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Interviewing at a Vet Clinic

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by DairyGirl, May 3, 2012.

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  1. DairyGirl

    DairyGirl

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    Pre-Veterinary

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    I applied to a local veterinary clinic for a veterinary assistant/kennel assistant position and they called me today and want me to come in for an interview tomorrow! I have never interviewed at a veterinary clinic before so I have a few questions.

    What I should wear to the interview? I don't want to dress up too much but I also want to show them that I am taking it seriously. I have a really nice pair of dress jeans, would they be appropriate or should I go for something a little more business like?

    Also what should I expect for the interview. What kind of questions are generally asked? And what kind of questions should I ask?

    I am nervous for the interview tomorrow so any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. bipolarbear123

    bipolarbear123

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    I was very casual for my interview (jeans and a cardigan). I was interviewing for a vet assistant, so I didn't think there was a need to dress up.

    You should research the clinic a little bit, and be able to answer "why this clinic?" Does the clinic have dentistry that you are really interested in? Do they have some sort of special service that you want to be involved in? Look at the clinic's website to find useful information.

    You should also be able to answer why you are qualified to fulfill the position you are applying for. You should have reasons for this, but I brought up my past volunteer experience, and relevant classes I have taken. Most importantly, I discussed how my goal is to go to veterinary school and how I would benefit from working at the clinic, and how they would benefit from working with me.

    Other than that, they asked me some specifics about my resume (i.e. what I did as a volunteer here and there, etc.). So, of course be familiar with your resume.

    Good luck, and relax! They want to interview you for a reason, so be confident!
  3. RackingHorse

    RackingHorse

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    I always make it a point not to wear blue jeans to an interview. Some employers may not care whether you wear jeans or not, while others would think you were not taking the interview seriously. It would probably be in your best interest to wear something other than jeans and a nice shirt.

    They are going to ask you questions about how much experience you have had handling animals, what kind of animals you have experience with etc.

    You should ask general questions about the clinic. And make small take with the vet like where did they go to vet school and things like that. It helps to make things less awkward if you do it at the right time.
  4. Trilt

    Trilt NCSU c/o 2016 Gold Donor

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    I kind of live on the philosophy that it never ever hurts to "overdress" for interviews. Most veterinary related things I've worn dress pants + blouse, nice piece of jewelry. I have some DNA helix earrings that I usually wear, and most of the times they come up in conversation so I can chat a bit about the genetics lab I volunteered at.

    Bipolarbear hit on the big ones; why do you want a job specifically with them, why should they specifically want you. One thing the application cycle last year taught me is exactly how much I suck at selling myself, and this is a biggie in interviews; to you, while interviewing, you're pretty much awesome. You've got the best work ethic in the world, you learn faster than the speed of light, look at these classes and experiences you've done, etc. You pretty much crap rainbows, because any other people also applying will likely be only saying good things about themselves, too. Don't lie or be overly boastful, but I know a lot of fall in to the trap of seriously underselling themselves. Frame things positively. Weakness? No, areas of improvement. Don't have a ton of veterinary experience? Talk about skills you've gotten from other things in life and how you hope to use them in the veterinary field.

    Definitely google the clinic and see if there's anything they specialize in that you can comment about, or if the doctor or office manager bios mention any hobbies you share or something along those lines. If you happen to share said hobbies, bring them up in the "tell me about yourself" part of the interview.

    Have a couple questions ready to ask at the end so you don't end with "uh... no, that's all." I have two I usually ask; first, talk me through an average day in the position, and second, what programs or opportunities does the organization have for me to continue growing/learning in the position. Both phrased nicer in person. If it's been a relatively informal interview I usually ask the interviewers favourite animal, too, because I draw and I'll doodle it into the thank you card (which I suggest sending).

    welll that was a bit of a wall of text, oops.
  5. PppermintTwist

    PppermintTwist

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    I wear dress pants and a nice shirt. I wouldnt wear jeans for any type of interview as was mentioned earlier.

    Remember that they are being interviewed too. Ask for a tour of the facility, or walk through an average day as mentioned earlier. Dont accept a job sight unseen, if they wont let you see the facility say no thanks! Thats just my two cents on not having seen the facility before accepting a position...

    Is the staff friendly and helpful or do they seem cranky and distant... One question I typically ask at an interview is how the team currently works together and what their position is on office gossip.

    Good luck
  6. DairyGirl

    DairyGirl

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    Thank you! I think I am a little less nervous this morning after reading everyone's comments and suggestions. I already had a mini phone interview with them yesterday before they asked me to come in for an interview at the office. They said I will also be touring the facility. I have already been asked some of the questions but it was definitely helpful to hear about others that might be asked! I have read over the questions that everyone posted and I think they have really helped prepare me :)

    I will definitely be wearing dress pants and a nice blouse, thanks for the advice!
  7. hairlessratlvr

    hairlessratlvr

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    Yeah, like some people above stated...don't wear jeans. I applied for a vet assistant job a year ago and had just moved (my dress pants were still packed) so I wore a pair of dressy dark jeans and a professional looking top hoping it wouldn't be a big deal since my interviewer would probably be wearing scrubs. At the end of the interview she told me never to wear jeans to an interview again (whether for a vet job or not) and that I automatically wouldn't have gotten the job if the practice owner had been there based on appearance alone despite extensive experience. I wanted to crawl under a rock.
  8. hairlessratlvr

    hairlessratlvr

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    Never mind, just saw your comment above. Good luck!
  9. catlady816

    catlady816 PennWe

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    I have an vet assistant interview next week and they told me to dress comfortably as it's a working interview, so luckily that's not a problem for me!

