Preparing for a Veterinary Technician Job Interview
Published on January 3, 2019 by A. Rothstein
Ready to become a veterinary technician? Learning what you need to know to prepare for a job interview? There are a number of things to keep in mind for your first veterinary technician job interview. You need to know what a veterinary technician does, the job setting, and how to impress the interviewer. It’s important to let the job interviewer know that you can handle the position, that you are passionate, and that you’ll be a good fit for the job.
How a Veterinary Technician Cares for Animals
A veterinary technician is one of many people working in a veterinarian’s office. Veterinary technicians work both in a veterinary office and within a research laboratory. If you’re seeking a position in a research laboratory, you might be responsible for documenting the behavior of animals as well as feeding and caring for them.
As a veterinary technician, you can expect to do the following duties:
- Observe animals
- Collect samples
- Perform exams
- Administer medications and vaccines
- Bathe animals
- Take and develop x-rays
- Provide emergency care
The veterinary technician handles many of the technical aspects of animal care. In the world of veterinary science, they function like a nurse for animals. Depending on the position, the veterinary technician might be responsible for providing specialized nursing care or dental care.
The majority of veterinary technicians work with smaller animals. They might work with rats, mice, birds, cats, or dogs. Some veterinary technicians care for larger animals like horses, sheep, pigs, and cattle.
Laboratories and veterinary clinics need staff available all throughout the day. A veterinary technician may work holidays, nights and weekends. Be clear with the job interviewer about your schedule and when you are available to work.
The Need for Qualified Veterinary Technicians
Animal hospitals and veterinary clinics need veterinary technicians to help with lab work and general care. Many veterinarians are looking for veterinary technicians rather than veterinary assistants, since veterinary technicians have a higher skill level.
A veterinary technician needs an associate degree. This is an ideal choice for those that want to enter the work force within two years. To become certified, graduates will pass the VTNE, otherwise known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination. This test is administered through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.
Passing this exam shows that the veterinary technician is competent in the 7 major knowledge areas for veterinary technicians. It shows that they understand anesthesia, technical equipment, animal nursing, laboratory procedures, dentistry procedures, surgical assistance and preparation, and pharmacology.
A graduate should be fully certified before going to a job interview. They should prepare to talk about their qualifications, certification and prior experience.
Specialties for Veterinary Technicians
A veterinary technician has many specialty areas. If they are applying for a specialized position, they will need to show the interviewer that they are prepared for the special requirements.
One potential specialty is internal medicine. Internal Medicine is a specialty for more in-depth research about animal diseases. The primary focuses of internal medicine is preventative medicine and general wellness. This is an ideal career path for those that are interested in research.
Critical care is another specialty. A veterinary technician that specializes in critical care will deal with high pressure situations. They will need to have strong critical thinking and decision making skills. The veterinary technician will need to replace lost fluids, assist with diagnosis and treatment, use technical equipment, draw blood, monitor vital signs, administer anesthesia, and perform other invasive procedures.
Zoology is another competitive field for veterinary technicians. This specialty involves care for animals in aquariums and zoos. A veterinary technician in this position provides care to exotic animals. They may also help with recreation, public education, research, and conservation. Additionally, veterinary technicians can work with a zoo hospital, handling medical emergencies. This is a great specialty if the veterinary technician is interested in working with exotic animals.
There are more specialties to focus on as well. Avian medicine focuses on the care of birds. A veterinary technician might specialize in small animals or large animals. They might have a special focus on surgery or clinic supervision. No matter what the area of expertise, if a veterinary technician interviews for a specialized job, they need to prove they understand what will be asked of them. It’s important to show that they can perform all the job duties involved in the position.
Skills and Personality Traits to Demonstrate
A veterinary technician is a nurse for animals. Their job involves providing the same doctor assistance and patient care to animals that nurses do for humans. In addition, the veterinary technician needs to communicate with the owners of animals. A large part of the veterinary technician’s job is educating pet owners.
The candidate needs to show the job interviewer that they have the necessary skills and education to be a veterinary technician. They may deal with stressful situations, since animals aren’t always cooperative. They will need to show the job interviewer that they have the following qualities:
- An ability to stay calm
- A results-driven, detail-oriented focus on work
- An ability to handle stress
- Patience and communication skills
- A passion and love for animals
- High standards for ethics
- Excellent organizational skills
- Creative thinking and an open approach to finding solutions
How to Impress a Job Interviewer
Regardless of your previous experience or the position, you’re probably nervous about the job interview. There are a few things you can do to make sure you impress the job interviewer.
Dress for Success
This is the time to give a good first impression. Your first interview should always come with business attire. Don’t wear flip flops, ragged outfits, or particularly loud jewelry. Make sure your appearance is plain but shows you have a commitment to professionalism. You might also keep a set of scrubs with you just in case you’re asked to stay and observe.
Use Good Posture
If you slouch, your job interviewer may think that you’re not interested in the position. It might also make you seem unsure about the position. Sitting up straight shows that you’re engaged in the discussion and confident about yourself.
You want to show that you’ll be a positive, pleasant person to work with. All of your answers should be positive. Interviewers may ask about your weaknesses. If you are, name a weakness and then explain how you’ve been working to improve it. Always show that you’re willing to learn and grow. You may be asked about problems you encountered in your previous employment. Always talk about what the particular problem was and how you would solve the problem in a positive way.
Job interviews is a two-way street. You are interviewing your potential employer as much as they’re interviewing you. If you prepare a list of questions, you’ll show the job interviewer that you’re engaged.
Some common questions you might ask include:
- What does a normal day look like here?
- How many surgeries do you perform on a daily basis?
- How long have your staff members worked here?
- What procedures are performed here?
- What do the staff members like most about their jobs?
Bring a notepad with you to the interview. Most of the time, your job interviewer will have no problem with you taking notes. You can also write down your questions beforehand, so you don’t forget them later in the job interview.
Talk Positively About Your Prior Employer
Speaking badly about them gives the impression that you’ll speak badly about the new manager, too. No matter how frustrated you are with your last boss, or how badly they treated you, always talk about them in a positive way.
Questions to Prepare
There are a number of questions you should prepare for a veterinary technician job interview. Some of the most common include:
What are your qualifications?
Be prepared to talk about your education, certification, and how you’ve met the specific licensing requirements for your state health board.
What animals are you experienced with handling?
Talk about the animals you’ve worked with. This is also a good time to ask about what animals the clinic or laboratory typically handles.
If the situation is hectic, would you be open to performing duties that aren’t part of your position’s description?
The job interviewer wants to see that you’re a team player. Be open about your level of commitment. It’s helpful to be clear that you can’t do jobs you aren’t trained for, but that you’re willing to learn or help in other ways.
When preparing for a veterinary technician job interview, the most important thing is to be prepared. Understand the position and its requirements. Finally, illustrate to the interviewer that you can fit those requirements and you are a good fit for the position.
Did learning about how to prepare for a veterinary technician job interview interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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