Tips for a Successful Rehab Therapist Job Interview

Tips for a Successful Rehab Therapist Job Interview


It’s very common for one to be nervous during a job interview. However, you can take this opportunity to sell your skills and abilities. By the time you’re ready to apply for jobs and conduct interviews, you have already completed a rigorous education and training in your respective field of physical, occupational or speech therapy, and you may already have hands-on experience. Acing the job interview is the next step in achieving your ultimate goal of practicing rehabilitation therapy. In order to have a successful first interview, there are certain things you can do to get ready for the big day.

Even though there is no way to predict what the interviewer will ask, you can better prepare yourself through the following steps:

  1. Review the job description. Understand what the employer is looking for and highlight certain skills that are job requirements. Think of past or current work experiences that align with what the employer wants. For example, Cornerstone Rehab clinicians work in skilled nursing settings with older adults. Experience working with older adults in a similar setting can be a plus. Write down what makes you a good candidate for this position. 
  2. Research the company. Know who they are and review the company website. Be prepared to share what you know about the employer. Pick something from their website to make mention of, such as recent growth, history, etc. 
  3. Know yourself.  Prepare a 30 second speech that describes you as a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist or Speech-Language Pathologist. Highlight any accomplishments and let your resume present details of your experience. If you had a memorable patient experience that had positive outcomes, be prepared to share it with your interviewer.
  4. If you know who is going to conduct your interview, research their background, look them up on the company website and on LinkedIn.
  5. Practice interviewing. The best way to do this is with a friend, classmate or colleague, and write down your answers to the following possible interview questions: 
    1. Tell me about yourself and any experience you have that relates to this job; years of experience, education, training, technical knowledge.
    2. Tell me why you are interested in this rehabilitation therapist position. For example, you’re career oriented or want to gain valuable experience.  Why do you want to work with older adults? 
    3. What 3-4 qualities do you have that make you a good candidate for hire? You could discuss work ethic, being a team player, being highly motivated, having excellent written and verbal skills, etc.
    4. Prepare a summary of a difficult situation and how you overcame it; project an accomplished/education goal you achieved or weakness you have (perhaps taking on too much work) and how you learned to prioritize and manage it successfully. 
    5. Talk about an experience either during training or previous work that left an impression on you. 
    6. What do you know about the company; review the company website and write down a few notes about what they do, their history and why you want to work for them. For instance, read the CSR story here and learn about what makes them different. Check their social media sites to get a good idea of the company culture. 
    7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Are you career oriented, looking to gain more experience, interested in moving up into a management role, etc?
  6. Make certain your answers are short and to the point. Though you might be nervous, try not to ramble. Practice!
  7. Always dress appropriately for your interview. Whether you interview in person or over a Zoom call, it’s important to make a good impression.
  8. Finally, when you are finished with your interview, remember to get the interviewer’s contact information and send a thank you note. This will help you get the job by demonstrating your communication skills as well as your follow-up skills.

A special thank you to Susan Safran, Director of Talent Acquisition with Cornerstone Rehab, for providing her knowledge for this article. Susan has more than 25 years of experience in the staffing industry, and she has managed and trained recruitment professionals in the rehab industry.  

Cornerstone Rehab specializes in placing qualified clinical service professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists in skilled nursing facilities within our rehab management partnerships.  CSR is serving skilled nursing facilities in Kentucky, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For a complete list of career opportunities at CSR click here.