Advice to young ATs - What questions should you ask in a job interview?

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November 21, 2017

By Sarah Walters, MOL, LAT, ATC

When you’re walking into a job interview, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your next interview. It isn’t an interrogation! It’s a conversation. Make sure you add something about organizational fit. Ask any Athletic Trainer (AT) what they wish they could tell their younger self before their first interview and you might find some of the following answers:

What are the expectations the employer has for the job?

Clarifying the vague details provided in the job description is a vital part of the interview process. Many organizations reuse job descriptions, which means they keep the exact details of the job somewhat vague in the posted job description to allow management the opportunity to discuss the details. Honestly, it is easier for the Human Resources department to get a position posted if they have a generic description ready to post when needed.

Who is evaluating your performance and how often?

While it is important to make sure you’ve got good bedside manner, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting regular constructive feedback about your clinical performance. Not only is it important to identify who is giving you feedback, but how often you’re receiving the feedback. Since it’s your first job, getting regular feedback not only allows you to develop your clinical practice, but allows you the opportunity to grow your professional network. Don’t be afraid to ask who’s evaluating your skills.

What is the pay for the position?

Knowing up front how much the organization is willing to pay you will tell you a lot about their value system. If an organization intends to pay you part-time for full-time work, it may tell you more about the value they place on healthcare professionals, including ATs.Attending college often comes with a steep price tag; you need to make sure you’re making enough money to pay off those student loans! Have the guts to say no, if you don’t think your services are valued.

What do current employees like and dislike about their job?

If you have the opportunity to interact with current employees of the organization, ask them what they like and dislike about their job. Don’t just listen to their answers; watch their body language. If they seem hesitant, avoid eye contact or are unable to respond quickly, it could be a red flag telling you about the climate of the work environment. Conversely, if the people you’re talking to can’t stop talking about all the things they love and use lots of expressive behaviors, chances are they feel valued and really enjoy working for that organization.

What professional development opportunities are available?

Many organizations are willing to support your professional development. All you have to do is ask. As healthcare professionals, we need to make sure we are always using evidence to support our practice. If your employer values their patient care, they will devise a plan to help you stay current in your clinical practice.

What’s the purpose of your sports medicine program?

This is important to ask because it allows you to determine if the organization truly acts within its values system. If what the interviewer says directly opposes the organization’s mission or values, that’s a red flag. Ask probing questions to determine if your personal and professional mission align with that of the organization. If not, this may not be the job for you!

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