Q&A: Working Interviews — What to Expect

Hi, Sharon!

I have an interview for a vet assistant position at a local emergency vet hospital in Sacramento. I was told there was going to be a sit-down (normal, I guess) interview and then the woman mentioned if I would be available for a “working interview” afterward that same day. I agreed, of course, since I would love the job but I’m not quite sure what is to be expected of me, especially since I don’t really have any experience working for a vet and doing technical procedures. Most of my experience is basic care and husbandry. Have you ever done a working interview before? I’m wondering what I should expect – just observing or actually doing stuff. Also, what in the world should I wear? I want to look professional and nice, but I feel like something more comfortable and expendable (like scrubs) could be better for the working interview.

Anyway, I just wanted to see if you had an opinion on the matter or any advice when it comes to working interviews in the veterinary field, particularly when it comes to vet assistant type positions.

Thank you for your time and good luck with your studies!

Best,
KC

2/8/11

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Hi KC –

I have not personally done a working interview before, but I anticipate that I will need to in the near future as that is not uncommon for an interview as a veterinarian.

Essentially, a working interview is what it sounds like – you will be working as if you were in the practice. They will want to see how you mesh with everyone, how you handle situations and what your people skills are like in addition to technical and practical skills. Some clinics may want you to do things such as restrain animals and place catheters but there are potential factors legal/insurance related that may prevent clinics from allowing that before you are hired as an employee.

Nevertheless, I would say that you should definitely wear scrubs for the working interview part of things but I would want to look professional for the sit-down part of the interview. Perhaps, what I would do is arrive in professional attire and then change into scrubs when they are ready for me to do the working part of the interview.

Hope that helps!

~Sharon
Life In Vet School & Tips On Getting In

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UPDATE: KC Got the Job! Here’s Her Experience with Working Interviews:

Since I came into the position not having experience, I mainly shadowed an RVT and observed what everyone was doing around me. I helped with really simple things – cleaning cages, taking out the trash, maybe holding a dog or two. I also got asked a lot of questions about me, my background, what my past experiences with animals looked like. I feel like it was simply a way for people to get a sense of who I was and if I would fit into their group of techs as well as how much initiative and drive I had. Granted, it was dental quarter at our hospital, so my direct supervisor was incredibly busy doing dentals the entire time I was there, so she couldn’t really have any one-on-one time with me. Now I feel that potential new hires get a better sense of what goes on at our hospital while getting quizzed and taking a tour of our facility during the working interview portion.

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