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Exercise Science Interview Questions

Below are sample interview questions for your field. In preparing for your interview, you should also review typical physical therapyinterview questions asked of all majors, thoroughly research the organization, dress professionally, and visit the interviewing skills section of the SU Career Center’s website. You can practice your interview skills online via Quinncia or schedule a mock interview with a Career Center staff member.

Below are sample Exercise Science/Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy/Strength and Conditioning interview questions.

Exercise Science Interview Questions

-What was the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
-How do you deal with difficult people?
-Why do you think you would be good in this profession?
-What were the three most important aspects for you when you chose this as a career?
-What were you major accomplishments during your internship?
-Can you tell me about the most difficult client you have had to work with? What made working with that person so difficult? How did you overcome the difficulty?
-What type of exercise program might you develop for a wheelchair-bound senior and how would you implement the program with the client?
-How do you plan to assess a new client? What methods have you used for assessing a client’s ability?
-How might you go about developing an exercise program for a client that is severely obese? What must you take into consideration before beginning?
-Name three potential injuries, which could result from a strength-training program for seniors. How would you treat or respond to these injuries?
-Share an experience in which you provided appropriate medical care to a participant in physical distress.
-Provide an experience in which you recommended an effective method to increase lifestyle physical activity.
-What factors do you consider when prescribing individualized exercise programs?
-Describe your experience measuring body fat.
-What methods have you used for assessing a client’s ability?
-Let's say that I am going to come to your worksite today and observe you working with a client. What will I see?
-How might you go about developing an exercise program for a client that is severely obese?
-What must you take into consideration before beginning?
-Name three potential injuries, which could result from a strength-training program for seniors. How would you treat or respond to these injuries?
-What type of exercise program might you develop for a client who is pregnant?
-Describe a time when you encouraged a person who was not willing to do something you wanted them to do.
-Tell me about a time when you experienced a lack of motivation.  What caused this?  What did you do about it?
-What was the most valuable classroom experience you had at Salisbury University with regard to your major in Exercise Science? What made it so valuable?
-Recall a time when you participated on a team. Tell me about an important lesson you learned that is useful to you today.
-Tell me about one of the most difficult and demanding tasks you have had to complete, whether during school or at work. Were you satisfied or dissatisfied with the outcome? Why?

Occupational Therapy Interview Questions

Questions About You
1.    Tell me about yourself.
2.    What are your two best points?
3.    What are your two weakest points?
4.    What are three things you want to change about yourself?
5.    How do you handle conflict?
6.    Explain your leadership/research/volunteer experiences.
7.    What extracurricular activities are you engaged in?
8.    Which of your college courses interested you the most?
9.    What interests you outside of Occupational/Physical Therapy and getting into Occupational/Physical Therapy School?
10.    Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
11.    What do you do in your spare time?
12.    Why did you choose the undergraduate school you went to, and if you could, would you do anything differently?
13.    What do you do to relieve stress?
14.    What course was most academically challenging for you?
15.    What life experiences have made you a better person?

Questions About Your Occupational/Physical Therapy School Goals
1.    Why do you want to be an Occupational/Physical Therapist?
2.    When did you decide Occupational/Physical Therapy was a good career choice for you?
3.    What steps have you taken to confirm that you want to be an Occupational/Physical Therapist?
4.    What do you feel are the most important qualities in being a good Occupational/Physical Therapist?
5.    What opportunities have you had to observe an Occupational/Physical Therapist?
6.    How will you handle the stress of Occupational/Physical Therapy school?
7.    Outside of Occupational/Physical Therapy school, did you ever consider any other health profession?
8.    Why do you believe you have the ability to undertake the study and work involved in Occupational/Physical Therapy school?
9.    Explain the role of an Occupational/Physical Therapist.
10.    What did you like/dislike about the Occupational/Physical Therapy offices you have observed?
11.    What would you like to do if you are not accepted into Occupational/Physical Therapy school?
12.    What steps have you taken to acquaint yourself with the role of an Occupational/Physical Therapist?
13.    What aspects of your life experiences do you think makes you a good candidate for Occupational/Physical Therapy school?
14.    There are many specializations in Occupational/Physical Therapy, which specializations are you more interested in and why?

 Questions About Occupational/Physical Therapy Program
1.    Why do you want to attend this Occupational/Physical Therapy program?
2.    How are you a match for this Occupational/Physical Therapy program?
3.    Describe your method of learning.  How does this fit with the Occupational/Physical Therapy program?
4.    What schools did you apply to and why?
5.    What do you look for in a good Occupational/Physical Therapy program?
6.    Why do you want to go to school here?
7.    Why should this Occupational/Physical Therapy program choose you over other candidates?

Current Issue/Scenario Questions
1.    If you walked into a hospital room to work with a patient and they wanted to wait until a TV program was over, how would you handle the situation?
2.    You have a patient whose English stills needs some improvement and you do not speak their language, how do you overcome the language barrier to assist them with their needs?
3.    Provide an example of a time that you had to make an ethical decision. What was the situation and what did you do?

