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August 2008

Perfect Your Interview Skills

by Cherie Sohnen-Moe 

Many massage therapists start their careers as employees in such companies as spas or clinics. While some therapists continue to work in those venues throughout their careers, the majority eventually start a private practice. Even so, many people in private practice augment their income by working part time for another company or take a temporary massage job while going through transitions or relocating. Since you never know if or when you will want to be employed, it’s wise to learn interviewing skills before you embark on your career path.

Before your interview, prepare yourself. Research the company: know how long it’s been in business, the number of employees it has and the services it offers. Be ready with answers to the questions the employer is likely to ask. [See “Interview Questions and Answers” in the Job Interviews category of Issue 3’s Online Resources.]

The basics of being adept at interviewing center on having excellent communication skills. Role-play the potential interview with a friend and get feedback. Make any changes necessary, so you can have an excellent interview.

Successful Interviewing Tips
• Avoid telephone interviews (although a good telephone conversation can earn you major points)
• Dress appropriately
• Be well-groomed
• Be enthusiastic, confident and polite
• Bring an appointment book or PDA
• Bring a nice pen
• Bring extra copies of your resume
• Bring a printed sheet with at least three references
• Be on time
• Maintain good eye contact
• Be prepared. Have all necessary documentation available
• Be well-poised, centered and relaxed
• Listen to what is really being said
• Use positive wording
• Control the interview, yet don’t monopolize the conversation
• Ask specific questions and give specific answers
• Know what sets you apart from the other candidates
• Have a list of unique skills, education or attributes you can bring to this business
• Know your strengths and weaknesses and how '

you plan to compensate for those weaknesses
• Be prepared to discuss each item on your resume or job application
• Have at least three questions to ask the interviewer
• Prepare a response to the inevitable interview question, “Tell me about yourself”
• Look for closing signals
• Avoid discussing salary and benefits in the first interview
• Thank the interviewer when finished
• Send a thank-you letter to everyone with whom you’ve spoken

Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach and international workshop leader. She has been in business since 1978. She was in private practice for many years as a massage and holistic health practitioner before shifting her focus to education and coaching. In her coaching/consulting practice, she has worked with individual therapists to small wellness centers to day spas that have multiple locations. She has served as a faculty member at the Desert Institute of Healing Arts and the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and is an adjunct professor at Clayton College of Natural Health. She has written more than 100 articles that have been published in more than 15 national and international magazines. She is the author of the book, Business Mastery, which is in its fourth edition, has sold more than 325,000 copies to date with 650-plus schools requiring it as a text. She is also the author of Present Yourself Powerfully and The Art of Teaching. She is co-author of The Ethics of Touch, with more than 300 schools requiring it as a text. She is also a contributing author of Teaching Massage: Fundamental Principles in Adult Education for Massage Program Instructors, and was interviewed for a chapter of SAND TO SKY: Conversations with Teachers of Asian Medicine. Sohnen-Moe is a firm believer in education and as such serves on the exam committee of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) and is a founding member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE).  She can be contacted through her website, www.sohnen-moe.com.

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