Naomi’s 2nd blog: further interview experiences

In this 2nd blog we hear about Naomi’s further interview experiences, including in the independent sector and her first job offer….

I’m preparing for another job interview today. I applied for a job with an independent paediatric OT service a couple of days ago and got a phone call straightaway asking if I could go to an interview later that day! Unfortunately, I am at my parents at the moment so I have arranged it for next week when I am back in Cardiff. I have done a paediatric placement so I am planning on refreshing my memory with some of the information about conditions and assessments that I learned about during the placement. I also had an interview for a paediatric role a couple of months ago so I am planning on using some of the questions from the interview to help with this one (I always write down the questions I was asked after each interview- top tip!). I am also planning on going through the person specification to come up with some additional questions that they might ask that are specific to this role.

A few days later……..

I was a little bit disappointed as my interview for the paediatric post has been rescheduled for another week! I understand that these things happen, but I’d spent a lot of time preparing for it so I felt a bit down about it.

However, I did get an email today to say that I have an interview for a static band 5 post in a secure hospital. I have had lots of experience in the forensic sector so I am really excited about this one! To prepare for the interview, I’m planning on reading through my case study from my final placement in a forensic unit, refreshing my memory of the Mental Health Act (1983) and thinking of some examples relevant to the role (e.g. teamwork, problem solving) which I probably will get asked about! I’ve been asked about teamwork in every interview I’ve done so far, so I was wondering how to make my answer a bit more creative. I decided to choose a scenario from my final placement in which myself and the 2 other students organised a training session. The training was for the staff induction to educate new starters about the role of occupational therapy within the hospital. To demonstrate how we worked well as a team, I drew a mind map of all of the essential components of teamwork- having a common goal, communication, organisation, problem solving, collaboration- and brainstormed how the experience of organising and carrying out the training fitted into these categories. I then wrote up the mind map neatly to put in my CPD folder.

I also spent a bit of time updating my CPD folder so it was relevant to the role- for example putting in my learning contract from my forensic placement, as well as a reflection about an intervention that I planned and carried out.

In the interview itself I was very nervous as I really wanted the job. I got asked the teamwork question like I thought I would, and showed the panel the mind map I had drawn and explained the different components of teamwork and how they were achieved through the experience. They seemed to really like it and said that no one had done that before. I then got asked to give an example from a placement about an intervention that went well, and one that didn’t go so well. Luckily, I have done a forensic placement so had some relevant examples. I spoke about a stress awareness event that me and the other students planned on our forensic placement, which was really successful. I then told them about a disastrous social skills group which I attempted to facilitate, with a lot of resistance from the patients in the group. It ended up with the group members arguing and swearing and I wanted the ground to swallow me up! I emphasised how I had reflected on the experience and made some changes to the next session. I must have told the story in an amusing way as it made them all laugh. At the end of the interview I got told I would find out the outcome in a week’s time due to the interviews spanning a few days. I’m really impatient so kept my fingers crossed all week.

I also got asked:

What challenges do you think the patients here might face?

If you got the job, how would you plan your CPD and personal development?

What is your opinion on using restraint in secure services?

Whilst I was waiting for the outcome of the secure hospital interview I had the paediatric interview that had been rescheduled from last week. It was a lot more informal than other interviews I had done, due to the company being relatively small (a family run company). I had an informal chat about the role and my experience, with coffee and biscuits! This sort of situation suited me though as I do get quite nervous in formal situations. I made use of my CPD folder, which I had updated to reflect the experience that I gained in my paediatric interview, and used examples of what I had learned during that placement. The interview went really well and I really liked the OT who interviewed me, but I was a bit unsure about the job as it was such a small team with just one highly specialised OT. As it is a privately owned company, I was also a bit worried about my career development. For example, with the NHS, you can complete a band 5 preceptorship, be eligible for pay increases with the band system, and have a large MDT team to support your development. I was unsure about how this might pan out in this small, independent setting.

I was asked:

What experiences have you got of administering assessments?

What 3 personal attributes could you bring to this position?

What are your personal interests?

A few days later I got the phone call to say I had got the job at the secure hospital! I couldn’t believe it. After all of these interviews I had lost a bit of confidence in myself. To be honest though, I definitely feel that everything happens for a reason, as I have worked in forensic mental health for 4 years now, and feel really passionate about the area. It was worth the wait as the perfect job for me, in a great location came along eventually! I’m really grateful though that I had the experiences from the other interviews to give me an idea about possible questions. Just need to wait now to find out my start date!

Congratulations Naomi and we look forward to hearing about your first months in post…..