AuD Interview Prep

23 Feb

Something has got to change!  I know it’s this swing shift schedule, but until that is possible, something else.  I slept almost 11 hours Sunday night, then was still so tired I took a 40 minute nap today.  I hate feeling low-energy and unmotivated so much!  I feel like I have more time then I’ve ever had before, but I’ve made very little of it.  By the time I almost catch up on sleep, I have to go back to work and that runs me down again.

Since September, I’ve tried to have good sleep hygiene and go to bed at the same time every day (12:30AM, b/c that’s what time I can on work days) but it’s for the birds.  I never adapted to becoming a night person.  Apparently you just can’t fight your body’s normal rhythms–and mine is an early bird.  My body wakes with the sun–no matter how tired I am.  And I’m very, very tired ALL the time.  So starting now (I took off work to go to my interview in Utah) I’ll be going to bed early on the days I can.

Here is my feeble attempt at preparing for interview questions I know I’ll get.  Normally, I would have liked to write good essay responses then attempt to memorize them to be super-prepared, but it’s just not possible when you’re tired all the time.  I feel lucky to have gained this much traction.  Anyway, I’m telling myself, too rehearsed won’t be authentic, so maybe it’s ok I just have general ideas this time.  Besides–even if I do perfectly and get accepted–who knows if I’ll actually be able to afford to attend.  Bummer, but realistic (see Saint George awfulness).

I’m mostly worried about the travel logistics at this point:  Will the Greyhound be cold?  Will I have to pay $40 +++ to check heavy luggage (I HAVE to take interview stuff), can we drop the rental car downtown or do we have to cab it to the airport and back, does the hotel have an iron (and do I know how to use it?), will campus driving and parking be slow, will I have to wear interview flats in a snow storm?!  So you see how the questions are a little bit of an afterthought.  I figure I’ll have plenty of time to think about them on the 18hr bus ride. . .

UU AuD Timeline Poster

1]  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

-4.0 S&H GPA

-experience in the Speech & Language Lab at Riverpoint

-tutoring my peers

-ambassador (presentation, camp, hearing screenings)

-clinical experience at vet hospitals

-organizational skills

-communication skills

-more life experience

-ability to prioritize

-I want to speak about reading/typing outlines of all my textbooks prior to each semester to familarize with the material and have good notes.  Also mention how I’m on 422 days in a row of running at least 1 mile first thing every morning. But without saying something cliche that everyone else will say, and without using any word which also has a negative connotation.[disciplined (conjures violence or spanking too much), industrious, persistent (coming from a place of adversity/failure or stubborn), intrinsically motivated (over-used), enterprising]

Cons:

-undergrad GPA that doesn’t reflect my potential.

-Because I switched career paths after earning my undergraduate degree, I do not have as much observation experience as I would like.  I am eager to participate in all the available career avenues and hone my clinical skills.

-As a perfectionist I have tended to fret about things beyond my control in the past.  Currently I am making a concerted effort to prepare for the things I can, and let the rest go.  I think gratitude is an enemy of worry as well, so I am working on thinking about things I am thankful for rather then fixating on details beyond my control.  

Write them down to organize your thoughts. Compose examples and situations where you have excelled in demonstrations of your strengths. Do not dwell or belabor weaknesses. It would be better to talk about areas you wish to improve and skills you want to perfect.

-example scenarios:

-areas I want to improve:

-My undergraduate GPA doesn’t reflect my potential, but I feel like my speech and hearing sciences 4.0 shows improvement in my time management skills.

-Because I switched career paths after earning my undergraduate degree, I do not have as much observation experience as I would like.  I am eager to participate in all the available career avenues and hone my clinical skills.  

 -Right now I’m working on worrying less.  In the past, my perfectionism made me fret over details beyond my control.  Lately, I am trying to prepare for things within my control, then let go of the rest.  Instead of defaulting to anxious thoughts, I’m making a concerted effort to have gratitude for what has gone right and what I do have.

2.  What is it about this particular job that interests you?

-personal fulfillment of helping people like my Dad who have NIHL, Menere’s DZ, and PTSD.

-it’s more regulated and standardized then vet med

-opportunity to work in many different areas, and across the age spectrum

 -autonomy

-the strategic aspect of finding the appropriate tests 

-getting to actually perform the clinical tests

-My favorite part of audiology is continuity of care.  It is a health field where you are autonomous and responsible for the patient throughout the process:  collecting a history and using it to strategically find and carry out the appropriate diagnostics, instead of refering.  Then, the education about the condition and treatment is carried out by the audiologist, and finally, the overall communication is remediated by an audiologist in order to improve quality of life.  It is personally gratifying helping people through the entire process.

A question like this is a good segue into informing the interviewer that you know something about the facility. It is appropriate to mention areas of expertise for which the institution might be known and how they might be of particular interest to you.


3.  What do you want to be doing five years from now?

-Five years from now would be my first year, completely out of school, as a professional.  I hope to be working in a place that offers the most aspects of the audiologists scope of practice.  Under someone willing to mentor me as necessary, but also willing to let me be independent when I am able.  Since I have undergraduate loans, expect to acquire more debt in an audiology program, and am confident I will have proficient skills, I also hope the pay in competitive.

