How to Ace the Interview Face-to-Face
Hiring processes vary by company, but as a candidate for a position in a veterinary practice, a face-to-face or working interview is expected. This is a prime opportunity to show the practice everything you have to offer. In-person interviews give you a chance to delve into your compatibility with a practice.
When interviewing face to face, you can often “read” the personality of your interviewer and use that information to put your best foot forward. You may also be able to pick up on personality traits that might possibly clash with your own to the degree that you decide not to pursue the position.
The American Animal Hospital Association’s Associate’s Survival Guide written by Samuel M. Fassig breaks interviewers into the following basic categories and suggests means for appealing to that type:
1. The Studious Interviewer
Tell-Tale Signs: Indirect eye contact, limited gestures, slow and deliberate speech, shows little emotion, does not share personal feelings, well-organized, walls will be bare except for diplomas.
How to Adapt: Answer questions with specific facts; be reserved but not cold; avoid being emotional; be conscious of time, but do not be hurried; expect to negotiate.
2. The Friendly Interviewer
Tell-Tale Signs: Focuses on feelings and people; relaxed and informal atmosphere; frequent eye contact and hand movement; warm colors and personal photos in office.
How to Adapt: Stress human issues, perhaps the human-animal bond; give the interviewer a reason to trust you.
3. The Enthusiastic Interviewer
Tell-Tale Signs: Focuses on ideas, concepts, and the future. He or she will often jump from one thought to another. This person tends to be a risk taker. Quick movements; uses hands to talk; speaks quickly and controls the conversation; laughs easily; office may not be well organized; creative work may be displayed.
How to Adapt: Show enthusiasm and support for the interviewer’s ideas; control the flow of the interview by asking questions; summarize as you answer questions; demonstrate your creative side.
4. The Serious Interviewer
Tell-Tale Signs: Appears hurried and impatient. He or she acts quickly, appears forceful, and maintains a formal atmosphere. Has an air of confidence, uses limited gestures; is formal and deliberate in voice pattern; organized; tends to display trophies and awards.
How to Adapt: Be friendly, yet reserved; present facts; be brief and organized in your responses and avoid becoming defensive.
The above four categories are not all-exclusive and there are certainly anomalies out there, but if used as another tool in your interviewing toolbox, the guidelines should prove useful. Interviewing is a two-way street and the above techniques and tips can help increase the odds of finding the right fit.
Associate’s Survival Guide. Samuel M. Fassig. AAHA Press. 2005.
About the authors: Stith Keiser is a former hospital administrator and founder of MyVeterinaryCareer.com, where he has been matching veterinary professionals with practices since 2007. Jessica Goodman Lee is a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and is the hospital administrator of Angel Veterinary Center in Flower Mound, Texas. She is also a veterinary matchmaking specialist for MyVeterinaryCareer.