Girl ready for hospital job interview

To complement the article “Pediatric Massage: Touch Improves Young Hospital Patients’ Quality of Care” in the February 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: A hospital job interview is different from other employment interviews. These tips can help massage therapists stand out from the competition.

Preparing to interview for a massage therapy position in a hospital is very different from an interview in any other work environment. These tips will help you put your best, most professional self forward.

Print professional materials

Like any professional health care provider, you need to prepare a professional package to best introduce your background to future employers. Typically, these items include a cover letter and resume, but you should also include a curriculum vitae (CV) if you want to work in the hospital system.

A hospital will likely only consider the most professional massage therapists as candidates for employment. A well-written cover letter will help demonstrate your communication skills, which are a large part of working in a hospital. Your resume should include your past work history and specify those parts of your work background that may best be of benefit to the position for which you are applying.

Working in the massage field, you may not be as familiar with the CV, which is typically used by many high-level health care professionals such as physicians. As a potential hospital staff member, a massage therapist who wishes to be taken seriously in this environment should develop a CV of his employment and educational background. Include a short bio, work history, educational background, and any awards and honors that might lend you credibility and show your professionalism.

Prepare in advance

Understand that you must first present yourself in a very professional fashion, and at all times. It is imperative to show that you respect the medical community, which means learning the language, doing proper documentation, understanding the scheduling of treatments and working as part of a health care team to provide the highest level of care.

Advanced massage therapy training offers a direction for professional massage therapists to advance their practice into the health care environment. As in all massage specialties, training and preparation matter.

Before your interview, practice responding to some of these questions you may be asked:

  • Can you describe what you do, in a condensed form?
  • Why did you pursue a career in massage therapy?
  • Why do you want to work in a hospital?
  • What are some benefits of the massage you provide to patients?
  • What makes you different from other candidates?

What to bring

If you have an interview scheduled, you have already submitted your cover letter, resume and CV, but it is a good idea to bring two copies of these items with you to the interview. This allows the interviewer to read one copy, while you have one of your own for reference.

In a file folder, bring two copies each of:

  • Massage license, or documentation that allows you to practice in your region
  • Proof of professional liability insurance
  • Background check
  • Immunization records
  • Statement of good health from your physician
  • Proof of clear tuberculosis test
  • Professional certifications that demonstrate advanced and specialized training
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Mandated Reporter compliance certificates
  • A sheet documenting benefits of massage in the hospital setting, with research citations and the referenced studies attached for review

The big day

It is always best to plan on arriving early for an interview, because hospitals are quite busy and it may take some time to navigate parking, check in at the reception area and find the office where the interview will take place. Trying to arrive on time might actually cause you to be late for your appointment. These first interactions matter, and will leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.

What you wear can be another factor in making the best impression. Wearing the comfortable outfit you wear in the massage treatment room is not the best choice. Ideally, choose professional, office-style clothing—slacks and matching blazer or jacket, blouse or Oxford shirt, and closed-toe shoes—which will allow the health care team to see you as a serious candidate for this type of environment.

When you meet the interviewer, offer a firm but comfortable handshake, along with eye contact. When answering questions, sit up straight, and keep answers succinct and to the point. If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to offer all of them eye contact when answering questions. When the interview ends, always thank the interviewer, and follow up with a thank you note if it seems appropriate.

When considering any possible hospital job, communication, preparation and professionalism are the keys to success. 

About the Author

Tina Allen, L.M.T., C.P.M.M.T., C.P.M.T., C.I.M.T, is the founder and director of the Liddle Kidz Foundation, and an authority on infant and pediatric massage therapy. She has written for MASSAGE Magazine on topics including “Father-Baby Bonding: Infant Massage Builds Bridges That Last a Lifetime” (February 2014) and “Pediatric Massage: Touch Improves Young Hospital Patients’ Quality of Care” (February 2015).