Common Questions Asked of Interns
The following interview questions are based on a list compiled by Johanna Tiemann and Barbara Nusbaum of the New York State Psychological Association's graduate student chapter (see the January, 1998, issue of the APA Monitor for the original list and an accompanying article "How to Survive the Search for an Internship").
If you are applying for an internship, be sure you have clear, crisp answers to each of the questions below. In addition, try to learn as much as possible about the internship site before you arrive for the interview, including the names of all key individuals and the details of any ongoing research projects. Internships have become quite competitive in recent years, so it pays to keep the three P's of interviewing in mind: Plan, Prepare, and Practice.
Commonly Asked Questions:
- How did you decide on a career in psychology? (If you've changed careers, be prepared to explain why.)
- What are you looking for in a psychology internship? (i.e., Why do you want to come here?)
- What are your goals for the internship year?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a clinician? As a tester? As a supervisee? As a diagnostician?
- What do you plan to do once you have finished your training? (Sometimes: What do you see yourself doing five years from now?)
- Case presentation tips:
- Be prepared to answer questions on the intake and testing reports you've submitted with your application.
- In addition to the cases discussed in the intake and testing reports submitted with your application, have two cases ready to present in a somewhat structured format.
- Prepare cases that are relevant to the work you would be doing at the internship (e.g., child, adult, family).
- Try to choose cases that will naturally allow you to answer to the following questions:
- What would you have done differently in your work with this case?
- What did you think went well with this case?
- What diagnosis did you give the patient, and why?
- What is your dissertation topic, and how far along is your work on it? (Be prepared to discuss how you became interested in your topic.)
- What do you look for in supervision? (Be ready to describe past supervision experiences.)
- What do you think it would be like working in a ... (fill in whatever is relevant to the site, such as inpatient unit, emergency room)? What's your worst fear about working on a locked, inpatient ward?
- Which of our electives/rotations appeals to you?
- What will your schedule be? Can you work evening hours?
- What is your theoretical orientation?
- What are your specific clinical interests?
- Do you have any questions? (Always have at least one question ready that is specific to the site.)