You’ve worked hard, you’ve updated your resume, and you’ve finally scored an interview for your dream veterinary job! But now that the interview is coming up, the real work starts: trying to impress your interviewer with your skills and make the dream job a reality. Going for an interview at an esteemed veterinary clinic or animal care facility can be intimidating, no matter where you are in your career at a vet or vet tech. But we’ve compiled some tips to help showcase your talent and make a favorable impression on your future employer.
How do you familiarize yourself with the practice you are interviewing at? Do you have a strong grasp of what this clinic has to offer? Doing your research on the background the practice is essential in looking informed for your interview. Some things to make a special note of when you do your research are to find out what kind of patients they service, including whether they serve small pets or large animals; find out a bit about the layout of the practice, the grounds, and the backgrounds of the hiring managers; and if the practice or any of its employees were recognized for awards or notable recognition.
Are you ready to make a positive impression immediately? In order to make a good impression it’s best to approach the interview feeling self-assured and confident. Confidence radiates off a person and it will put the interviewer at ease. But it’s helpful to balance it with a positive comment and courtesy. When you arrive for your interview, be sure to pleasantly introduce yourself to the front desk staff and when you are introduced to the hiring manager extend your hand for a handshake and couple the greeting with a positive comment. That could be noting how nice the practice looks, congratulating them on a recent accolade, or noting your appreciation and dedication to animal welfare.
Have you recently received a noteworthy certification? Do you have a board-certification in a rarer specialty? Or are you a veterinary tech with decades of experience working with large animals? How about a special aptitude and skill with obtaining equipment? No matter what it may be, it’s important to highlight a skill of yours that will set you apart from the competition. If you have a special skill or certification that you’ve acquired through your years of hard work, be sure to mention it and how it can be an asset to the open position and practice.
The old adage, “dress for the job you want,” is true. In order to get the job you’re after it’s important to look professional and well-groomed. Making smart choices about your outfit and appearance will also help you feel more confident. Overdressing might not be the best decision, as it might hint that you’re unwilling to contribute to the messy work of animal care, but it’s also important not to underdress as it might appear sloppy. Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re getting ready for the interview: make sure that you are tidy and clean, avoid using perfume or wearing statement jewelry as both can be distracting, wear comfortable shoes to
help avoid fidgeting.
Make sure that when you go to the interview that you bring extra copies of your resume, letters of recommendation, and copies of certifications. While the hiring manager likely has a copy of both on hand, it’s important to not assume that to be the case. Since vet clinics are so hectic, there might even be a chance that the hardcopy of your paperwork might have gotten lost in the daily shuffle. It’s courteous and helpful to have extra copies of these things, especially if you’re being interviewed by more than one person.
Going on an interview can be stressful and unnerving but it’s important to have a positive attitude. Coming off as happy and positive is an attractive quality that hiring managers gravitate to. And while you might be feeling a little anxious, there are some easy ways to come off as positive to your employer. The first is to remain upbeat and smile, being warm while still being professional will help to showcase your positive attitude. The second is to avoid saying anything negative about your previous employer or why you’re looking to leave your current position. And lastly, express your gratitude for being considered for the position.
Let your interviewer know when you are able to start the job. If they are looking to staff the position immediately, it will be helpful to let them know that you can start as soon as needed.
Vet practices can be hectic and chaotic places with unexpected and unpredictable emergencies. Many practices are offering extended hours, emergency appointments, weekend hours, and even twenty-four-hour care. Stand out from the other candidates by highlighting your willingness to be flexible about the hours you’re staffed.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the variety of your skills and background. This will help show that you are willing and able to assist in a number of diverse situations should they arise. And expressing your willingness to perform any number of tasks is an important quality in the right animal care candidate.
And lastly, remember to go ready to ask thoughtful questions. The last portion of any interview will allow for the candidate to ask questions and often this is a missed opportunity. Stand out from others by coming prepared with researched and compelling questions. That could be something like “What makes the culture of your clinic different than others?” or “What performance expectations would you have for a new hire within the first three months on the job?” No matter what, be sure that your questions are sincere and thought-provoking and you’ll be sure to stand apart from the crowd.
If you follow these tips and suggestions, we have all of the confidence in the world that you’ll leave that interview having impressed the hiring manager. These are ensure to improve your odds and help you make a distinct and memorable impression in comparison to the competition.