So you made it through school, you’ve graduated and passed your board exams. You perfected your resume, applied for jobs, and you finally got the call and were invited to interview for your first job as a respiratory therapist.

What now?

First of all, I just want to say congratulations! Wow, what you’ve accomplished thus far is amazing. Only a few more steps to reach your goal of getting a job as Respiratory Therapist.

Now you need to understand what it takes to succeed in a job interview and do what it is necessary to land the job. In this article, we’re going to give you some of the best job interview tips for new respiratory therapy grads that will get you closer to your goal of obtaining one or more job offers.

The key to a successful interview is to be confident, positive, and be able to communicate exactly why it’s important to hire you over the other applicants. So speak clearly and assuredly about the assets that you can bring. Now let’s get into the tips to help you prepare effectively.

Practice and prepare

The first thing you want to do is practice your responses to the typical job interview questions that are commonly asked. Think of the best answers you can give that will specifically highlight what you are good at.

Are you a good communicator? Do you work well with others as a part of a team? Make sure your answers highlight what you are good at. Try to tell relevant stories when you answer questions. This gives you the opportunity to really connect with the interviewer. Also, it is an effective way for you to remember responses to the most common questions.

You will also want to prepare a few questions to ask the employer as well, such as, “What are the top challenges of this position?” or, “What is expected of me as a new employee?”

Do your research

You will need to do your homework about the hospital or employer that you are interviewing with, because they are probably going to ask you what you know about them. You can stand out from the crowd by providing a good response to this question. Try to relate what you know about the organization to some of the responses you give to their questions.

The more you know about the employer, the more you’ll be able to understand what type of employee they are looking for, and the better you will be able to answer interview questions.

Apply for as many jobs as possible

It’s аmаzіng hоw muсh соnfіdеnсе you gain whеn you perform wеll in a job іntеrvіеw. Doing well in an interview is one thing, but еquаllу іmроrtаnt іѕ what уоu learn during the process of the іntеrvіеw. Interviews аrе vеrу informative, ѕо еvеn іf уоu dо not end up getting the job, уоu will learn quite a lot about yourself and the process which will definitely help you in future interviews. This іѕ оnе of the main rеаѕоnѕ you should apply to as many jobs as possible your first go around. Even if it’s at a facility that isn’t where you want to work, just sitting through the interview will help you get a good feel for what they are like and the types of questions you should be familiar with.

You can find all the open positions in your area using our job board search tool.

Be organized ahead of time

Have multiple extra copies of your resume printed out days before the interview, and bring them with you just in case. Have your interview attire picked out and ready to go ahead of time as well. Plan out a wardrobe that matches the organization you are applying to. For respiratory therapy positions, typical business casual attire will be just fine. Make sure your hair is neat and clean. Avoid wearing strong fragrances or any flashy jewelry. Make sure your clothing is clean and pressed.

Job interviews can come on short notice, so you need to be prepared when they do. Definitely have it all together the night before so there is no added stress the morning of.

Show up early, but not too early

It’s important to show up 5-10 minutes early for the interview. You do not want to be too early, however, because this could be inconvenient to the interviewer. If possible, drive to the hospital or facility ahead of time and know exactly where it is and where you will need to park. This will give you an idea of how long it takes you to get there. Anticipate slow traffic or other hiccups that may occur. Give yourself a few extra minutes to visit the restroom to freshen up. This allows you to check your appearance and outfit one last time.

First impressions are important

It is very important that you are polite to everyone you come in contact with the moment you step foot outside your car. This includes the receptionist, the janitor; everyone. Express a positive outlook to everyone you meet. You never know who is an acquaintance or friend with your hiring manager.

Breathe. Stay calm.

You’re a respiratory therapist; you know how to breathe, right? Try to relax as much as possible. I know this is easier said than done. It is normal to be nervous, but just try your best to be cool, calm, and collected. Introduce yourself with a good, firm handshake, but don’t break their fingers in half with a hulk-like grip. Remember to make eye contact!

Body language is extremely important. Avoid fidgeting with your pen or chair. This is a sign of nervousness. Sit up straight in your chair with good posture, like the uber-confident person you are.

Sell yourself

When the interview starts, it is your time to shine. You always want to be honest and authentic, but you are there for you, first and foremost. So your answers to interview questions should showcase your skills, accomplishments, and express why you would be a good fit for this position. Back up your answers with stories that show your capabilities.

The fortune is in the follow-up

It is always courteous to follow up with a ‘thank you’ note or email to the interviewer. Be sure to express your gratitude for the opportunity, and also use this note to reiterate your interest in the position. You may also include details that you forgot to mention during the interview. Try to send this note within a day of the interview, while you are still fresh on their minds.

Turn your biggest weakness into a strength

As a new grad, your biggest weakness is a given: the lack of experience. I’m not going to lie to you, this is a big deal for most hiring managers, as they are always looking for experienced and tenured respiratory therapists. However, there are a couple of ways that you can use your lack of experience to your advantage.

  • Your mind is sharp. And by this, I mean all the information you learned to pass your board exams is still fresh in your brain. You know your stuff, and you just proved it. In general, after healthcare professionals have been out of school for a while, the knowledge that they once had starts to fade. So you can use this to your advantage, compared to older respiratory therapists.
  • You are a like a piece of clay, ready to be molded and sculpted into exactly what they want and need. One of the biggest complaints I hear about experienced respiratory therapists is that they tend to be stuck in their ways. Times have changed and evolved, but people haven’t. They like to do things how they’ve always done them. Unlike the more tenured respiratory therapists, you aren’t like this. The organization will have the opportunity to teach and mold you into exactly what they need you to be as a respiratory therapist. They can teach you to do things exactly how they want. This is a definite plus.

Final Thoughts

And those were our job interview tips for new respiratory therapy grads. It may seem overwhelming, but just take it one step at a time. Besides, you’ve made it this far. The more effort you put into your interview preparation, the more comfortable you will look and feel once the big day comes.

And if you follow these tips, you will be on your way to landing your first job as a respiratory therapist.