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Speech Language Pathology - February 2009

The full version of the February 2009 CAPSScoop for the School of Information Studies can be found by clicking here.


Articles in this edition

Should I get a Mentor?

Getting the Inside Scoop Through Informational Interviewing

Healthcare Character Assessment Questions

Alors, c'est pour quand le stage international obligatoire pour tous?


Should I get a Mentor?

by Janice Tester, CaPS Career Advisor

Dealing with difficult clients. Negotiating a raise. Starting a new job or your own practice. These are the kinds of situations that many SLP grads find themselves facing after leaving McGill, and there's only so much that classroom learning can prepare for. So why not consider finding a mentor - someone who has been there and can help guide you through the new challenges that you will face as a young professional in the field? Mentors are there:

  • To coach you and guide on the next steps to follow;
  • To provide you with the necessary aid in further defining your personal career and other developmental objectives;
  • To assist you in exploring career and labour market information while gaining exposure to the workforce;
  • To identify trends and opportunities in health care;
  • To receive tips and information about the job and guidance on professional image;
  • To determine whether the organization being pursued matches your interests and expectations;
  • To better understand business ethics and etiquette.

Definition of Mentorship

“Mentorship refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person, referred to as a protégé, apprentice, mentee, or (person) being mentored, develop in a specified capacity.” (From Wikipedia)

Mentorship relationships can fall along a continuum of informal to formal. Informal relationships tend to develop on their own between partners. We can find a friend, a family member, that acts as a mentor in many aspects of our lives. Formal mentoring, on the other hand, refers to assigned relationships, often associated with organizational mentoring programs designed to promote employee development.

Formal mentoring programs focus specifically on career development. In well-designed formal mentoring programs, there are program goals, schedules, training (for both mentors and protégés), and evaluation.

How does Mentorship Differ from Supervisorship?

In speech language pathology practice the term supervisor is associated with a student and a clinical tutor. In a relationship with a supervisor they often have a formalized evaluation role over the student and often times there are enforced external objectives that need to be accomplished by the protégée. The supervisor role is linked to professional goals.

In contrast, a mentoring relationship is a reciprocal learning process involving sharing knowledge and experience between individual mentors and mentees. A mentor does not have to be a manager or supervisor to facilitate the process. The mentor and mentee negotiate and set up the mentoring relationship and goals. The mentor provides feedback but does not have any role in evaluation of the mentee and there are no overall external objectives. The mentoring relationship can address personal development, leadership development, career development as well as professional development.

New-hire Mentorship

For example, in some programs, newcomers to the organization (protégés) are paired with more experienced people, mentors, in order to obtain information, good examples, and advice as they advance. It is considered that new employees who are paired with a mentor are twice as likely to remain in their job than those who do not receive mentorship (Kaye and Jordan-Evans, 2005).

Mentorship Programs to Research Further:

CASLPA and Elks and Royal Purple of Canada Student Forum

CASLPA has a new relationship with the Elks and Royal Purple of Canada who are sponsoring the Student Forum on the CASLPA website.

This chat room is a place where students can go to ask questions, post their thoughts on curricula, clinical placements or other topics, interact with one another, share tips on studying and even seek career or other advice from professionals who will monitor the forum. They act as mentors and can give advice to you. You can find out more on their website.

The McGill Mentor Program

The Mentor Program, which traces its roots back to 1995, was founded by the Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) to help students in their search for advice, direction and a slice of reality in regards to what their futures might have in store. Since its establishment, it has helped hundreds of students meet McGill alumni and staff who are leaders in their fields, industries and communities. The program is now managed through a tri-partnership between the McGill Alumni Association (MAA), Career Planning Service (CaPS) and the Student Organization for Alumni Relation (SOAR).

The McGill Mentor Program views the mentoring relationship between mentors and students as a partnership. Participation of both parties is voluntary, and thus the success of the exchange is dependant on the commitment of both the student and the mentor; a joint investment is required in order to attain joint gains. Meetings between mentor and mentee are as flexible as the participants desire them to be: they can occur as often as is convenient, and range from casual exchanges to formal meetings. The Mentor Program is not intended as a job placement service for students, but is offered as a tool for students seeking career path advice from successful and experienced McGill Alumni and staff. All McGill students are welcome in the program, and recent graduates are eligible for the program for up to a year after graduation.


Kaye, Beverly; Jordan-Evans, Sharon (2005). Love 'Em or Lose Em: Getting Good People to Stay. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. p. 117. ISBN 13: 978-1-57675-327-9.

Getting the Inside Scoop Through Informational Interviewing

by Janice Tester, CaPS Career Advisor (adapted from University of Wisconsin website)

One of the best sources for gathering information about what's happening in SLP or a specific employer is to talk to people working in the field. This process is called informational or research interviewing. An informational interview is an interview that you initiate - you ask the questions. The purpose is to obtain information, not to get a job.

You might ask yourself, so why should I conduct informational interviews? One of the main reasons is to clarify your career goal and to discover employment opportunities that are not advertised. It will also help you in building confidence for your job interviews. Because of the contacts you will be making, you find all about the inside scoop and significant leads which will ultimately land you the job that is best suited for you. Just keep in mind, the person you are interviewing is not necessarily the one that will give you the job, but will be instrumental in you finding out about interesting positions for you.


1. Identify the Organization You Wish to Learn About

Assess your own interests, values, and skills, and identify the best organizations that might fit them.

2. Prepare for the Interview

Read all you can about the organization prior to the interview. Decide what information you would like to obtain about them. Prepare a list of questions that you would like to have answered.

