Hello and WELCOME BACK to PsychAssist. Within this article, we explore the 10 questions asked in a recent Assistant Psychologist interview. This is a very honest account of one of the PsychAssist team members interview which will hopefully give you an insight into specific types of questions that may be asked in AP interviews. Hopefully this will help you in your journey.
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Bit of a backstory to begin with, I gained my interview for a full-time AP role off of the back of a multi-month voluntary AP position at the same hospital. I was prepared for this interview, I knew the department, I knew the hospital, the psychological area and most importantly: the service users. I have so much to learn in all aspects of being an AP but I was definitely prepared for this particular interview.
The morning of the rolls around and I’m feeling good, I’m wearing my best, worst, smart shirt (light pink) with an equally terrible tie (also pink but darker), suit trousers (black) and polished black oxfords; I know it sounds like a mess but trust me, I looked smart.
“Not a big change but apparently enough to mess with the order in my head”
My interview is at 12 so I leave with plenty of time to spare and extra in reserve in case of delays, (with London transport this is always wise). This time transport ran smoothly, so I was 45 minutes early for my interview, so I had time to relax and think clearly before being summoned by the consultant, I was practically Zen at this point, right up until they called me in 30 minutes early. Not a big change but apparently enough to mess with the order in my head. I walked into the main lounge (my interview setting for today) to face the interview panel consisting of two colleagues from the psychology department, who I respect immensely, so far so good, my palms aren’t even sweaty yet. I take my coat off and sit down, despite me removing a layer the temperature seems to have been turned up.
Q1.) What is your understanding of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)?
I answered confidently if a little quickly (nerves creeping up slowly), the consultant then says: “you have been working with us for a while now so we are going to be a bit more in depth with you”, “excellent” I responded while my brain was busy overreacting and doing flips in my head.
Q2.) As you have worked as a support worker, what challenges do you see yourself facing as your role changes to an AP in terms of your working relationship with service users?
Again I answered confidently but quickly, my brain is still doing flips and my palms are getting a little warm now.
Q3.) On our wards we have many co morbidities, how do you plan on dealing with these?
I asked her to repeat the question, my mind went blank for a second, cue instant internal panic (for one second), in which time my brain quickly rebooted. I answered the question confidently albeit more hesitantly and in more words than were necessary, the panel seemed satisfied with my response (phew).
“I answered somewhat confidently, nerves still fizzing at the back of my mind”
Q4.) What is your knowledge about risk assessment tools?
Tell us about the ones you have used here? Again I answered confidently having used most of them at my place of work and having read about the ones I am not trained in (as of yet) extensively.
Q5.) Name a situation real or fake when you have used formulation and what was the outcome of the formulation?
For no discernible reason this question really threw me off and my brain hit instant shut down, blank screen, cue second internal panic, I started to talk my way through the question to try and get my brain back into gear. I know formulation, I have used it many times but today the right words took their time. I was still talking, a better word would be rambling at this point, my brain then came back online and I started making some sense again, just in time to summarise my ramble with what I actually had meant to say. Question saved (I thought), I could tell the panel weren’t so convinced however, by their slightly confused facial expressions.
Q6.) What is your understanding of the role of an assistant psychologist?
I answered confidently again.
Q7.) You mentioned assessment, what do you use the assessment for?
I answered somewhat confidently, nerves still fizzing at the back of my mind.
Q8.) Therefore, what is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?
I answered confidently at first but slipped on a word and had to backtrack to recover, this naturally seemed to turn the temperature up in the room by 1000▫C, definitely sweaty palms.
Q9.) Name a theoretical model you have used while working here?
So many options yet once again my brain had fallen off of the trampoline in my head and had hit reboot, another full blank screen moment, and cue internal panic number three. I was thinking through different theories but I couldn’t seem to grasp any and apply them properly, I became aware of the silence and the level gaze of the panel. I started talking, rapidly, spilling everything I knew about every different theory I could think of, relevant or not, to the panel. I must have looked like a fish out of water, wide-mouthed gasping for air, who had unfortunately swallowed a psychology textbook and had proceeded to loudly regurgitate the whole thing, in pieces, at their feet. Not a moment I want to relive every day. Side note, the room seemed to go up in temperature another 1000▫C and I now have forehead and upper lip sweat.
Q10.) What do you expect from a supervisor?
I am a sweaty mess but I answered the question confidently and the panel seemed satisfied. They say thank you and asked me if I have any questions, I did, I asked my questions and they then politely thanked me and showed me out I thanked them again and left.
So what did I take away from this, my first ever AP interview?
- Being nervous is normal, you are human don’t be hard on yourself for letting them get to you once in a while.
- Never be afraid to ask for the question to be repeated or telling them you are nervous or that you don’t know the answer to a question. We are all human, we aren’t perfect and we don’t know everything.
- Learn from this, it’s only a failure if we don’t reflect and improve because of it. Remember F. A. I. L, First Attempt In Learning.