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Wow, it’s finally happening! You submitted your application and resume to your dream speech-language job and you got an interview! There is only one thing between you and your dream job, and that’s the interview process. You may be experiencing a mix of feelings and emotions, and anxiety may be one of them. I’m here to tell you to relax because you got this! In this blog, I’m taking you through three of the most common medical SLP interview questions with tips on how to answer them.
If you are craving more preparation materials you can download a PDF with a list of 22 questions here: Medical SLP Interview Questions or enroll in my Interview 101 course where I teach you how to ace the SLP interview.
Sample SLP Interview Questions
What is your clinical experience?
DO: Provide a condensed version of your clinical experience in the setting you are interviewing for.
DO: Be confident and clear in your experience. Include important details such as the type of facilities you have worked at, types of therapy you have performed, and the types of patient populations you have worked with.
DO: Highlight any special certifications or experience you have that is super valuable and makes you unique and stand out, for example, FEES certification.
DO: Evaluate the non-verbal prompts that the interviewer is giving you while you are answering this question. Look for prompts that they may want you to elaborate more (such as a head nod or hand gesture to continue) or prompts that they want you to wrap up the question (such as fidgeting, looking at the time, or looking uninterested). I found the number one way people fail on this question is that they ramble on and on and lose the interest of the person interviewing them. Be keen on the non-verbal prompts you are getting.
DON’T: Don’t come unprepared to answer this. You should have a clear explanation of your experience and your skills. Also, don’t elaborate too much here and tell your whole SLP life story. This is more like your 60-second elevator pitch. For example, don’t say, “Well, I currently work in an SNF and every day I get 1-2 dysphagia evaluations and I work to complete them, then I do my treatments.” Explain the overall picture and breadth of your experience for this question.
Novice Clinician Example: “I did a clinical internship in an SNF. During this rotation, I worked with my supervisor to evaluate and treat patients who had dysphagia, speech-language deficits, and/or cognitive-linguistic deficits. We saw a wide variety of patient populations and diagnoses including dementia, CVA, and Parkinson’s Disease.”
Experienced clinician Example: “I have 15 years of experience in the medical setting ranging from SNFs to level one trauma centers. I’ve had experience in all aspects of dysphagia, speech, and cognitive evaluation and treatment including patients with high acuity to end of life palliative care. I am also certified to perform FEES, MBSS, and MDTP.”
How would you conduct a clinical swallowing evaluation/bedside swallowing evaluation?
DO: Start with the absolute FIRST THING you would do when you receive the order for the evaluation and detail through the whole process from start to finish. For example, you would get the order, review the chart, speak to the attending, speak to the nurses, interview the patient, talk to the family members, etc., etc.
DON’T: Don’t explain only the assessment protocol you would use or which consistencies you would test. Explain the whole evaluation process from start to finish.
* This question is often used as a “trick question” to see if you are thinking about every single step you take during evaluation and not just the protocol.*
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
DO: Come prepared to answer this question. It is almost always asked in an interview. Think of a strength that is a strong soft skill or interpersonal skill that makes you a good personality fit for the job. Such as, being a good communicator, flexible, easy to learn new methods, etc.
DON’T: Make your weakness sound like something that would make you difficult to work with. For example, “I have a hard time communicating with nursing/MDs”. Or, “I have a hard time learning computer things”. Remember, a job can train you for clinical skills you don’t have.
Use this question to highlight what is good about you. Choose a weakness that doesn’t make you look like you would have a hard time learning or being trained on the job.
The old wise saying on this question is to “turn your weakness into a strength”. For example, “I’m very hyper-organized and type A which takes up a lot of my time, but it ends up being a strength because I have good organizational systems.”
Get The Job
Your next job may be just an interview away. Don’t miss the opportunity to crush it on the interview and land that dream position.
If you want more practice with sample questions, you can get my free download of 22 sample medical SLP interview questions here.
Good luck, you got this!