If you decide to apply for a job, you might be selected to come in for an interview. A successful interview is a key component of landing your desired job.
There are many jobs available to you today, in venues including clinics, chiropractors’ offices, other massage therapists’ practices, franchises and spas.
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Review your research about the company, such as its history, mission and organizational structure.
Be prepared to share how you feel that your education, experience, personality and ancillary skills will be an asset to the company. Several people with equally good qualifications could be interviewing for this position, and your knowledge of the employer’s mission, goals and business philosophy can go a long way to demonstrate your interest and work ethic.
The Interview Questions
During the interview you should talk up your strengths and experience and how you’re a good fit for the job.
You can also expect an interviewer to ask you some tough questions. This is a list of the main categories of questions interviewers are likely to focus on:
Future goals and plans
The two most challenging of these categories, for the person applying for the position, are abilities and job suitability—so we’ll look at some potential questions and responses related to those categories.
Under the abilities category, the interviewer might ask, “What are your weaknesses?” Think carefully about your response. Whatever weakness you choose, it shouldn’t be a true liability. You should also turn a weakness into a strength.
A good example of this is, “I have a tendency to be a bit of a perfectionist, but I also work to keep a sense of balance about this.” This conveys that you’re conscientious and interested in self-improvement.
To evaluate job suitability, an interviewer may throw one of these questions at you: “Why should I hire you?” or “Why are you the right person for this position?” This type of question is often asked toward the end of the meeting.
Some possible responses are, “Based on our meeting, I believe you’re looking for [. . .]. Given my experience and training [elaborate on those skills and personality strengths, and give examples that demonstrate your abilities], I know that this position would be a good fit for my skills and abilities.”
Another sample answer is: “Based on our meeting, it sounds like you’re looking for a highly-skilled, flexible person with initiative and an ability to put clients at ease—someone who is dedicated to doing their professional best each day. My experience tells me that I’m a good fit for the job. Also, I like the company and admire its success. It seems there is a good team environment here and I value that.”
In short, communicate in a confident, concise way why you’re a good match for the position.
A related job suitability question is: “What makes you different from the other practitioners applying for the job?” This is a great opportunity to highlight your related skills and background.
If you are a recent graduate, you might say something like, “I graduated at the top of my class. I scored high marks on all of my clinic evaluations. I also have done considerable volunteer work and enjoy working with others. I previously worked as a front line manager at [name] store, where I supervised employees and oversaw customer satisfaction.”
Usually toward the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”
This is your chance to shine. Here are some sample questions you can pose:
- What was it about this company that made you want to work here?
- What does this company value the most?
- What is the most important thing I can do to help within the first two months of my employment?
- When senior practitioners leave the company, why do they leave and where do they usually go?
- What do you see as my strongest assets and possible weaknesses?
- Do you have any concerns about me fulfilling the responsibilities of this position?
- Where do you see me best fitting in?
- What are the possibilities for growth and advancement here?
The Successful Interview
Practice interviewing with a friend to increase your comfort with talking about your skills, experience, and what you’re looking for in a job.
Articulate your strengths by using concrete examples and stories to emphasize how your skills and abilities are a fit for the job. Know the company’s mission and explain why you want to work for the company.
Work on polishing your answers to possible interview questions and asking meaningful questions about the job.
Focus on concise phrasing and conveying a positive attitude. Experiment with ways to control the interview without monopolizing the conversation. Keep in mind that the best communicators are also the best listeners. You must be confident, and most important of all, you must be prepared.
- Dress appropriately and be well groomed.
- Schedule ample time in case the interviewer wants you to give a massage.
- Be enthusiastic, confident, and polite.
- Bring an appointment book or an electronic calendar.
- Bring a printed sheet with at least three references.
- Be on time.
- Be prepared. Have all necessary documentation available.
- Be well poised, centered, and relaxed.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Use positive wording and listen carefully.
- Know what sets you apart from the other candidates.
- Have a list of unique skills, education, or attributes you can bring to this business.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and how you plan to compensate for those weaknesses.
- Be prepared to discuss each item on your resume or job application.
- Have at least three questions that you can ask the interviewer
- Prepare a response to the inevitable interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”
- Avoid discussing salary and benefits in the first interview.
- Thank the interviewer when done.
- Send a thank-you card to everyone with whom you’ve spoken.
Working as an employee can help you hone your skills; not just your hands-on work, but in the areas of client communication and teamwork as well. Employment can be an important component of your massage career.
By applying the advice offered here, you will be positioned to have a successful interview and land the job you want.
About The Author:
Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach, international workshop leader and successful business owner since 1978. She has served as a faculty member at a massage school, acupuncture college and holistic health college. Sohnen-Moe is the author of Business Mastery and Present Yourself Powerfully, and co-author of The Ethics of Touch. She is a founding member of and is the past president of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. She is a frequent contributor to MASSAGE Magazine, and her articles include “Get More Massage Clients with Targeted Marketing.”