Making a Good Impression at Your Psychology Job Interview

Psychology job interviews can be a daunting experience, particularly in a troubled economic climate.
However, with the right combination of experience and interview preparation it’s possible to secure all but the most ambitious and competitive of positions, even with extensive competition and a poor economy to deal with. The ‘science’ of job seeking can help you, particularly in the tense world of interviews.

That job seeking ‘science’ starts with an understanding of what your interviewer is looking for, both in your interview answers and your suitability as an applicant. These four tips can help you make a good first impression at your interview and gain the interest of a hiring manager. Before you begin wowing interviewers with your employment skills, make sure these simple requirements are met.

Presentation goes beyond your clothing and grooming

Brushing off your best suit just isn’t enough. Presentation may start with the physical picture that employers see, but it extends onto your demeanor and ability to work to guidelines. Be punctual, agreeable, and enthusiastic and you stand to gain an instant advantage over your late, unorganized, and quiet peers. First impressions matter, and they start with the image that you send to mental health employers.

When preparing for an interview, remember that it’s part of a lengthy hiring process. It’s unlikely that your job search will begin and end with the first interview, and significantly more likely that you will need to speak with employers again before moving toward a job. Prepare for the standard interview questions (the how, why, and what types) before your interview in order to make the cut.

While employers often phrase their questions differently, the bulk of an initial interview’s subject matter will be built around qualifying yourself for the position. Ensure that you have at least some amount of material prepared in advance, even if it’s simply topics that can be expanded on for any specific questions. It’s rarely necessary to rehearse, but preparing basic material can certainly help.

For many employers, the goal of an initial interview isn’t to qualify applicants, but to disqualify those that lack the right attitude, credentials, or basic skills. Be prepared for basic questions that relate to your work history and career goals, as many employers will use the same set of sample questions to weed certain applicants out of their list before continuing with the hiring process.

One lie can ruin an interview. Avoid them at all costs.

After five successful questions, you run into one that you just can’t answer accurately. What should you do? As tempting as it may be to lie or avoid the question, doing so can reverse an entire positive interview. When faced with an unfamiliar concept or a new term, it’s unwise to bluff your answer or disguise your confusion. Ask for clarification, and if required, an explanation from your interviewer.