    But I was curious if anyone as ever had a working interview for a vet? Most of my animal experience came from a shelter so it's not that extensive or formal. They received my resume (in which I did not over exaggerate my duties) so they should know everything I'm capable of, but I still have a fear of walking in and "working" without entirely knowing what to do. Has anyone ever done this type of interview before and have any tips?

    And good luck dairygirl! Don't be too nervous, just remember the vet was in your shoes at one point and most remember that feeling and are incredibly kind and helpful.
  10. bipolarbear123

    bipolarbear123

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    I've done two working interviews: one was really awkward, the other one was very relaxed.

    At the first one, I was told to stay with the technician for 2 hours and help her with whatever she needed/do whatever she told me to do. I was helping her clean out kennels when she was called by another tech to help out with something. This left me awkwardly in the kennel room by myself and after I finished my duty, I went out into the clinic, but she was obviously busy and I didn't want to interrupt her. I felt really awkward.. I didn't get the job.

    The other working interview was a lot better. I was told to work with another kennel assistant for 2 hours, and I helped her with her basic duties. Since I had experience from a working interview before, I made sure to ask her how I could help her, and stepped in to help without being asked. I asked a lot of questions, too, and she introduced me to a lot of the other technicians and vets. If I wasn't told to do anything specifically, I still followed her and helped her do whatever she was doing (instead of standing awkwardly like I did at the first interview).

    I think what they are looking for is how you work. Be sure to step up and help whenever you can, and show initiative and willingness to help. I don't think I got the first job because I felt awkward and stood around when I wasn't told what to do. If this happens, ask! Act interested, ask how you can help, and try to prove (by doing) that you will be a good assistant (or whatever position you are applying for). Good luck, and be confident!
  11. Psorophoraferox

    Psorophoraferox LSU SVM c/o 2017

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    Working interviews are awesome! Following my regular interview, I had a working interview for my current job. Thankfully they told me what to wear (scrubs and comfortable shoes that could get a little dirty) so I wouldn't have to worry about it. I was interviewing for a kennel assistant position with potential to move over to vet assistant, so I shadowed the lead kennel assistant in the morning, and the lead nurse later in the day.

    It depends a lot on your state's laws and the individual practice's protocol what you will/won't be able to do, but if you see someone doing something/anything, asking if you can help can't hurt! If you are very limited in what you can physically do, see if they will talk you through the process. For example, I wasn't allowed to set IV catheters, but I asked a bajillion questions while I was watching a nurse set one (what are you using to clean the area, what did you flush it with, why do you need to flush it in the first place, etc.) It was a little Hermione Granger, but at least it showed interest/enthusiasm. I was allowed to set up fecal floats, and was given permission to clean any kennels/runs that I saw were dirty. In retrospect I wonder if that was a test to see if I'd squick out over handling poop. :laugh: There have been several working interviews come in since I was hired, and I've been amazed to discover how many people apply to work in a vet clinic, get past the initial talking interview, and are shocked to find out they have to deal with the gross stuff. Like, they really did think it was cuddling shiny clean puppies and kittens all day. :rolleyes:

    Working interviews are also a great a way to "interview" potential coworkers. Are they going to be friendly and willing to teach, do they seem happy to be working there, are the vets personable, etc. As much as I wanted a job in a vet clinic, I didn't want to end up in a bad working environment, and have to go through the hassle of getting hired just to quit and have to start all over again!
  12. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    I did a working interview for my job this coming summer and enjoyed it so much more than a regular interview. Instead of awkwardly being questioned I was "given" to an experienced tech who did her normal tasks with me helping and we chatted as time permitted. It helped that I have been a tech at plenty of other clinics, but I was mostly doing really simple stuff like cleaning and restocking and restraining. I think they really just want to make sure you're a normal person and that you aren't afraid to work and that you don't think you're too good to do the more "menial" jobs. They won't expect you to know what to do automatically... even though you have technical skills already, every clinic runs differently so you will still be very closely instructed and supervised.
  13. PppermintTwist

    PppermintTwist

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    I like working interviews actually...I was horribly nervous for the first one though!

    I usually wear scrubs to working interviews. If you have any, but go ahead with what they told you.

    Be friendly, ask questions, and offer your assistance.

    You'll be interviewing them too! So watch how people interact with eachother and with you. Everywhere has a little drama, but watch out for a really clicky hospital, or one where they are unwilling to help you learn.

    Help clean up after others, and do other little things that show you have a good work ethic and want to help. Ask to help with restraint. Ask how the blood chemistry etc equipment works.

    Generally working interviews give you a really great look at a typical work day. And give you and your boss a feeling for how you will fit there. And give your boss a clear look at your current skill set and willingness to learn.

    Good luck!
  14. catlady816

    catlady816 PennWe

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    Thanks for all the info everyone! I feel a little less nervous knowing what to expect. The interview is on Wednesday so keep your fingers crossed!

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