Music Therapy Interview Questions

By February 18, 2013 Success

Music Therapy Interview Questions

Job interviews are rough. I’ve experienced a few, some recent and some not so recent. You are judged on your character and abilities, and importantly, your ability to impress strangers to the point of hiring you with relatively little face time. The purpose of this post is to share some of my experiences, in hopes that they may help you prepare for future interviews. Music therapy students: pay attention!

My first recommendation is to try, whenever possible, to interview in person. Phone and Skype interviews are convenient, but you will best express yourself and show off your abilities and personality if you are physically present. Phone interviews are, in my opinion, quite awkward. You can’t see the speaker, which means you can’t respond to his or her body language. Furthermore, sound quality is never optimal, and there is the possibility of misunderstanding the interviewer’s questions.

My second recommendation is to go in confident. Yeah, kind of a no brainer, but I also wanted to share some strategies for doing so. First, watch this video on the importance of body language. The important insight here is that changing our body language can actually influence the ways we act and feel; it’s not merely a reflection of how we feel.

A second thought on confidence: review key concepts and approaches that are common to the setting in which you would like to work. For example, if you are applying for a job in a psychiatric facility, refresh your memory on various approaches, such as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, etc.

Another recommendation is to go in with good questions. Some that I like to ask are:

How does your company/hospital/facility support the ongoing learning and development of its staff?
What characteristics are you looking for in your ideal candidate for this position?
How is music therapy viewed by other healthcare professionals in this institution?
How do you see the role of the music therapist fitting in with the other disciplines? Are there opportunities for collaboration and cot-treatment?
What percentage of time is spent in direct patient contact versus documentation, rounds, learning songs, office tasks, etc.?
How is this position funded?

handshakeAnd here is the bread and butter of this post. I’ve been keeping track of some of the interview questions I’ve been asked in the past few months. I’m going to share them with you, so that you can consider what your answers would have been.

What experience do you have working in this type of setting? What considerations are important?

Our institution requires that you work with co-therapists, team leaders, supervisors, and administrators. How do you go about facilitating cooperation at all different levels, and what do you do when you encounter resistance?

Talk about a session in which your goal was to enhance cultural understanding and facilitate an appreciation of diversity.

Talk about your experiences as part of an interdisciplinary team. What was music therapy’s unique contribution?

How do you report progress back to the team?

How would you describe your music therapy approach/philosophy?

What is your approach when working with minimally responsive patients or patients who are very low functioning?

What do you do when a patient is reluctant to participate in music therapy sessions?

What programming have you implemented that was designed to help the patient in their continued recovery after discharge?

How have your professional and educational experiences prepared you to work in this position?

How do you go about involving family members in patient treatment?

How do you use research to inform your music therapy practices?

If you were a food item, what would you be? (don’t say lemon. or radish.)

I hope this gets you thinking, whether you have an interview coming up in the next few weeks or you are secure in your job or private practice. I think they are good questions to consider, regardless of whether or not you are actively seeking employment.

Have you been involved in any interviews lately? Either as an interviewer or interviewee? Please share your insights in the comments!

Have a great week, friends!

Matt Logan

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5 Comments

  • Hana says:

    I have my first MT interview tomorrow, and I’ve been worrying myself sick all day… And then I came across your entry. Your tips are extremely helpful! I will certainly use some of the questions you posted. I loved the video too; I won’t forget to pose as a wonder woman in the bathroom before meeting my interviewer! Haha, thank you so much!

  • Rachel says:

    Great post Matt with useful information!

    Another tip I would recommend is about your resume–1- no longer than 1 page front and back 2-bring extra copies of your resume and anything else that would be relevant (essays, lit reviews, anything related to the setting you are applying for). It shows that you have come prepared and are well organized.

  • Roia says:

    Matt, these are great questions- both the ones you’ve asked as an interviewee and the ones you’ve been asked. I haven’t really had a lot of interviews, but periodically I’m invited to sit in on interviews for new music therapists at our facility. I appreciate your sharing these thought-provoking suggestions!

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