Searching for the right job in ABA, or any field, can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating experience. How does one prepare for an interview? How do you ascertain if the agency you’re interviewing with is a good fit for you, your values, and how you work?
When we connect with people who are pursuing a career in ABA, we weigh both the candidate’s astuteness in clinical practice as well as whether they would be a good cultural fit with the organization. We ask, how does this candidate relate to clients, caregivers, and other employees? How would she be as a supervisor or supervisee? Can he effectively receive and incorporate feedback? Is she or he “animated?”
It’s just as important for the candidate to assess the organization she is applying for. Animate Behavior Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Yasser “Yaz” Aboul, M.S.,BCBA shares valuable tips for ABA professionals who are just entering the field from graduate study or are looking for the right company.
ABA Career Search Tips from Animate Founder, Yaz Aboul, M.S.,BCBA
Resumes Not CVs
A good resume is one page. Most agency recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to read more than a one-page resume to start off, especially if they are getting lots of applicants. A CV is not really meant to get a job, whereas a resume is. Your resume should highlight the accomplishments you’re most proud of and those that you feel would be of best use to a potential employer. The only exception to this is when you’re being interviewed by another clinician. A Clinical Supervisor may appreciate your research interests and experiences, but it is probably best just to list your interests (or omit them) and instead discuss in the interview. A Resume Should Include the Following:
A Resume Should Include the Following:
- Education, relevant training, and certificates
- Work experiences
- Relevant personal and professional skills
- Research interests (optional if you have room)
- Good grammar (and no typos!)
Do your homework
If you are interested in a company or a position, do your homework. Read their entire website, read the executives’ bios, see what jobs are posted, look them up on Facebook and other social media channels. Coming prepared with this knowledge will demonstrate your professionalism and interest in the agency, and job. Furthermore, you will get a better feel and understanding of the company.
Prepare Questions and Prepare to Be Questioned
A common interview question is to ask if you have any questions about the company or position. Try to have a few thoughtful questions prepared. Below are some good vetting questions to help you sort out a bad agency from a good one (these are from my own personal experience)
Ask About Supervision
How often is it provided? Who provides it? Is supervision done in the group format or one-on-one (I recommend looking for both).
Ask About Caseloads and Training
It’s very common to be pushed into a position you are not ready for, and one you are not fully trained to do. An expectation that one will either sink or swim is very common in this field, and burn out and “drowning” are even more common. You are looking for lengthy training and gradual fade in of clients and hours. Learning a company, its culture, its roles, and how clients and staff are managed, is no easy or quick task. However, it is possible to get a sense of how an organization is operated and what philosophies are foundational.
Ask Who Runs the Company
You are looking to see if a clinician is truly in charge, this is key to avoiding major ethical conflicts.
Ask About Location and Drive Time
Excessive driving to and from client sites is a common factor that causes BCBA burnout. In-home ABA requires a lot of it, and if your regions and clients are spread out, you may find yourself in the car for most of the day. This can make billable requirements difficult to attain and, sometimes, unsustainable.
Ask About Growth
A good agency controls their growth and scales appropriately. An agency trying to take over the world of ABA will very likely struggle in all of the key areas. Growth is not a bad thing, but rampant expansion can be a bad sign. You are looking for reasonable and ethical growth plans and strategy.
These questions will help you to learn more about the agencies you’re applying for. You’ll begin to get an understanding of how the organization runs, what the agency’s values are, and how closely aligned the agency’s mission is to its actual operations.
At Animate Behavior, we are open to inquiry and connecting with passionate ABA clinicians. If you have questions about careers with us, or just want to learn more about what the field has to offer you, click here now to send us a message.