-Before I cement a decision about what aspect of the career I want to participate in, I would like to gain more clinical experience in a variety of areas.

-Currently, my biggest interest is aural rehabilitation/habituation, but I feel that should be applied to any part of the field.

-Though I am not locked into any particular area right now, I see myself using my meticulus nature to identify hearing, balance, and overall communication issues, using the best clinical assessment techniques, and remediating those problems using a combination of technology and a long-term humanistic approach.  I’m eager to learn about each pathway!

This is a commonly asked question, the answer to which can be very telling about your thought processes as well as personal organization. If you cannot answer this question, you are possibly indicating a lack of direction. It does not give assurance to the prospective employer that you are worth the time and money they will be investing in you.

4.  Tell me about yourself.

-I have a bachelors of science in Animal Science with a minor in chemistry from the University of Missouri.  More recently, I completed my post-bachelorrette in the Speech and Hearing sciences at Washington State University.  

-Working in the Language Laboratory at Riverpoint opened my eyes to the type of research being conducted in the field, and combined with my more hearing-based classes, got me excited to contribute to this base of knowledge.  

-I am excited to enter into a profession where I have autonomy and can conduct my own diagnostics, because that was one of my favorite aspects of being a (paid) veterinary assistant for 14 years.

This is another revealing interview probe. It is called an open-ended question. You are forced to choose what you feel are the important aspects of your life and experiences. These questions are not just revealing about your past, but also show how you think on your feet and conduct yourself. Stay on the right track when answering this question. Talk about your professional life and not your personal interests. Begin by reviewing your educational background, clinical experiences and academic accomplishments. Sounds like your resume? It should, but with a personal touch.

5.  What can you contribute to this job?

-Tutoring my peers in speech & hearing sciences, used a lot of the same skills that will be required of an audiologist.  I looked back at my notes, flashcards, and study sheets which required organization.  I compassionately sensed deficits, and confirmed them through sensitive communication.  Then, I presented information and tips in a coherent and entertaining way, paying close attention to learning progress, attention, and remaining confusion.

-the same meticulous nature that helped me transcribe language samples of toddlers and their communication partners in the language lab will help me analyze symptoms and histories and carry out the proper diagnostic tests in order to diagnose and remediate communication issues.

-the same compassion for people that I show for animals.

Your emphasis in answering this question should be on your strengths and accomplishments, and how they might integrate with the job and the facility.

———–

What made you decide to pursue a career in [your profession]?

-I found the profession while researching potential careers.  Audiology fit me best because I can directly help people and there are many areas within the scope of practice.  Also, it did not hurt that my Dad has had hearing loss for as long as I can remember and I was motivated to give people like him a better chance.

How did you investigate a career in [your profession]?

-I was very driven to find a career path outside of veterinary medicine, because I had never entertained any other options for myself.  I made a list of things I liked about the veterinary field and those I really did not like, and sought out a profession that kept the positive traits while minimizing the more negative aspects.  

+ using my compassion to help, feeling like I am making a difference, educating, performing diagnostics, having many areas within the scope of practice.

–no upward mobility without a higher degree, people seeing pets as expendable objects that aren’t worth treating, little regulation, unrealistic work hours

What skills have you developed outside the classroom?
How have your personal and volunteer experiences strengthened your goal to enter [your profession]?

I recently observed at the local ENT and left with more enthusiasm for the profession.  I recognized a lot of the procedures and diagnostic tests from my textbooks and lectures, but became excited by the people.  For instance, I had severely underestimated the adorableness of VRA just reading about it.  Seeing a 20 month old react with such delight made me anticipate working with a real caseload.  Working with a geriatric CI-user also made me excited to work with that population.  I had already been interested in the procedures and the science, but adding the people made it that much better!

What has been your favorite non-science course and why?

I always enjoyed writing.  It is a useful skill, and there are many formats to use and gray areas.  Also, I think it’s a good skill to have.

Why do you want to become a [your profession]?
What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome?

I applied to veterinary programs many times, and was either rejected or could not afford to attend.  It was difficult looking beyond my childhood aspirations to find practical careers that exemplified my talents.  It also required a lot of diligence and a positive attitude not to let failure hold me back a make me bitter.  I started from square one and put my all into speech and hearing sciences.  Not only was it rewarding to achieve a 4.0 GPA, and work as a tutor to help others, I feel like this was my proper place all along–I just hadn’t known it existed.

What teamwork experiences have you had?

-camp Na-Hash-Nee, campus health fairs

What branch of [your profession] most interests you?

I’m hesitant to pick one because I do not want to limit myself before I have clinical experience.  —So far I like aural rehab, but I think that carries over into every aspect.  

-Seeing the children during my ENT observation made me entertain working with them.  But I also liked working with the geriatric CI-user.

What issues confront [your profession] today?

-I am reading a lot about insurance companies only covering one hearing aid for people with bilateral hearing loss.  At the same time I am seeing more and more research on the relationship between hearing loss and clinical depression and dementia.  I think the latter research will give more legitimacy to the audiology field and hopefully, with that appropriate funding will follow.

