Funeral Director Interview Preparation Guide
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Funeral Director based Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with experience as Funeral Director. These questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job test and quickly revise the concepts

44 Funeral Director Questions and Answers:

1 :: How to land a job at a funeral home?

Don't be desperate to find a funeral home. You will end up quitting and jumping from one frying pan to another. Don't rush it. You will know when you find the right place.

2 :: Do you really have to sew people's mouth shut?

It is a curiosity for many people how the body is prepared. Part of the embalming and preparation process is called "setting features." We use different means to ensure that the eyes and mouth are closed and to give the deceased a natural appearance as if asleep or in a state of repose. Generally, that does not involve having to use sutures.

3 :: What is the most difficult part of being a Funeral Attendant?

Because of empathizing, it may be difficult to hold back tears.

4 :: Do you have any advice for those wanting to get into the funeral business?

My advice is … funeral services isn't a "job", it's a calling. If you don't have it in your heart you'll never succeed.
Job shadow a funeral director for one week if you're able and tour/talk to a mortuary school.

5 :: Do you have any experiences being in a funeral home?

No, but im a fast learner and a hard worker. I am committed to do the best of my ability.

6 :: Have you any tips for funeral students trying to get an apprenticeship at a funeral home?

Personal Presentation is HUGE. Dress nice but don't look like a hooker or pimp. Hide all crazy tattoos and piercings! (And you should probably shave your beard and cut your hair.)

7 :: Where do you see yourself in 5 years as Funeral Director?

I wish to learn more about the funeral services business and hope to become licensed. I feel I belong in this industry and wish this to be my place, my career until I retire.

8 :: How to prepare for a job interview at a funeral home?

I would try to get letters of recommendation from any past employers or teachers. Just being able to show them copies of old ones proves that you've done good work in the past. If you don't have enough work / school experience to show them that, then get something similar from any volunteer organization or activity that you have done. If you fed people through your church on Thanksgiving, then get the "organizer" of that activity to write something about you in a quick paragraph of a Word Document and make sure that activity is on your resume. Bring the letters and a copy of your resume to the interview in a professional looking binder.

When you interview, emphasize how school / those various activities in the past have prepared you to work at the funeral home. Use specifics relating to your job! For example, discuss some event where someone didn't use social intelligence and ended up offending someone with their communication. Give an example of when you are had to use that skill for an activity and explain how you did it correctly.

9 :: What are your career goals as Funeral Director?

Helping others with their loss and moving forward and helping people with honouring their missed loved ones.

10 :: How to go about planning my own funeral arrangements?

The first thing you should do is talk with your family about the subject.

We (funeral directors) visit thousands of homes every year and many people tell us they've never taken even 10 or 20 minutes to sit down with each other and discuss what they'd want if something happened to one or both of them.

The next step would be to make an appointment with the funeral director to record your wishes. He or she will gather some important statistical information for a death certificate, and help you select the type of service you want.

And finally you can, if you wish, pay in advance for services and merchandise to be provided in the (hopefully distant) future. Most funeral homes will offer an inflation proof contract that locks in the price for their services and merchandise at the time the contract is signed.

11 :: What Other Costs Will There Be?

Beyond the basic service fee, funeral homes charge additional amounts for other goods and services related to the final arrangements.

The Funeral Rule is both broad and specific in requiring that funeral homes must provide a written list specifying the costs of the basic services of the funeral director, staff, and overhead, along with all of the following items that it offers:

☛ Forwarding remains to another funeral home
☛ Receiving remains from another funeral home
☛ Direct cremation
☛ Immediate burial
☛ Transferring remains to the funeral home
☛ Embalming
☛ Other preparation of the body
☛ Use of facilities and staff for viewing
☛ Use of facilities and staff for funeral ceremony
☛ Use of facilities and staff for memorial service
☛ Use of equipment and staff for graveside service
☛ Hearse
☛ Limousine
☛ The range of casket prices appearing on the establishment's casket price list
☛ The range of outer burial container prices appearing on the outer burial container price list

This list of costs that must be itemized is exhaustive, and while it may feel exhausting to review and compare them to price quotes you receive from other providers you're considering hiring, it's a wise consumer practice.

