Sample Psychologist Interview Questions and Answers

Get into your interviewer’s head to anticipate likely questions and plan winning responses.

Sample Psychologist Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you’re applying to work at a healthcare facility, school, research institution, or clinical practice, you’ll need initiative and good interview skills to land a top job in psychology. You can learn how to make an impression on prospective employers by studying the most common psychologist interview questions and practicing your responses in advance.

7 Common Psychologist Interview Questions

  1. Why Did You Choose Psychology As Your Career?
  2. What Parts of Your Work Do You Enjoy the Most/Least?
  3. What Do You Think Are the Most Important Qualities and Skills of a Top-Notch Psychologist?
  4. What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Psychologist?
  5. Which Assessment Instrument Do You Find the Most Helpful?
  6. What Do You Do to Stay Current on Trends in Your Field?
  7. Tell Me About a Time You Worked With a Police Department on a Challenging Issue.

Question #1: Why Did You Choose Psychology As Your Career?

This is one of the most common psychologist interview questions because it helps the interviewer understand your background, personality, and passion for the career of psychology.

  • You can use the storytelling technique to describe an experience that piqued your interest.
  • Talk about something in your studies that made an impression.
  • Point out how that experience or knowledge led to your career choice.

How you could answer:

“I saw how my cousin struggled when he came home from his last deployment in the army. We had been close, but he seemed very different and distant when he returned. Our family encouraged him to begin PTSD therapy, and after sticking with counseling and following the advice of his therapist, we saw a huge change in him as he became the guy we used to know. That’s when I knew I wanted to help people who have experienced trauma.”

Question #2: What Parts of Your Work Do You Enjoy the Most/Least?

Often in an interview, you may be tempted to say something negative. Don’t fall for it! This question reveals your ability to adapt and stay motivated, and lets the interviewer know your depth of experience.

  • Stay positive, even when talking about what you like least—no one wants to hire a negative person.
  • Address what you like most with a response that encompasses the role of a psychologist.
  • Using a casual, upbeat voice, talk about one thing that is challenging, but end your answer on a positive note.

How you could answer:

“I wanted to become a psychologist so I could help people improve their lives. It is satisfying when I see a patient making progress. Working through issues with insurance and billing is a challenge for everyone. That’s why it’s great to have administrative support from insurance specialists.”

Question #3: What Do You Think Is the Most Important Qualities and Skills of a Top-Notch Psychologist?

The answer to this question reveals your values and whether they align with the purpose and values of the organization.

  • List three things that relate to the role.
  • Explain why each is important.

How you could answer:

“I think listening skills, compassion, and keeping up with current research about counseling techniques are important. A patient who feels she is being heard and understood is more apt to open up and see faster improvement. Reading psychology journals and attending lectures shows a commitment to the science of psychology and enables us to give our very best to our patients.”

Question #4: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Psychologist?

This is one of those dreaded strengths/weaknesses psychologist interview questions. Just remember that this question is really about how well you would fit into the job or workplace culture.

  • Pick a topic that matches one of the job requirements and talk about your skills and interest in that area.
  • To address your weakness, talk about an area of psychology you would like to learn more about.

How you could answer:

“I took extra classes about addiction while I was in grad school, and I’ve had particular success working with substance abuse patients, so that is an area of strength for me. Most of my experience so far has been with individual counseling, but I would like to work in group therapy as well. This practice has a good reputation for group work, so I’m hoping to learn from my colleagues here.”

Question #5: Which Assessment Instrument Do You Find the Most Helpful?

Many psychologist interview questions test your experience, knowledge, and use of standard assessment tools.

  • Pick one or two instruments you know well, and give a brief description of each and how they are used.
  • Rather than picking a favorite, explain which is best for a particular situation.

How you could answer:

“If a client is experiencing depression, I start with a short, self-administered tool like the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to get a baseline for how often they’re experiencing symptoms and how severely it’s affecting their daily life. I will then administer the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) to get a sense of whether a comorbid anxiety disorder is present.”

Question #6: What Do You Do to Stay Current on Trends in Your Field?

Working as a psychologist is a continual learning process. Your employer will want to hire someone who is passionate about their field and keeps up with the latest findings.

  • Talk about the importance of continuing education in psychology.
  • Describe two or three activities you have participated in and talk about what you learned from each.

How you could answer:

“Psychology is a continually evolving science. I am keenly interested in what is new and impactful in the field. In the past year, I attended a conference that featured a panel of doctors speaking about therapies for cancer survivors. My bedtime reading includes Frontiers in Psychology. Just this month I read a fascinating study of how supportive nonagenarian sibling relationships contribute to longevity.”

Question #7: Tell Me About a Time You Worked With a Police Department on a Challenging Issue.

Interview questions that start with “tell me about a time” are called behavioral questions. Working with law enforcement—whether you’re in forensic psychology or in a clinical role—can sometimes be difficult.

  • Use the storytelling method to talk about an experience working with law enforcement.
  • Include the specific actions you took, why you chose them, and the end result.

How you could answer:

“I worked with a police department who had an officer commit suicide. He had been exhibiting symptoms of PTSD but would not seek help. I worked with the other officer who were severely affected by his death, and encouraged the whole department to talk about PTSD and the need for therapy for themselves and their fellow officers.”

How Do You Feel About These Psychologist Interview Questions?

Interviewing can be stressful, but being prepared for many of the psychologist interview questions you’re likely to be asked can take the edge off. While you’re looking for your dream job as a psychologist, be sure to complete your Monster Profile. Once you upload your resume, recruiters and hiring managers will be able to check out your credentials, and you’ll receive Monster career advice and the latest psychologist job postings in your area.