Physical Therapy Interview Questions
  • How well do you work in groups? What is an example of when you took charge of a group?
  • Give an example of a time when a conflict arose in a group and how did you handle it?
  • When is a time you had a lot on your plate and how did you handle it?
  • What have you learned from your clinical experience?
  • Where do you see yourself ending up? Where did you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What is something people tell you that you need to work on?
  • What qualities do you see in yourself that relate to you as a professional?
  • What is your definition of a professional?
  • What is the most difficult decision you've had to make and how did you arrive at your decision?
  • When is a time that you had to overcome a challenge?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
  • When did you have to do something that you did not agree with?
  • Explain why some of your prerequisite grades were a little bit lower than your other grades?
  • What is something positive that has resulted from managed care?
  • How would you choose who would receive life-saving care, such as dialysis, first?
  • Suppose you walk into a hospital room to work with a patient and she refused because her favorite TV show is on. What would you do?
  • Why did you choose to pursue PT instead of another health profession such as a doctor or nurse?
  • As a PT, what duties would you assign a PT assistant that you wouldn't an aide?

Interview Questions for Physical Therapy School

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to be a Physical Therapist?
  • Why did you choose to pursue PT instead of another health profession such as a doctor or nurse?
  • What kind of experiences do you have in the field?
  • What did you learn from your clinical experience?
  • Describe some of your most challenging and enjoyable observations?
  • What do you think is the most challenging aspects of being a physical therapist?
  • How do you see physical therapy evolving in the next ten years?
  • How have your personal and volunteer experiences strengthened your goal to become a PT?
  • In what kind of a setting and/or location would you like to practice?
  • How did you select this school and why do you want to attend?
  • What strengths and skills do you possess to become a successful physical therapist?
  • What are some of your weaknesses?
  • What qualities or characteristics do you think make a good physical therapist?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • Do you think college grades and test scores are an accurate measure of your aptitude?
  • What would you do if a customer(patient) accuses you of a bad service?
  • What motivates you to do your best?  How do you motivate those around you to give their best effort?
  • Describe a time when you had to take a leadership role in coaching or instructing someone.  
  • What do you think is the most pressing issue in our field today?  What are some of the possible solutions?
  • What will you do if you are not accepted to PT school this year?
  • Why should we choose you for our program?

Interview Questions From You:

Regular Treatments
–Is therapy performed at bedside or in a gym?
-What are your productivity goals?
-How many units a day do you expect your therapists to bill?
-What constitutes one unit? (For example, are units calculated in 15 minute increments?

-How many evaluations do your therapists perform each day?
-How much time do you expect an evaluation to take?
-What responsibilities will I have that do not contribute to my productivity? For example, team meetings, patient
-What percentage of your staff members are meeting your productivity expectations?

Weekend Rotations
-Will I be a part of a weekend rotation?
-Are there any days during my placement that will be considered holidays?
-How long will it take to travel between the facilities that I’m expected to cover?

Rehabilitation Team Environment Questions:
-How many therapists do you have on staff?
-What’s the ratio of PT/OT/ and SLP therapists?
-Who will be my supervisor?
-What is your policy concerning continuing education?

Orientation Questions:
-When will I be orientated for this position?
-What does your orientation involve?
-How many hours are allotted for orientation?

Documentation Questions:
-How do you record documentation? Do you have a computer system, or a paper system?
-How long does it take the average therapist to become proficient with this system?

Strength and Conditioning Interview Questions

What’s your coaching philosophy?
Why did you decide to get into strength & conditioning?
Why are you interested/would like to work here? Would you be a good fit here? Why?
What do you know about the University of _________?
What would you do with the __________ team?
What would your highest priorities be with the ___________ team?
How do you handle the regulation or rules and expectations?
How would you handle a repeatedly non-compliant athlete?
What are the philosophies that drive your program design?
How do you build mental toughness in athletes?
What’s your philosophy on nutrition counseling?
How would you work with a ________ team and a _________ team differently(compare and contrast)?
How would you handle speed and agility training with a __________ team versus a _________ team(compare and contrast)?
How do you motivate the athletes?
How important is it for you to attend practices and games/competitions and why?
Why do you think the __________ program/team where you worked is so successful?
What do you feel makes a strength & conditioning coaching staff most successful?
How would you approach/do speed and agility training with the ________ team?
What is your training philosophy and personality?
How do you interact with coaches in regards to your program?
How do you handle over-bearing coaches?
What are your goals in the field of strength & conditioning?
Where do you see yourself in 2-3, 5, 10 years?
What do you want your team’s perception of the weight room to be?
What would sport coaches you have worked with say about you?
How would you handle an injured athlete?
What can you bring to our program?
What are your biggest strengths/weaknesses as a coach?

Personal Trainer Questions:
  • What Certifications do you have?
  • How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
  • Why do you want to be a personal trainer?
  • What experience do you have with customer service?
  • What is your personal experience with fitness and working out?
  • Are you CPR certified? When does it expire?
  • Tell me about an experience you had serving an unhappy customer. What did you do?
  • A client complains that she injured her arm during your last training session. What do you do?
  • How will you find new clients to train?
  • Do you have insurance?
  • Why should I work out with a personal trainer?
  • Won't I get the same results working out on my own or taking an exercise class?
  • I downloaded some training programs on my ipod. How is working with you different?
  • Do you have references from previous clients?
  • What is your refund policy?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Why did you decide to become a personal trainer?
  • Why should we hire you instead of somebody else?
  • What is your greatest strength...and the classic followup...your greatest weakness?
  • Give me an example of how you work while under pressure
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Do you have references?

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