October 17, 2017

Psychology Job Interview

So you got the call for the interview?  Congratulations!

Preparing for your psychology job interview

You’ve just earned an opportunity that many job applicants never see, and now it’s time to prepare.  By being at your best, mentally and physically prepared, you can make the most of this chance and present yourself to your future boss as the ideal employee.

Here are a few things you can do in advance in order to be ready:

Do your homework

It helps to know:

  • a little bit about the history and mission of the company or organization you are applying to
  • what their focuses are
  • the names and a few details of some of the leadership

Being able to discuss these things during the interview will demonstrate thoroughness and sincere interest.  Also, be sure to figure out how to get there in advance, as punctuality is extremely crucial in an interview situation.

Get a good night’s sleep

If you are well rested, you will come across as more confident and relaxed.  You will also be less likely to experience stress, and better able to provide answers to the interviewer’s questions that accurately reflect your expertise, training, and experience.  You’ve worked hard to get this far, and you want to make sure that your quality as a candidate is apparent to your potential employer.

Dress formally

Even if the workplace appears to be a jeans-and-t-shirt environment, even if that is the last time you will ever wear a suit into the building again, it is important to wear business-appropriate formal wear to an interview.

Even for jobs where formal dress is not required, dressing nicely for an interview demonstrates to the hiring official that you are capable of formality when it is needed, and that you respect the business or organization enough to default to a formal context for the first meeting.

Bring copies of your materials

It is a good idea to have a copy of your resume, your curriculum vitae, any letters of reference, and any other documentation that may have been requested during the application process.

Providing documentation when requested can have a very positive impact on the interview process, and demonstrates attention to detail as well.

Psychology Job Interview Questions To Expect

As you prepare for your interview, it is a good idea to anticipate the questions that the hiring officials are likely to ask, and to have some answers ready.

Naturally, many of the questions will be specific to the type of organization you are applying to, and the psychology specializations practiced.

An interviewer for a job at a clinic that is focused on developmental psychology including child psychology will ask very different questions from someone looking to fill an academic position where your primary duties will be research psychology and experimental psychology.

Here is a sample of common questions encountered psychology job interviews:

  • What made you want to pursue a career in psychology?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses in the field of (school psychology, forensic psychology, industrial organizational psychology, etc)?
  • What theoretical orientation do you support?
  • Describe your internship experience.  What did you learn?
  • What resources do you use to keep up with new developments in your specialty?
  • Are you a member of any professional psychological organizations?  Which ones, and why?
  • What are your goals and future plans as a psychologist?
  • What are your research interests?
  • What do you look for in supervision?

Thinking over questions like these, determining what your answers would be, and doing research to figure out what other, more field-specific questions might be asked, will help you to be prepared to think on your feet and make a good impression in your interview.

Go back to careers in psychology