You made it! You had an application with finesse and you have been asked for an interview! Whether by phone, FaceTime/Skype, or in-person, this is a huge step in your Child Life educational process!

Now, I have had several interviews now for both my practicum and internship. Do not be discouraged if it takes you a few tries. It took me a total of 3 semesters before I received an offer for Practicum and 2 semesters for Internship.

The key is to be confident in what you are saying. My advice: prepare your responses before your interview. I did this for my internship and I felt that I did not stumble, miss information, and answered more accurately when I practiced some “staple” answers beforehand.

So, based on my experiences, I am going to share with you MORE common questions I was asked in my interviews so that you can practice and prepare to ROCK your interview!

General Interview Questions:

  1. Why did you apply to our hospital?
  2. Describe yourself/Use 3 words to describe yourself.
  3. What are your strengths and areas of growth?
  4. What are your strengths when working with children?
  5. How would you describe your temperament and personality?
  6. What do you hope to gain from the Practicum/Internship?
  7. What are your expectations of a supervisor?
  8. Discuss a time where you had to advocate for a child.
  9. Have you had any grief/bereavement experience? Have you experienced death of a child?
  10. How do you handle stress?
  11. Discuss a time you were in a conflict situation. How was it resolved?
  12. If you do not receive a placement/offer, what will you do?
  13. What type of kids do you like to work with? Least like to work with?
  14. Talk about a time where you felt different from your peers and how you dealt with it?
  15. Discuss something you are proud of.
  16. Talk about a project where you went above and beyond.
  17. What can you offer our program?

Practicum Based Questions:

  1. Discuss your volunteer work and how it has prepared you to work in the hospital setting?
  2. Why Child Life? What about this profession in comparison to other child-related fields that advocate for children’s needs?
  3. Describe your academic experiences/achievements.
  4. How have you grown since you have discovered the field of child life?

Internship Based Questions:

  1. Tell me about a positive practicum experience you had.
  2. Tell me about a challenging practicum experience.
  3. How did your practicum prepare you for internship?
  4. Talk about your favorite developmental theorist.
  5. How would you introduce Child Life services to a new patient and family?
  6. How would you introduce Child Life services to a new healthcare professional?
  7. How would you prepare a child for an I.V. start (consider different stages of development on this one!)?
  8. Prioritize the following tasks of a Child Life Specialist’s day (These can be anything, but this is an example of what was asked of me):
    1. Clean Playroom
    2. I.V. start for a 4 year old; parents are present
    3. Patient rounds
    4. I.V. start for a 12 year old, but is alone
    5. Providing toys to a patient in isolation
  9. How do you build rapport with a child and family?
  10. How does a Child Life Specialist work with the Multidisciplinary team?
  11. Define Cultural Competence (Best advice-use this textbook. It has a great definition to get you started: Rollins, J., Bolig, R., & Mahan, C.C. (2005). Meeting children’s psychosocial needs: Across the health-care continuum. Texas: Pro-Ed Inc.)
  12. Highlight the main stages of development and briefly describe the effects of hospitalization according to each stage (Infancy-Adolescence).
  13. If you could choose any unit you would want to work in for the rest of your time as a Child Life Specialist, what unit would it be?
  14. Are you willing to relocate?

Scenario Based Questions:

Disclaimer: I would be cautious on studying these because there are so many combinations of scenarios your interviewers can give you. Do consider the themes behind them such as professional boundaries, playroom scenarios, bedside scenarios, etc.

Make sure you know your stages of development, hospital and family stressors, and a handful of interventions you would provide.

For interventions, be creative! While art and music are usually the first that come to my mind, your interviewers may want to hear something from the categories of: sensory therapy, bibliotherapy, movement therapy, photography/media therapy, etc.

  1. You have a 3 year old who is grabbing toys in the playroom from other patients without asking. How would you handle the situation?
  2. You have a 13 year old whom you have developed a positive relationship with in the hospital. Upon discharge, she hugs you and asks for an email. How would you respond?
  3. You have a 5 year old that you are interacting with for an art therapy activity in the playroom. A 6 year old and 14 year old enter the playroom whom are both new patients. How would you include them and what would you provide?


Questions you should ask!

  1. What are some additional skills sets do you expect of your practicum/intern students coming into the program?
  2. Any professional development/community event related opportunities?
  3. Is there a 2nd interview?
  4. Where are the rotations?
  5. (Practicum only) Do you offer both in and outpatient opportunities?
  6. How many clinical hours? If needed, can you offer more?