This article is designed to help people applying for occupational therapist jobs who are unsure how to approach an interview situation or have been unsuccessful in interviews in the past.

Candidates applying for social care jobs such as this should prepare for the interview by:

  • researching the company
  • reading news stories related to occupational therapy
  • thinking about the specific areas in which you wish to work.

This will enable you to ask intelligent questions and demonstrate good contextual knowledge.  Re-reading the job description and original application will make it easier to anticipate the type of questions that might be asked.

Recruitment consultants can assist candidates who are worried about their interview skills by talking them through the interview process and helping them better understand the specific field within which they hope to work.  This is particularly useful for those just beginning their careers in occupational therapy.

Arriving early makes a good impression but it’s also important to be well rested, so a good night’s sleep the night before is better than staying up trying to plan.  Candidates should dress smartly in a manner that makes them feel relaxed and confident. They should be ready to make plenty of eye contact and show willingness to engage.

How to be a good occupational therapist.

Because there are so many different roles available to occupational therapists, every interview is different, but it is always important to demonstrate fluency with the specialist skills relevant to the job at hand.  It is equally important to explain how they can be taught to different types of client.  Candidates with limited professional expertise will often find it useful to reference volunteer work in this context.

A good occupational therapist needs to have the ability to connect with clients from many different backgrounds in many different situations.  Questions will often focus on the difficulties that might be presented by particular scenarios, and often there will be no simple right answer to these.  The important thing is to show the ability to identify where the problems are and outline possible ways of engaging with the people involved in order to resolve them.

Every occupational therapist interview will include at least one question on an ethical dilemma.  Again, there is often no right answer.  What the recruiters are looking for is an understanding of the issues and, in junior positions, an awareness that there are times when it’s appropriate to ask for help from a supervisor.

Occupational therapist interview questions.

  • What previous work have you done as an occupational therapist?
  • What other relevant experience do you have?
  • Of your placements which did you enjoy the most and least? Why?
  • If you do group work, what is the largest number of clients you have worked with?
  • What supervisory structures are you accustomed to?
  • How organised are you when it comes to paperwork?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a distressed or hostile client?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a complaint from a client?
  • How do you approach client confidentiality?
  • What do you like best about being an occupational therapist?
  • What is the role of an occupational therapist play in a multidisciplinary team?

General interview questions to prepare for.

  • How would you describe your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • How do you picture yourself professionally?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Why does this particular job appeal to you?