Hello and WELCOME to PsychAssist. Ok so it’s coming to that time of year again, where you might start to see an influx of Trainee PWP positions ready to start in September. Now for some of you, you may have applied before and received an interview but due to not being prepared, fell short of getting a place. Nevertheless, as always, PsychAssist is here to help! Within this post, we will explore What to Expect in A Trainee PWP Interview.
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Yes you read the heading right! There is most likely going to be a Role Play involved in your interview. In some cases, this will even occur right at the beginning of the interview (which can be quite nerve-racking for some). The main thing is to RELAX! At this stage of your career, they’re not looking for you to present a full formulation but instead they are assessing your interpersonal skills. How you ENGAGE and interact with the client. Things like, are you warm and easy to talk to? These skills are what you need to show them in your interview because they are exactly the skills needed to competently carry out the role.
PsychAssist Tip: Be mindful of your non-verbal communication as this is crucial. Also, don’t forget to be yourself! Do whatever feels natural and don’t over think things as this will affect your non-verbal’s. Above all, smile and be open. They want someone who’s human, not a robot!
Now these questions are where most interviewee’s slip up. Psych Grads are so wrapped up about learning about formulations and really complex aspects of therapy that they overlook the basics. Within these questions, employers are most likely to ask about the core principles of IAPT and also about you’re understanding of IAPT. Now before you start to freak out, it’s not as bad as what you think. Also, here’s a website that you can go to that will break down the 2 core principles of IAPT (THIS PDF SHOULD HELP)
PsychAssist Tip: Don’t go into too much detail about this area as there assessing that you’ve got a basic understanding of the IAPT system. Remember, you’re about to go into the system so they don’t expect you to be an expert in this field…. yet!
Ok, so it wouldn’t be a Psychology interview without a little bit of reflectivity. We’ve spoken on this topic many a times within our PsychAssist articles (check out The Best Kept Secret Psych Grads Don’t Know About!). Basically, you need to prepare to answer a question about a difficult case that you’ve had in the past (or situation) and what you did, along with how that felt. They will also ask you about a positive experience that you’ve had, however the main theme they are looking for is that you have the ability to reflect on your experience and be critical of your own practice.
PsychAssist Tip: Don’t be afraid to be critical of yourself as this is what they want to see. I’ve been in many interviews where I’ve left thinking “gosh I really didn’t sell myself and all I did was criticise how I did things and what I learnt from it” but the weird thing is that interviewers love it.
This is another place that Psych Grads slip up on (and this is partly due to not having enough experience). Interviewers are more than likely going to ask you a question along the lines of “a patient has disclosed…. what would you do”. What they are really trying to say is “A client has disclosed a safeguarding issue and we want to know that you can recognise this and do something about it”. However, so many Psych Grads will say things like “I would talk to them and try to resolve the issue” when you should really be exploring the services safeguarding procedures.
PsychAssist Tip: In any interview question that you get, always consider the risks and client safety as this demonstrates that you can identify and act upon any issues within this area. This is also a great skill to develop sooner rather than later as it will equip you to working within mental health services.
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