Be it any kind of work you apply for, whether it is at a healthcare facility, school, research institution, or clinical practice, you will need to rely on your interview skills and initiative to land a good job in psychology. There is a lot of stress on one’s mind during an interview despite the fact that you are interviewing to be a psychologist where handling stress is something you have full knowledge of. It is extremely vital to learn how to make an impression on prospective employers and the expectations that come along with the job description.
Every job has stages through which a person has to go through to finally land a top job in psychology. When it comes to any sort of written examination your basic and profound academic comprehension will suffice. All the years of education and training that you have gone through will now be put to test and will be the deciding factor of your career in psychology. Therefore, in order to understand how to tackle common interview questions asked of a psychologist let us take a closer look at the most common interview questions.
10 Common Interview Questions for Psychologists
Let us now look at some of the important questions that may be asked of you during your interview. Here are some guidelines to bear in mind while facing an interview for a position of psychologist, therapist, counselor, or similar job.
Possibly the most common question to be asked by your interviewer is the reason for your choice of career as it helps them comprehend where you come from, your personality, and your passion for a career in psychology. You can either narrate your journey in a storytelling manner while keeping up their interest or talk about a specific subject or incident that made an impression on you. It is important that you clearly, without being too elaborate, point out how the experience or the impression led to your career choice.
2. What parts of your work do you enjoy the most or least?
This question is sort of a double-edged sword where you would be very tempted to say something negative that you actually feel about the job. It is best to keep that part of honesty to yourself and stay focused on getting the job. The purpose of this question is to see how well you adapt and stay motivated while sensing your depth of experience. Therefore, when you are asked this question stay positive and address the things that are the most attractive to the role of a psychologist. You can use a casual tune to highlight the challenges that you face and still end on a positive note.
Here your answer should reveal an inherent understanding of the skills used by psychology professionals on a daily basis and why they are extremely crucial to the profession. The answer here will reflect both your hard and soft skills. Make sure to reveal your full extent of values and alignment with the purpose of the organization. While incorporating a few basic skills that are quintessential for a good psychologist, list down items that relate to the role and explain in brief why each one is indispensable.
4. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a psychologist?
These sorts of interview questions are often challenging for any job aspirant, be it a psychologist or someone from a different field. Although you might dread the question about strengths and weaknesses, it is important to remember that this is again a question to test your adaptability and fitness for the job role. When it comes to strengths, pick those that are relevant to the job requirements and talk about your skills and interest in that area. A good suggestion while tackling the weaknesses question would be to elaborate upon an area of psychology you would like to learn more about.
5. Which assessment instrument do you find the most helpful or useful?
This is again a very common question for psychologists and essentially pertains to testing your knowledge, experience and use of standard assessment tools. Evidently, it is crucial that you have basic knowledge of all the standard assessment tools employed in psychology. Pick one or two assessment instruments that you are well versed with and give a brief description of how each one is useful in situations appropriate for them. Avoid picking a favourite or completely being biased towards one side.
6. How do you stay updated on the current trends in your field?
Learning in psychology is a continuous process and there is no limit to how much one can learn. Your employer simply wants to know your passion and your efforts to keep that passion going in you. As an employer, they are definitely looking for someone who is passionate about the field of work and keeps up with the latest findings. Have enough material to talk about the importance of continuing education in psychology and list out a few activities that you undertake to stay ahead of the others.
7. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a client who refused to express their feelings or emotions. What did you do to make them feel comfortable around you?
This is a very good question to pose from an employer’s point of view as it lets them know your preparedness for challenges at the workplace. Psychologists often have to work with patients who have undergone a significant amount of trauma in their lives making them hesitant towards expressing themselves. They are looking for a candidate who is compassionate, patient, and understanding while working with individuals who find it difficult to open up. While giving your answer emphasise your compassion, listening, and interpersonal skills and a strategy that makes your patient feel comfortable to express emotions.
8. Tell me something about your previous employment experience. What were your roles and responsibilities?
This is the most basic question that any interviewer will ask, in case you have had any sort of past employment experience. The purpose of this question is to know more about the kind of work you have done, the roles and responsibilities you have handled, and get a clear picture of the kind of employee you might be. Be thorough with your work experience and always have something nice to say about your previous employers as well.
9. What do you do outside of work that helps you to maintain a healthy well-balanced life?
If the interview has reached a point where such questions are being asked it meets that you can take this part of the interview a little more casually than the others. The question helps an interviewer understand your habits related to self-care. Make sure that your answer includes habits that are healthy while connecting them back to your practice as a therapist. Listing out hobbies that also tick the psychologist boxes for you, will be a smart way to answer.
10. What training model did you pursue in your graduate studies?
This is one of the most basic questions that are asked to freshers in particular in order to understand their educational background at the graduate level.
This answer will help the employer determine whether your training was in a program that emphasised research or clinical practice. It is more of a basic requirement question and you can be honest about your background in psychology and basic educational information.
Interviews are stressful, even if you are a psychologist with exceptional communication skills. However, being prepared for such interviews will likely take you off the edge, help you relax, and yield better results for you. If you are looking for a job as a psychologist, make sure you apply to all online and offline platforms that interest you, keep an updated resume at your disposal, and train well for the interview round which is usually the last stage of an employment process.