-Also, I read that the average person waits 7 years between the initial diagnosis of hearing loss and getting fitted with a hearing aid.  The dementia research in addition to the quick rise of technology, may help motivate people to get help sooner.

Why are you interested in this particular school?

I think it is important to gain clinical competency as early in school in possible, and I like University of Utah’s model of shadowing a 2nd year student during the 1st semester, then gaining direct hours starting the 2nd semester.  

I also read each student has clinical placements in 3 different settings prior to their 4th year externship, and I think that would be invaluable experience.  

Finally, the psychoacoustics and receptive speech research labs present unique opportunities to gain more knowledge and present possible funding opportunities that could offset tuition costs.

What have been the strengths and weaknesses of your college preparation?

-My hard-science classes such as chemistry, physics, genetics set me apart from many students and give me good background information for audiology.  

-My psychology courses combined with community service, teaching, tutoring, and veterinary experience prepares me well for human interaction across the age spectrum.

-If I had to determine a weakness it would be my undergraduate GPA.  But that number does not reflect what I learned from those courses, or my ability to succeed in a difficult program.  That GPA is actually a strength because I earned it while working at a demanding veterinary job (sometimes 3 at a time) and while participating in community service and extracurriculars.  I have shown that I am capable of earning higher grades, even while working, now that I’ve done it for years now.

What is your biggest concern about entering professional school?

Because I am not independently wealthy, I am concerned about my student loan debt accumulating to an unmanageable level.  Because finances play a big role, I am willing to do whatever it takes to secure the best package I can for myself.  That said, I came from a pre-veterinary background, where veterinarians (very competitive and saturated in small animal private practice jobs) are paid relatively low, and have the highest debt to income ratio of any professional.  Just as I wasn’t then, I am not in it now, for the money.  I am actually happy with the average salaries earned by audiologists and confident the AuD will enable me to secure a good job in a timely fashion.  

What has been your greatest achievement?

I am proud about earning 10 scholarships.  Because I am not independently wealthy, I worked very hard to apply for every scholarship I was remotely qualified for, and it paid off.  

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Describe an experience you had helping others.
If you are accepted to multiple schools, how will you make your decision?

I would love to pick the school that offers the best research, most varied clinical experience, and best externship opportunities, but ultimately I have to keep an eye on keeping my student loans to a minimum.

What have you read recently in the press about [your profession]?

-England’s audiology troubles:  More patients, less time/patient, and insurance covering only 1 hearing aid.

-How technology is evolving and smart-phones are being adapted to ALDs, mouth-gadgets are being produced and studied to remediate hearing issues.

-I read a study based in Australia that showed initial audiology appointments are following a paternal model, instead of a patient-centered one, despite research that shows having a voice in the decision-making process increases patient-compliance.

What do you believe in?

-Primarily I believe in ethics.  That extends from upholding my personal values, even when it is not easy, to practicing audiology in a compassionate, humanistic way.

What do you care about?
How does your sense of caring express itself?
What is your favorite type of teaching style? How do you best learn a new subject?

-I learn best through tactile or kinetic practice.  I write vocab words or statistics on flash cards to study.  I also draw pictures of mnemonics on study sheets in order to learn information.  It helps me to see how something is done, then to actually do it myself with some guidance and support, then do it in repetition individually.  

Who knows you the best in this world?
How would that person describe you, and what advice have they provided you?
Who are your heroes?
What person, past or present, would you most like to meet?
What makes you a better applicant than others?
How do you relax?
Describe your best teacher and what made her or him unique.
What was the last book you read?
Describe an experience where you were misjudged.
Who are your senators? Congressmen? Governor?
What was your most difficult or demoralizing experience?
What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?

Sympathy is having compassion for another’s situation.  Empathy is actually feeling what the other person does because you have personally experienced a similar situation–it is more extreme then sympathy.

Is there anything you want to brag about or that you need to explain?
What is the toughest thing about being a patient?

Putting your health in the hands of another, and having to trust someone else.  I think this difficulty can be combated with a lot of communication combined with compassion.  If someone feels educated about their condition, diagnostics, and procedures they feel more in control of their fate.  If they feel compassion they are more at ease. 

What type of criticism upsets you?
Why did you choose this school?
What will you do next year if you don’t get into this program?

I will continue to observe audiology and apply to more schools in the next application cycle.

Is this school your first choice?
Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want to tell me?

————–
What you should NOT talk about at the interview:

Good conversation keeps things lively, interesting and informative. However, there are some issues and topics you should avoid during discussions about you and your job.

Your personal life
Gossip about other professionals or job candidates
Politics (professional or general) and religion
Anything you know nothing about
Negative conversational topics
What about when it’s your turn to ask the questions?

You should be prepared to ask questions, not just to impress the people with whom you meet, but to find out some very practical details about the job.

What are the specifics of my job duties, and what is expected of me?
What are the goals of the facility?
Where is this facility headed regarding managed care?
How secure and permanent are jobs?
What sort of interactions can I expect from my supervisors?
Is research done here?
Is there support for professional growth?
Are there educational benefits?
What are other benefits like health, pension, sick and holiday leave?

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