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You have worked hard attending class, completing assignments and writing exams, but your work is not done. Now you need to prepare to showcase your TR knowledge and skills during TR Job Interviews. Click on the links below to find some helpful resources that TRO has prepared. Take a look at commonly asked TR job interview questions and consider possible responses, then review these important interview tips to ensure you stand out from the other candidates.

 

Common TR Job Interview Questions

 

TRO asked members who hire Therapeutic Recreation (TR) staff about the types of questions they ask during the hiring process. We have compiled a list of those questions. Keep in mind that every job interview is different, and you will obviously not be asked all of these questions (and may not even be asked any of them!). Taking some time to review this list and considering possible responses to these questions, however, can be an important part of your interview preparation. The questions have been grouped under several headings:

GENERAL / PERSONALITY

  • Tell us about yourself.

  • What are your major strengths as they relate to this position? How have you identified these?

  • What are your major areas for improvement as related to this position? How have you identified these?

  • What four words best describe you?

  • How would you say you respond to feedback about your work?

  • How have you gotten along with previous supervisors and coworkers?

  • What causes you to get frustrated on the job?

  • Are there any types of people you have found it difficult working with? Working for?

  • Do you prefer working by yourself or with others?

  • How do you deal with stress in your life?

  • What strategies do you use to organize your work?

EDUCATION

  • Why did you choose to study Therapeutic Recreation?

  • Tell me about your TR program at (the school you went to).

  • Why did you choose to attend (the school you went to)?

  • What subjects did you enjoy the most? The least?

  • What was the most enjoyable part of your TR education? The least?

  • Do you feel you did the best you could do in school? If not, why not?

  • What is the most important thing you learned in your TR education?               

KNOWLEDGE OF ORGANIZATION / RELATED EXPERIENCE / PROFESSIONAL VALUES

  • What did you do to prepare for this interview?

  • What do you know about our organization?

  • Why would you like to work here?

  • Why are you interested in this position?

  • What do you think would be the most difficult part of this job for you?

  • You may be asked about their Mission Statement, Value Statements, Philosophy of Care and how your own personal mission, values, and philosophy reflect these (i.e. you may be asked to provide an example of a time when you have demonstrated specific values).

  • How have your previous work and/or volunteer experiences prepared you for this position?

  • What skills and qualities do you possess that will enhance your work here and the lives of our clients?

  • What is your professional philosophy as it relates to working with people? What beliefs and values guide your work?

  • What role do you see TR practitioners playing on the interdisciplinary team?

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of working on an interdisciplinary team?

TR KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS

  • How do you personally define Therapeutic Recreation?

  • We follow the Leisure Ability Model (or another relevant model). Can you explain to us your understanding of this model

  • What is your understanding of Leisure Education(LE)? The benefits of LE? What are the components of certain LE models?

  • What TR assessment tools and methods are you familiar with? Which would be the most relevant / useful tool(s) or methods for this population?

  • What are some of the most valuable TR resources you have encountered?

  • What are some of the issues and trends currently impacting the TR profession?

  • What are your thoughts on registration or certification of TR practitioners?

HYPOTHETICAL / SITUATIONAL / CASE STUDY QUESTIONS

  • Be prepared for questions relevant to the position being applied for where generally unpleasant/difficult situations are presented. When responding, you should always talk about how you would deal with the situation in the moment and also the follow-up actions you would take to resolve the situation / communicate with team members / ensure the situation doesn’t happen again etc. These scenarios may be significantly longer / more complex than the ones presented here:

    • “You have booked entertainment for a special event, and the entertainers call half an hour before the event to cancel. What would you do?”

    • “What would you do if a resident falls during an exercise class that you are facilitating?”

    • “How might you modify an activity that is planned for residents with….(a cognitive impairment, aphasia, right hemiplegia etc.)?

    • “You are out in the community with a client, and the client suddenly begins yelling obscenities at a stranger. What would you do?”

    • “You are in the middle of a program, and the nurse comes in and tells Mr. Smith that it’s time for his physiotherapy and promptly wheels him out of your program. What would you do?”

    • “You are on a community outing, and you realize that Mrs. Jones who has mild dementia is not with the group. What would you do?”

    • “One of the clients at the day program complains to you about one of your co-workers. What would you do?”

BEHAVIOURAL QUESTIONS

  • Tell us about a time when…

    • You went above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done

    • You showed creativity in solving a problem

    • You had to deal with a difficult client / family member / staff person

    • You worked effectively as part of a team

    • You faced an ethical dilemma in your work

    • You dealt with conflict

    • You faced criticism

    • You demonstrated leadership

    • You demonstrated dependability

    • You disagreed with your supervisor

CAREER GOALS

  • Do you plan to become Registered with TRO and/or CTRS?

