting relationships and actively seek to build those with clients, co-workers and senior managers. My passion for clients and the job I do drives me to deliver high-quality work every day."
"As a new graduate I come with a new set of eyes and the strong desire to help and give back to our community."
When answering this question make sure that you are brief. Keep this answer to 30-45 seconds or you will lose the interviewers attention very quickly. Remember, ‘tell me about yourself’ doesn’t mean they want your life story. Summarize your skills and experience in a way that make you stand out and show why you are the best person for the job.
"My name is Heather Smith. I am a Vocational Rehabilitation professional with a degree in psychology and a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. My qualifications include fifteen years of experience working for the state department. My experience also includes knowledge of various organizations that support human rights and civil rights for people with disabilities such as American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and National Black Deaf Advocates."
"My name is Heather Smith. I am a Vocational Rehabilitation professional with a degree in organizational psychology and a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. My qualifications include 5 years of experience working for Easter Seals. My experience also includes knowledge of various organizations that support human rights and civil rights for people with disabilities such as American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and National Black Deaf Advocates."
As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Vocational you help people with disabilities live fuller and more independent lives by assisting them in securing gainful employment. Your clients may have physical disabilities and injuries, mental illness, psychological disorders or substance abuse problems. You often work directly with clients as well as their families, doctors, speech therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, and other service providers in order to optimize a client’s readiness for work. As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor you recognize that employment helps boost the self-esteem of those with physical and mental impairments, and helps them to play a greater role in their own care. You help your clients achieve their goals and arrange training, therapy, job skills, and support systems that lead to success.
Skills you posses as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor are communication and problem-solving skills, empathy and the desire to help people fulfill their goals. You have amazing listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with your clients. A knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act is vital for serving as clients’ primary advocate.
Practice, practice, practice. As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, one of your duties is to conduct interviews, so you need to impress! Have a story handy of your most challenging client that you were able to secure employment for. Be sure to have the Americans with Disabilities Act details in your back pocket as this is your guide for assisting you clients.