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8 answers to help you nail common questions at your next psychology job interview

Published on: 13 Nov 2023

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. But with proper preparation, you can confidently tackle the most common questions that come your way.

In this article, we’ll provide you with insightful answers to key interview questions that might come up in an interview for a psychology role. Armed with these examples and strategies, you'll be well on your way to acing your next interview.

1. Tell me about yourself

Ah, the classic icebreaker! This question might seem simple, but it can leave you fumbling for words if you're not prepared. It's important to strike a balance between personal and professional aspects of your life. Focus on relevant experiences and achievements that showcase your skills and passion for psychology. 

You could say, "I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour, which led me to pursue a degree in psychology. Throughout my studies, I engaged in research projects and internships, where I developed strong analytical and communication skills. This passion and expertise make me confident in my ability to contribute to this organisation's mission."

2. What are your strengths?

This question is your time to shine!  

Highlighting your strengths is an opportunity to show how your skills align with the job. 

In psychology, qualities such as empathy, active listening, strong communication skills, and the ability to build rapport with clients are highly valued. Support your strengths with specific examples from your previous work experience or studies. 

You could mention, "One of my strengths is my ability to empathise and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. This allows me to build strong therapeutic relationships with clients.  I also have strong research and data analysis skills, which means I can gather and interpret data effectively."

3. What are your weaknesses?

The dreaded weaknesses question! Don't panic, we all have areas to improve.  It's important to be honest while showing self-awareness and the steps you have taken to improve. Avoid mentioning weaknesses that are essential to the job or that may raise red flags. 

Instead, discuss a minor weakness and highlight how you’ve worked to overcome it or turn it into a strength. For instance, you could say, "I used to struggle with time management. I’ve worked on this by using a prioritisation system and time management tools. This has significantly improved my efficiency and productivity."

4. Why do you want to work here?

This question is a chance to show your research and interest in the organisation. 

Make your enthusiasm and alignment with the organisation's values, mission, and culture clear.
 Research the company beforehand and mention specific aspects that resonate with you. 

For instance, your response could be, "I’m drawn to this organisation's commitment to evidence-based practices. I also like the collaborative environment that fosters growth and professional development. This aligns perfectly with my career aspirations."

5. Why are you leaving your current job?

When responding to this question, keep it positive. Your focus should be on the new position's opportunities and growth. 

Avoid speaking negatively about your current or previous employer. Instead, emphasise how the new role aligns better with your long-term career goals and aspirations. 

You could mention, "While I’ve had great experiences at my current position, I’m looking for a role that lets me apply my skills and knowledge in a more specialised field. This opportunity aligns perfectly with my long-term career aspirations."

6. Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?

This question assesses your problem-solving and resilience skills. 

Choose an example that shows your ability to handle challenges and find solutions.

You should highlight your adaptability and resilience. Always emphasise a positive outcome and the lessons learned from the experience. 

For example, you could say, "in a previous role, I encountered a client with complex trauma who was initially resistant to therapy. I carried out a patient-centred approach. I built trust gradually and adapted my therapeutic interventions to meet their needs. Through consistent support and a collaborative therapeutic relationship, we achieved positive outcomes. The client reported significant progress in their healing journey."

7. How do you handle stressful situations?

This question is another chance to show your resilience and adaptability. 

For instance, you could say, "I keep calm and composed during stressful situations. I also prioritise self-care. This includes practising mindfulness techniques and activities that recharge me mentally and emotionally. I also find that effective time management helps me stay on top of my tasks, reducing stress levels."

8. How do you stay updated with advancements in the field of psychology?

Fields like psychology are constantly changing with new discoveries.

 It’s important that psychologists stay up to date with the latest information and research.

This question assesses whether you’re open to learning. It’s your opportunity to show how you improve your knowledge and understanding of the industry. 

You could say, "I stay updated by regularly attending conferences, workshops, and seminars relevant to my area of expertise. I also regularly attend CPD courses.  This keeps me informed about the latest research, techniques, and interventions."

Find out more about our CPD courses on BPS Learn

Good luck finding your job in psychology

Mastering common job interview questions is crucial for standing out in a competitive job market. By preparing thoughtful and relevant answers that highlight your strengths, experiences and enthusiasm, you can show your value to prospective employers. 

Remember to keep positive and let your passion shine through.

With practice and preparation, you can ace your job interviews and set yourself on the path to a successful career.

Find your next role in psychology today.