12 :: How to keep residual emotions from following you home from work? Does being around a lot of grieving people during your work week affect you emotionally, or do you build up an immunity like police officers, homicide investigators, etc.?

Well, caring, compassion, and empathy are some of the personality characteristics that help a funeral director excel in this profession. But there is a difference between the professional relationship we have with our client families and our more intimate personal relationships.

It is natural I think that you would "connect" with someone right away in certain social and business settings. And those circumstances tend to affect me a little more. But just like a clergy person or a mental health professional, I am able to help others who are experiencing deep grief without taking on their emotions as my own

13 :: Why should we hire you as Funeral Director?

I have much life experience dealing with people, with loss and I feel I can empathize and be compassionate to others. I think I can greatly help others during their time of grieving.

14 :: What is the process of cremation? I signed so many papers and had to initial here and there so many times to have my father cremated. Why is that?

Cremation is a high heat process that reduces the body to bone fragments which are then usually processed into a finer particulate. Most people commonly refer to cremated remains as ashes. Because cremation is such a final and irreversible process, there are many safeguards in place to protect both the family and the funeral director. We require positive identification and appropriate authorization forms to be signed before we schedule any cremation. Additionally, there are North Carolina laws that govern cremation.

15 :: Tell me Do You Hire Any Services From Other Providers?

Many funeral providers pride themselves on being one-stop operations that provide the diverse services related to final arrangements, from refrigerating, embalming, and cremating a body to supplying vehicles to transport surviving friends and relatives to the funeral and burial site. Some, however, contract some of these services from outside providers. While this doesn't always signal an increase in overall costs, it may. Just be sure you're aware of what services are provided by every establishment -- and whether there's a markup for them.

16 :: How does a person become a funeral director? Do you know someone that is thinking of a career change? What are the steps to take? Schooling? Certifications?

There are both two year Associate Degrees, as well as four year college curriculum to prepare for a career in funeral service.

Upon successful completion of one of these programs, it is required that you pass a national board examination covering all aspects of the profession from embalming to legal matters, to business operations.

Additionally, there is a one year apprenticeship requirement. Then in order to obtain a license, one must pass a test on North Carolina laws governing funeral service, undergo a criminal background check, and provide witnesses who will attest to your moral character.

North Carolina is a dual license state; meaning you can have a license either as an embalmer or a funeral director. There is also a Funeral Service license which certifies both job titles. Some other states offer a single license.

17 :: Can you please explain how long would you expect to work for us if hired?

I am looking for a career i can grow old with so many years.

18 :: Are You Locally or Nationally Owned?

Many of the neighborhood funeral homes that were once owned and operated by generations of the same family are now owned by a national conglomerate.

Most notably, Service Corporation International, or SCI, currently operates more than 1,500 funeral homes and 400 cemeteries throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. In a practice that some cite as confusing or deceiving, the name, appearance, and even the personnel often remain unchanged after a corporate buyout, leaving the lasting impression that the place remains locally owned. But for better or worse, the local business's policies and procedural controls are usually supplanted by the national corporation's in the interest of consistency.

Other corporations include Stewart Enterprises, Carriage Services, and StoneMor. There are also smaller companies that may be family-owned but not family-operated. For example, a family in Virginia may own several homes in that state and neighboring states. Family owned, yes; but it's still a big company with financial goals that could affect how business is conducted.

If the ownership issue is important to you, ask about it.

19 :: What is the cost of cremation vs. an actual funeral where the body is embalmed and displayed for visitation?

Not necessarily for the reasons you suggest. There are a number of options available for those who wish to be cremated and prices vary depending on what services a family chooses.

Like burial or entombment, cremation is just another form of final disposition. It does not have to preclude having the deceased prepared for a private or public viewing and visitation. Many families who choose cremation have that gathering time and then have the casket present for a funeral ceremony.

The gathering of family and friends to pay their respects has been an important part of our culture and an important step for many in saying goodbye and closing the temporal relationship with a loved one.

20 :: General Assistant Funeral Director interview questions:

► What do you see yourself doing within the first days as Assistant Funeral Director?
► Give examples of steps taken to make each team member feel important.
► When you worked on multiple projects how did you prioritize?
► What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
► How did you handle meeting a tight deadline?
► Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.
► What are three positive character traits you don't have?