3. Identify People to Interview

Start with lists of people you already know and ask them whom they might know - friends, relatives, fellow students, supervisors, neighbors, etc. Your professional organizations, organizational directories, and public speakers are also good resources. You may also call an organization and ask for the name of one of the SLP in their organization.

4. Arrange the Interview

Contact the person to set up an interview either:

  • by telephone,
  • by an email followed by a telephone call, or
  • by having someone who knows the person make the appointment for you.

5. Conduct the Interview

Dress appropriately, arrive on time, be polite and professional. Refer to your list of prepared questions; stay on track, but allow for spontaneous discussion. Before leaving, ask your contact to suggest names of others who might be helpful to you and ask permission to use your contact's name when contacting these new contacts.

6. Follow Up

Immediately following the interview, record the information gathered. Be sure to send a thank-you note to your contact within one week of the interview.


Prepare a list of your own questions for your informational interview. Following are some sample questions:

  1. On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
  2. I am interested in your background, what training or education did you have?
  3. What personal qualities do you consider are important to being successful in this job?
  4. What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
  5. How did you get your job?
  6. What opportunities for advancement are there in this field?
  7. What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?
  8. How do you see your job changing in the future?
  9. What special advice would you give a person entering this field?
  10. What types of training do new employees obtain entering this organization?
  11. What are the main prerequisites for jobs in this field?
  12. Which professional association(s) do you belong to?
  13. What do you think of the experience I've had so far in terms of entering this field?
  14. From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?
  15. If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself?
  16. Why? What would you change?
  17. What do you think of my resume? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it?
  18. Who do you know that I should talk to next? When I call him/her, may I use your name?

Healthcare Character Assessment Questions

by Ron Jasniowski from Integrity Training Institute (www.CharacterBasedLeadership.com)

Most managers hire for skills, but fire for character. Because of the overwhelming problems associated with hiring employees who lack required character traits, more and more health care managers and human resources personnel are asking character-discerning questions when interviewing employees.

Experienced health care managers and recruiters worked on the following list of hiring questions. The total list is quite large and can be checked on the website mentioned above.

The following is the list of selected questions that you could be asked during an interview and it is always best to be prepared for any question that might come up. Will you be prepared to answer these?


  • How did you fill downtime at your last job?
  • Tell me about your last performance review. What was mentioned about how you could improve? Any re-occurring themes?
  • Describe a recent problem you had with one of your manager's decisions and how did you handle it?
  • Tell me about the most recent problem you had with a co-worker and how did you handle it?
  • What about your character makes you a good candidate for this job?
  • Priorities often change suddenly throughout the day. If you are asked to quickly do another task, how does that affect your mood? What if it's the third time before noon?
  • How do you handle situations that could cause you to be tardy or absent?
  • Think about the last time your manager critiqued your work. How did you respond?
  • Give an example of when you did something without being asked. Can you give me another example?
  • Tell me about your most frustrating experience as an Occupational/Physical Therapist and how did you handle it?
  • When you have a lot of work to do and not enough time or assistance to get it all done, how do you handle it?
  • How do you keep from getting burnout?
  • What does endurance mean to you?
  • Everybody misses work sometimes. What are some legitimate reasons to miss work?
  • How do you respond to difficult people in pain?
  • Would people say that you are compassionate? Your family? Why, give some specific reasons?

Alors, c'est pour quand le stage international obligatoire pour tous?

by Duncan Preece, Directeur d'EuroCare Consulting, une société de conseil en recrutement de Personnel en sciences de la santé pour la Suisse

Aujourd'hui il semble que bien peu d'étudiants de McGill aient l'occasion de faire un stage à l'étranger dans le cadre de leur formation initiale. Pourtant, les futurs professionnels de la santé dans le cadre de leur pratique quotidienne seront appelés à traiter avec des patients en provenance de nombreux pays étrangers. La province de Québec reçoit près de 40,000 immigrants par an, et ce chiffre est appelé à augmenter considérablement au cours des années à venir selon les objectifs du gouvernement provincial.

Or, dans ce contexte il semblerait qu'il serait avantageux pour chaque futur professionnel de la santé de connaître au moins un autre pays d'une manière plus approfondie, et ce à titre de stagiaire et non pas comme touriste.

Les avantages pour l'étudiant sont évidents: l'occasion de connaître, ne serait‐ce que de manière transitoire, la culture, la société, la langue, les moeurs et les coutumes d'un autre peuple et d'un autre pays. De dialoguer et d'échanger avec des gens d'ailleurs, nettement moins empreintes des valeurs nord‐américaines, et qui offrent un regard autre sur le monde, et comment ils se perçoivent eux‐mêmes. Et, pour les stagiaires, l'occasion de se connaître un peu plus, de manière différente, et souvent se découvrant des qualités parfois latentes.

Les avantages pour la société sont très nombreux. De constater, par exemple, comment vivent les gens ailleurs, de connaître les problèmes qui les affectent dans le quotidien et de s'apercevoir pour soi‐même peut‐être que malgré tout en général les canadiens peuvent s'attendre à de très bons soins en comparaison avec ce qui est disponible ailleurs. Et que dire de mieux comprendre les problématiques reliés à l'intégration des immigrants une fois arrivés au Canada et ainsi d'être plus susceptible de penser à l'assistance et des prises en charge des futurs patients en tenant plus compte du vécu et des valeurs des concitoyens d'origine étrangère?

Et peut‐être, qui sait, de constater comme le dit si bien le proverbe irlandais, que les étrangers ce sont simplement des amis qu'on n'a pas encore rencontrés.

Alors c'est pour quand le stage obligatoire à l'étranger?


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