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Why this matters:

Physical therapy assistants (PTA) work with new clients daily: it’s important for initial sessions to make a strong first impression and set both parties up for a successful partnership. This question will reveal how the candidate performs the necessary intake — and gets started on a rehabilitation plan.

What to listen for:

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strategic approach when working with new clients
  • Positive, friendly attitude

Why this matters:

The key role of a PTA is to help come up with treatment plans for clients and adjust those plans as needed. It’s important for candidates to be organized and strategic in the way they approach every client’s situation so that they can make changes that lead to the best possible results for a client’s recovery.

What to listen for:

  • Organized way of storing and analyzing patient information
  • Flexibility when it comes to adjusting patient plans
  • Effective means of measuring progress and determining next steps

Why this matters:

Physical therapy assistants will have to use various pieces of equipment when treating clients. It’s important for PTAs to know how to properly use certain devices or exercise gear so they can effectively use them on their clients, and teach clients how to use the equipment themselves.

What to listen for:

  • Experience using a variety of equipment
  • Knowledge of how and when to use specific equipment
  • Good communication skills when it comes to showing clients how to use equipment

Why this matters:

Physical therapy assistants will work with different types of people throughout their careers: some easier to work with than others. This question is intended to reveal patience and persistence — and show you how candidates might inspire a resistant client to be more cooperative and enthusiastic about their own recovery.

What to listen for:

  • Patience, empathy, and persistence
  • Strategies for getting clients to comply
  • Past experience working with difficult clients

 

Why this matters:

Both showing up for PT sessions and performing home-based exercises can be challenging for clients, especially if they have limited mobility, are in pain, feel discouraged about recovery, or are just busy with other things. This question will reveal the candidate’s ability to get clients to do their part — and keep working toward full recovery.

 

What to listen for:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Effective tactics used to motivate clients
  • A positive, encouraging demeanor

 

Why this matters:

PTAs have to be good team players that keep themselves open to collaboration. Conflicts may arise occasionally, and it’s important for candidates to be able to resolve these situations in ways that don’t compromise the business — and put client care first.

 

What to listen for:

  • Rational thinking
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Ability to back down or compromise

Why this matters:

By motivating patients on their road to recovery, physical therapy assistants make measurable differences in the lives of others every day. This question can tell you what motivates candidates to connect with patients and do their best work.

What to listen for:

  • Passion and commitment
  • A sense of the importance of their work to patients
  • A real desire to improve the lives of others

Why this matters:

Part of being a PTA requires being realistic about client recovery — including the ability to communicate any limitations. In some cases, patients will not be able to fully recover from an injury or illness, which makes for a difficult conversation. Good PTAs are able to have productive discussions with clients and their loved ones about the reality of their situations.

What to listen for:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Empathy and understanding for patients and their families
  • Ability to accurately assess a client’s situation and possible recovery

Why this matters:

Physical therapy assistants need to be a lot of things: kind, caring, knowledgeable, patient, personable. The candidate’s answer to this question will give you insight into their own approach. You will be able to assess the candidate’s personal priorities to determine what kind of PTA they will be, and whether that’s aligned with what you’re looking for.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of what makes a good PTA
  • Any personal details that help explain the candidate’s character
  • Insight into what they prioritize
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