How to Nail the Job Interview Looking for a new job this summer? Brush up on preparation and expectations for the interview. School Matters
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School Matters  |   May 01, 2015
How to Nail the Job Interview
Author Notes
  • Deborah Adamczyk Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP, is ASHA director of school services. ddixon@asha.org
    Deborah Adamczyk Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP, is ASHA director of school services. ddixon@asha.org×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / School Matters
School Matters   |   May 01, 2015
How to Nail the Job Interview
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.20052015.32
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.20052015.32
Spring is often a time of renewal and re-energizing. It’s also a time when many people look for new jobs. Given that ours is a field that’s experiencing shortages, audiologists and speech-language pathologists are fortunate to have varied employment options. However, it’s important to be prepared when an appealing opportunity comes your way.
Before the interview
First, update your resume. Keep it concise, but highlight your individual skills and experiences. Employers receive many resumes, so they look for something that makes a candidate stand out when choosing whom to interview. There is a great deal of guidance online and from university placement offices to help you to develop your resume. If you use online resources, check the site’s credentials.
Examine the job description carefully and craft a resume with a cover letter that speaks specifically to the qualifications listed. If you want to move into a different type of job, make the case in your cover letter as to how your expertise qualifies you for the new responsibilities. If you apply for your first supervisory position, describe your leadership experience and/or training.
Be sure to note any knowledge of the laws and regulations that drive audiology or speech-language pathology practice in the schools. And don’t forget to include collaboration experiences.

If you want to move into a different type of job, make the case in your cover letter as to how your expertise qualifies you for the new responsibilities.

When contacted for an interview, ask questions to make sure you understand expectations. Is there anything you should bring to the interview? Will you be asked to do anything beyond the interview itself? (You may be asked to provide a writing sample or design a lesson plan for a treatment session.) Will a group or just one person conduct the interview?
Prepare thoroughly for the interview. Familiarize yourself with information available about the employment setting or school district. Talk with colleagues who may also be interviewing for jobs. Ask what type of questions they’ve been asked and what their interview process was like.
At the interview
On the day of your interview, make sure that your appearance is professional and appropriate and conveys confidence. Consider all you know about nonverbal communication and be sure your own nonverbal signals send the message you intend.
During the interview, give specific answers with examples. Don’t be afraid to discuss your accomplishments. This is your opportunity to shine! Offer samples of your work as appropriate. Be enthusiastic and positive. Research the position and school ahead of time to anticipate questions they might ask.

Consider all you know about nonverbal communication and be sure your own nonverbal signals send the message you intend.

Practice and prepare answers for common questions. These include:
  • Why are you the best candidate for this position?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses? (Always talk about these in a positive way.)

  • Why are you interested in this job/district?

  • How would your previous supervisors/colleagues describe you?

  • Discuss three of your accomplishments.

  • How do you develop collaborative relationships with colleagues?

  • What do you see as the biggest challenge in this field?

  • Why have you chosen to work in the school setting?

  • If I walked into your treatment session, what would I see and hear?

Have a set of questions ready to ask the interviewers. Questions about opportunities for professional development, workload and measures of success are appropriate.
After the interview
Follow up with a handwritten or e-mailed thank-you message to all of the interviewers.
Finally, don’t waste time applying and interviewing for positions that you’re really not interested in taking. Conversely, if you come across a job that is enticing but you’re not sure is a good fit, do some research before you pursue it and then take a chance.
School-based audiologists and SLPs are talented, enthusiastic and skilled professionals who have much to offer their school community. Do your best to demonstrate this before, during and after each interview.
You Landed the Schools Job…Now What?

Check out ASHA Schools 2015—a conference that’s 100-percent applicable to school-based SLPs—to learn more about Common Core State Standards, childhood apraxia of speech, universal design for learning, enhancing outcomes for children with hearing loss, using tablet apps in treatment, and other topics. The conference, July 10–12 in Phoenix, features thought leaders, hands-on information and networking opportunities. Visit www.asha.org/events/schools for information.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
May 2015
Volume 20, Issue 5