Prepare to Rock the CF Interview
Ready to start interviewing for your Clinical Fellowship?
As the Recruitment Director for Bilingual Therapies, part of my role is help prepare Clinical Fellows for some pretty tough interviewing and to ensure that my CFs have the competitive edge. Here are my top seven recommendations:
1. Please Enjoy the Music
Do get rid of ring back tones. Potential employers do want to speak with you, but don’t want to “enjoy” the music while your phone rings. Update your voicemail message. It should clearly state your first name and not contain any music. And don’t go MIA. As a graduate student, we know you are extremely busy, but all telephone calls should be returned within 24 hours. It is much better to call back a potential employer and set-up a time to speak in a day or two rather than to call back in two weeks and lose out on what might have been an awesome opportunity.
2. No Polyester Please
Do invest in a good quality, tailored suit. No polyester. Make sure that it fits perfectly. Ladies, invest in both slacks and an A-line skirt to match the blazer. You will need the skirt for a first interview. Wear a coordinating button-down shirt or blouse, nothing sleeveless. Men, a serious tie is a must. Do slick back very trendy hair styles. Visible body piercing should be taken out and cover tattoos.
3. Grand Entrance
If you are getting a ride, ask that person to drop you off and to wait for you somewhere else. Do not invite the driver to wait in the lobby during your interview. Be punctual, but don’t arrive too early. Five minutes before your interview is fine.
4. Round and Round
Do not talk in circles. Practice clearly and directly answering potential interview questions. Be specific and provide examples. Tape record yourself. You should be able to provide a clear answer in sixty seconds or less. Try to eliminate “um,” “like,” and “you know” . Ask your current externship mentor to ask you a few interview questions and provide you with specific feedback.
Do relax—a little. I spend the first five minutes of an interview making small talk. Your response during casual conversation is an excellent gage if you will be a fit with the organization’s culture. Do be honest but know that the chatting is still part of the interview.
6. Bottom Line
Do thoroughly research the company beforehand and ask thoughtful questions. Can you see yourself learning, growing and contributing with this organization? Will you have excellent supervision and a plan for becoming an independent clinician? No monetary package can make-up for building into your future as a therapist. Move on to find the right fit if these pieces are not present.
7. It’s a Small World After All
Don’t write the organization off if during the interview you feel that the position isn’t a good fit for you. Write a hand-written thank you note to everyone that interviewed you. Never burn bridges. You never know where your future will lead you or to where it will take you back.