  • Do you belong to any professional associations? What do you see as the benefits of membership in these organizations?

  • What is it about working at our organization that appeals to you?

  • What are your goals in terms of professional development?

  • How do you plan to stay informed of current issues and trends in the field?

  • What do you see yourself doing 5, 10, 15 years from now?

  • What are your short-range and long-range career goals?

  • Why are you looking for another job?

  • What salary do you expect to receive?

  • Are you willing to travel? Work shifts? Weekends? Holidays? Overtime?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • If we were to hire you, when could you start?

  • Is there anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

How to Stand Out in a TR Job Interview

TRO asked professionals that hire front-line recreation therapy staff to share some suggestions with students for how to best stand out in a job interview. Here is a summary of their responses:

  • Utilize the Career Services Department at your school to assist with interview skills while you are a student. This is a free service and you will get useful feedback when your dream job is not on the line. Additionally, if you are offered the opportunity to take part in a “mock interview” at school, jump on it! Once again, you will learn about the things you did well and areas that you can improve upon so that you can put your best foot forward in a real interview situation.

  • Do your homework! Learn about the organization and position that you are applying for.

  • Practice answering some commonly asked job interview questions prior to your interview.

  • Wear appropriate clothing. Come with clean, pressed clothes. Denim is a turn-off.

  • Bring extra copies of your resume to the interview.

  • Make eye contact with the person asking you the question.

  • Ensure your tone of voice and body language are demonstrating confidence and enthusiasm.

  • Give a full answer to the questions. Many students and new grads give very brief responses to important questions. If you are concerned that you are speaking for too long, you can ask the interviewer if they would like additional examples or information.

  • Share group work and teamwork examples from school when responding to questions. Many teams work collaboratively and students can shine in this area.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak highly of yourself. If you have won awards, accolades etc, then share that information.

  • Let your personality shine. Too many students and new grads get very stone-faced in a job interview due to nerves. Organizations want to hire recreation therapy staff members who seem warm and energetic.

  • When outlining your past experiences in the interview, don’t stop there. Tell me why those experiences will benefit us. Very few students close the loop here and I am impressed when that happens.

  • Be positive in your responses, avoiding volunteering negative information about yourself, your education, or previous employers / supervisors. You will sound like a complainer and we will wonder if you will speak about us the same way in the future. Additionally, the TR profession is a “small world”. You may be speaking negatively about someone that the interviewer knows.

  • Portfolios bring mixed reviews. Some employers appreciate seeing your accomplishments summarized in a portfolio, while others find them cumbersome (see next point). If you take a portfolio to an interview, know how to use it to your advantage. That means being very familiar with what is in it and where it is located. When you are speaking about your skills and accomplishments, be able to flip quickly to an item in your portfolio that demonstrates that experience.

  • Large, bulky portfolios filled with documentation from years back is a turn-off. We won’t have time in the interview to look at it in depth. If you offer to leave it with us, then we have an issue of getting it back to you. Some students have done well by preparing an abbreviated version, photocopying it and leaving it for us to keep.

  • When deciding on who to include on your reference list, think about the people that can share the most relevant information about your suitability for a TR position. This might include an academic reference, former placement or internship supervisors, and related work supervisors. As you gain more experience, your reference list should be updated to include the most TR-specific references as employers will want to know how you relate to clients, and what skills and knowledge you can offer them.

  • Take your reference list with you to every interview (especially if your resume says “references available upon request”). Ensure that you have discussed the position and interview with all references on your list prior to providing contact information. Your references want to be able to speak highly of your skills in relation to the position. They will be able to do this most effectively if you have told them about the specific position for which you are being interviewed. Always thank your references after the interview and let them know the outcome.

  • Be prepared with a few questions to ask the interviewer(s) at the conclusion of the interview (e.g. can you outline for me the department policy on continuing education?). Take the time to type out those questions. It will demonstrate you are prepared and organized. It also helps you articulate your questions clearly. If you have not prepared any questions to ask the interviewer, this may indicate that you’re not really that interested in the position.

  • Don’t ask about time off, vacation or rate of pay too early. These are better asked in a second interview or when you are called about references.

  • Don’t ask me at the conclusion of the interview how you did. I won’t tell you and you have put me on the spot, which is not advisable!

  • Always send a follow-up to the person who set up the interview thanking him or her for the opportunity to meet with the team and to express your interest again.

  • Do a self-evaluation at the end of the interview, especially if you were not successful in getting the job. What could you improve upon? How can you do better next time?