Answering these questions as part of your interview preparation will serve you well.
Training to be a massage therapist can be an exciting process. You’re learning a number of different massage modalities and techniques to treat patients in pain, in recovery, or who are simply in need of relaxation. But it’s one thing to gain technical skills, and quote another to be able to represent yourself well in an interview setting. Before long you’ll be lining up job interviews, and it’s wise to prepare in advance for any number of different questions the interviewer might ask you.
We’ve put together a list of questions you might be likely to hear, along with some suggestions about how to craft effective responses. We recommend that you start out by writing out some of your own answers, and then practicing saying them out loud—ideally, to a friend or colleague. The more you practice, the more confident you will be speaking about yourself to a potential employer, and the more comfortable you will be on the day of the interview.
Potential interview questions might include:
What experience do you have?
Even if this would be your paid first job as a professional massage therapist, you can talk about hands-on training you may have received as part of your program, as well as work you might have performed as an intern. Experience outside the field of massage therapy could be relevant, especially if it required you to perform customer service or marketing.
Why do you want to work here?
This is often the interviewer’s way of finding out whether you’ve done your homework about the organization with which you are interviewing. Make sure you’ve spent time on the company website and talked to anyone you may know who has worked there—or even who might have gone there for a massage. Make it clear that, based on the job description, there are special aspects of this position that interest you, and for which you’re well qualified.
How do you see your role in the healing process?
This is more of a philosophical question that allows you to talk about what you know about the impact of massage therapy, beyond the technical aspects. You might touch on helping clients to find relief from pain, and focusing on injured muscles and joints, and supporting a gentle means of recovery.
How did massage school prepare you for a job like this?
Talk about the hands-on experience you gained, and the various techniques you learned in the course of your training program. If your school set up a special clinic to practice on volunteers, mention it. If you have relevant volunteer experience, such as a fundraiser or athletic event, you can discuss that as well.
Can you tell me about a time you showed initiative?
Many employers value someone who is a self-starter. It’s valuable to assess a situation and find a way to insert yourself in order to have a positive impact. Be prepared to share a story about an instance when you assumed additional responsibility, filled an unmet need, took on more than you were required, or helped someone without them having to ask. It’s good to present yourself as a team player—someone they could count on, should they bring you on as part of their staff.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
Given that massage therapy is such a physically demanding profession, the interviewer may want to get a sense of how you maintain the shape you need to do the work. This is the time to acknowledge whether you go to a gym to do strength training; practice yoga or meditation; walk, run, bike, or do other cardio; or even get massages yourself.
Why did you choose massage therapy as a career?
This is not an opportunity to talk about the ability to earn a certain salary, or to set your own hours. This question is a way for the interviewer to get to know you better and how this profession aligns with your interests and values. Consider an answer that includes aspects of your personality that are strengths in this context, such as empathy and wanting to help people, being observant and a good listener, and enjoying physically demanding work.
What do you think is difficult about being a massage therapist?
To answer this question effectively, choose an aspect of the work you find challenging, but not necessarily one you’ve struggled with. You want to reveal that you’re able to handle hard work, find creative solutions, and work through obstacles.
What type of clients are you most interested in working with?
Given that massage therapy works with a wide range of individuals, you want to answer this honestly, but also take into account the clients this employer is likely to have. You may prefer prenatal massage, but if you are interviewing at a senior care facility, they want to know how you feel about working with the elderly.
What ideas would you have about ways to market and expand your practice?
Massage therapy is a business, and the interviewer is looking to find out if you have skills in that area. Talk about any networking you may have done in the past, and examples of effective marketing you may have observed, whether on social media or by handing out flyers at wellness events. Most employers are looking for someone who is always finding ways to help bring more customers through their doors.
If you dedicate the time in advance, your answers to questions like these will serve you well in each successive interview, as you become accustomed to talking about yourself in a professional context. Then, in the days before the big day, spend some time thinking about your interview outfit. (Here are some suggestions on how to present a professional appearance, for both men and women.) Before long, you’ll be ready to sell yourself to a potential employer, and well on your way to a career you’ve been working towards in massage therapy!
This article is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School. We support all our students in striving to meet their career goals. Learn more about the number of different professional training programs we offer at our two campuses in Massachusetts. Reach out to us today in Malden (781-324-5454) or Fall River (508-730-2740) for more information or to schedule a campus tour.