Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions are asked in an Assistant Psychologist interview? This is a HUGE issue for many Psych Grads across the country. I can tell you from experience the amount of heartache you experience when you’ve finally got that interview for that Assistant Psychologist job; however you FALL at the last hurdle as you didn’t prepare for the interview correctly. Within this post we will explore the 7 Common Themes in any Assistant Psychologist Interview.
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Reflections of a previous case you’ve had
This has to be the MOST common type of question you will be asked in any Assistant Psychologist Interview. This may come in the form of “Tell me about a case you have had recently?” “What went well?” “What could you have done better?” This type of question is assessing your ability to reflect on not only the good parts but the bad parts of your clinical practice. I have heard many times from experienced Psychologists that are shocked at how many graduates slip up on this question and not because of lack of experience but the inability to reflect (check out the 7 Commonalities of All Assistant Psychologists for more tips on how to be reflective).
Top Tip: I hear a lot of Psych Grads over compensate on the good things that they have done clinically in various cases. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE INTERVIEWER IS LOOKING FOR! They want you to reflect on the things that went WRONG and HOW you managed this. Try this; next time you’re in an interview, for every GOOD point about yourself, mention 3 things you could IMPROVE on.
Experience of running a group within the population
Within many Assistant Psychologist roles there is an expectation to run groups. Now I know that this is the type of question most people will be terrified of, however it’s not as scary as you may think. Within these types of questions, the interviewer is looking for HOW you approach running a group and how would you make adjustments for that particular client group.
Here’s an example. How would you prepare to run a group for young people with ADHD?
I would think about the best ways to engage them from the very beginning with an activity to break the ice. I would then be conscious of the potential for some young people to become bored or distracted early on in the session so I would try to have some sensory toys on hand that they can play with whilst we carry on with the task. I would also think about having regular movement breaks within the session to increase concentration.
Top Tip: See how I was able to use some knowledge of the client group to tailor the recommendations. This isn’t as hard as you may think and only requires basic information on the population. It would also be amazing if you could link the question back to some groups you have facilitated and reflect on this.
Literature you have read
Now this is a question that even I become nervous of. There are many things that we as Psych Grads read or hear every day and to be asked to pick out one that we found most helpful, sounds a daunting task. Nevertheless, it is always useful to have something in the front of your mind to talk about if this question comes up. I think its needless to say that whatever literature you pull out, for that to be relevant to the client group.
Top Tip: I know this sounds OBVIOUS however make sure the piece of literature is a JOURNAL ARTICLE as this shows that you look for the most reliable and peer reviewed source. I have known some Psych Grads that have talked about memes they saw on Twitter which wasn’t very appropriate.
Any research you have conducted
This type of question is also very common within Assistant Psychologist Interviews. Most of the time this question can be covered by merely talking about your undergraduate dissertation; however, again this is an opportunity to reflect on the UPS and DOWNS of conducting research. This question is also valued highly for employers as a lot of Assistants are required to conduct audits from time to time.
Top Tip: Don’t go too much in detail of your research project. Talk about the key parts of your project (such as rationale and method) and then your results. The rest of the time for this question should be spent reflecting on your research project and how it has better informed your practice.
Time management skills/Ability to work autonomously
I don’t think I have ever attended an Interview were this theme hasn’t popped up somewhere. These types of questions are looking at if you can handle the pressures of the NHS which almost always expect the interviewee to reflect on good and bad times. The part that a lot of Assistants struggle with at first is the autonomous working so this is something the employer will be looking at (check out So What do Assistant Psychologists Actually Do? for more information on this)
Top Tip: Talk about HOW you manage your time instead of merely saying “I am good at time management”. I personally have a daily to-do list that I keep on my outlook calendar to keep myself organised which would be amazing to say in an interview.
You may be looking at this and scratching your head however there are such things as HR questions. These types of questions range from “What does Diversity mean in comparison to Equality?” etc. Don’t worry they have a set criteria to what they want as an answer and most of the time; this comes down to pure definition. The reason for these types of questions are to assess whether you harbour the same values as the organisation you want to work in.
Top Tip: I know this may sound stupid, however my advice would be to get your driver’s licence with access to a car as most posts have the expectation for you to work in multiple bases and in some organisations require you to have a car. There are also things such as do you smoke? However I want you to stop smoking for health reasons not to solely land a job.
This is the chance you have to ask the interviewer some questions. I know that majority of the time this doesn’t contribute to the decision making; however this gives the employer a sense of the type of person you are. However, try to plan what question you would like to ask as this could tip the scales if it comes down to you or another person.
Top Tip: I like to ask questions regarding the team ethos and if I were to get the job would the team welcome me with open arms. This usually sparks a conversation and more opportunity to reflect on different situations.
Thank you very much for reading this post by PsychAssist and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to receive the latest posts. Hopefully this has given you the tools needed to feel confident in your next Assistant Psychologist interview. All the best I know you’ll make me proud.
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