How to ace a veterinary technician job interview

FirstlineFirstline May/June 2020
Volume 16
Issue 3

Two veterinary technicians offer advice to fellow technicians who are looking for their next great job.

woman during interview

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Whether you’re employed in a veterinary practice you’ve soured on, are relocating to a new town or are new to the industry, Tasha McNerney, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia/analgesia), and Tosha Zimmerman, CVT, shared advice for veterinary technicians at a recent Fetch dvm360 conference on how to “ace the interview.”


Hey, doctors often get reimbursed for working interviews, interview visits and relocation. How bad does that new employer want you? You’ll never get what you don’t ask for.

“Everything is negotiable,” says McNerney.

Rock the resume

“Acing the interview starts with the resume,” Zimmerman said. Make sure yours is succinct—one page, folks: “I’m advocating for one page,” McNerney said. "That’s it."

And double-check that your formatting looks OK. Some websites will give you an option to build your resume there (Indeed, for instance), but don’t trust the system to make it look good. Create, preview and then upload your resume on your computer, Zimmerman says; that way you can be sure it came out right.

They’re watching …

One Fetch dvm360 attendee said their practice owner would delay interviewees in the lobby for 10 minutes so the team could determine how friendly the person was in interacting with the people and pets in the lobby. If the person was shy or nervous and kept to themselves, the practice owner didn’t necessarily hold that against them. But a gregarious applicant beat a grump.

Ax the unprofessional email address

Do you have an inappropriate name in your email address that you created when you were 15? It’s time to make a professional one.

“People are going to look at that,” Zimmerman warned—and judge accordingly.

No ghosting

Employers never get back to you about an application or after an interview? Don’t take that as a resentful license to ghost other employers when you’re offered a position but decide to take another one.

Nail the basics at the interview

  • Show up early (how about at least 10 minutes?), and be on your best behavior from the time you’re in the door until you leave.
  • And watch what your wear, said McNerney. No scrubs, unless you ask if it’s OK. “And please don’t wear your yoga pants,” she deadpanned. “Definitely no workout gear.”
  • Questions are a two-way street, of course. Make sure you ask enough—and observe enough in a working interview or observation—to know whether the people you meet are the kind of people with the values you want in your workplace.

“Ask to speak to the staff,” Zimmerman said, and pepper them with questions about the practice and its culture. “’How late do you stay every day?’ ‘Why do you like working here?’ ‘Do you do team-building?’”

“You want to enjoy the time you're at work,” McNerney said. So, keep in mind that you're evaluating them as much as they're evaluating you.

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