Whether you are just starting your career as a Behavior Technician (BT) or an experienced Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), the interview process can be exciting and nerve-racking. It is important to remember that interviewing is not only for the interviewer to evaluate whether you are a good fit for their organization. It is also for you, the interviewee, to consider whether the company suits your needs. I encourage you to ask the following questions during your RBT interview to help you find a company that best fits your professional growth and personal needs. Note: The following questions are in no particular order.
1. Can you describe the training process?
Even if you are an experienced RBT, the training and onboarding a new company provides are essential for getting you off to a smooth start. Each company has different policies and procedures, so you'll want your new company to offer a thorough training process. Consider it a red flag if the company intends to fast track you right into working with clients.
A few things to consider with this question are how long the training process will take and the compensation during this time. Hourly employees must be paid for all hours worked, even during training, so turn down offers that involve unpaid training. Some companies offer a lower pay rate until training is completed, so be sure you're aware of this and you're comfortable with the pay before proceeding.
If you are new to the field, you will need to complete a 40-hour RBT Training, even if you're not taking the RBT exam just yet. The 40-hour course provides you with much of the essential knowledge to be a successful behavior technician.
2. What is the RBT turnover rate, and what steps do you take to reduce turnover?
Unfortunately, the turnover in ABA can be quite high, similar to many other "helping fields." Some of this is inevitable as an entry-level role and the nature of the work. However, there are many things a company can do to improve their turnover rates. It's beneficial to know that any organization you're considering working with is aware of their turnover rates and the common causes of turnover, and they are implementing strategies that directly target improved job satisfaction.
3. What is the supervision structure and frequency?
RBTs must receive live ("face-to-face") supervision at least 2x/per month and at least 5% of their total direct hours. This is the bare minimum standard set forth by the BACB. Ask if you will receive supervision and support beyond these minimum standards. You may also want to know whether the company has a two-tier or three-tier supervision model. A two-tier includes the RBT and BCBA. A three-tier model includes a mid-level supervisory role. Both have benefits and drawbacks, so it's up to you to decide what model you are more comfortable with.
Many companies are shifting away from telehealth (i.e., zoom supervision), which was common during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some organizations do still provide supervision remotely. As such, asking whether supervision will be in-person or via video conferencing may be beneficial.
4. What is your cancelation policy?
It's imperative to understand a company's cancelation policies before onboarding. The majority of ABA organizations do not guarantee hours for RBTs, so often, when a client cancels, the RBT loses out on those hours and, therefore, loses out on pay. Sometimes, shifting to a different client is an option to avoid missing hours. Or, the company may assign administrative tasks like cleaning the center or creating client stimuli. Ask the interviewer whether other clients or duties are an option when your client is out.
5. What would a typical schedule look like?
Ask what your typical weekly schedule will be. Consider whether you will have a consistent schedule each week or if there will be variation. Also, consider whether there will be gaps in your daily schedule. For example, could you have an 8-11 AM session, then a large break until your 2-5 PM session? If this works within your availability because you are unavailable between those times, then great! Often, though, people prefer back-to-back sessions to finish their work day. Consider whether the proposed schedule will promote a healthy work-life balance for you.
You may also want to ask about the settings you'll be working in. For example, will you be solely in client's homes, in a center, or a combination of the two? You may also work in client's schools or other community settings.
6. Does your company practice assent-based care?
Look for a company that practices assent-based care rather than compliance-based. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of assent, learn more about it here.
7. Are there opportunities for career growth?
If you are motivated to continue growing in the ABA field and expanding your career, ask the interviewer about growth opportunities. Even if you're not interested in a BCBA or supervisory position, you may want to know that the company provides room for growth. Look for an organization with an established career path for growth across all positions.
8. How far will I need to drive to clients? Is drive time paid?
If you are interviewing at a clinic-based organization, your drive time will likely only include your regular daily commute to and from the center. In this case, drive time is generally not paid. However, if you work in clients' homes, your role will likely involve additional driving time. Ask the interviewer about how far you will be required to drive between clients. Also, ask about the pay for travel. Federal law requires travel pay for time spent driving between work sites (i.e., between client locations). If you will be driving between clients, ask what the travel pay rate is. In some cases, companies pay a lower hourly rate for travel time, so consider whether this is feasible for you.
9. What system does the company use for data collection?
A majority of companies are moving toward digital data collection software, such as CentralReach, ReThink, or Raven Health, to name a few. However, some companies are still using paper and pen data collection. If you have a preference, ask what system the company uses. If they use digital data collection, ask about the device you would be using to collect data. Ideally, they should provide you with a tablet to record data and session notes.
10. How often is feedback provided?
Feedback is so important in this field, though it can be difficult and uncomfortable at times. It's helpful to understand the company's policies and procedures on feedback. A high-quality organization should provide you with informal feedback at each observation, in addition to providing formal feedback on a more structured timeline (i.e., quarterly, every 6 months, or annually).
We wish you the best of luck as you continue your RBT job-seeking endeavors!
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