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Share Interview Questions You've Been Asked

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by jacobpsych, 02.17.10.

  1. jacobpsych

    jacobpsych

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    I realize there are a lot of posts spread around about interview questions. But I propose this:

    Post one line containing an interview question you have been asked, or you think might be asked.


    This will help those first timers, or even veterans think about what they would answer if given the question.
  2. jacobpsych

    jacobpsych

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    Why do you want to be a part of this program?
  3. neuropsyance

    neuropsyance

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    My personal favorite from my first interview.....

    "If you could start your dissertation right now, what would it be?"
  4. psychstudent613

    psychstudent613

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    what are your hobbies?
    What do you do for fun? (and not your internships ect)
  5. psychstudent613

    psychstudent613

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    If you did poorly in one subject (or less than your average, got a W ect)- Why?

    oh, and great topic- thanks!
  6. Buzzwordsoldier

    Buzzwordsoldier

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    Have been asked (and in turn asked): "Have you ever feared you were going crazy?"

    Wanted to be asked: "Will you have sex with me?" (just sayin')
    Last edited: 02.18.10
  7. Kat 22

    Kat 22

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    An interesting question was:

    What did you learn about human behaviour through your volunteer experiences?

    One question that caught me off guard was:

    POI: I use critical psychology as my standpoint to analyze information. Do you know what that is?
    My answer: I'm vaguely familiar with the term.
    POI: Oh? Define it.
    Me: :eek:
  8. bookends

    bookends

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    hahaha oh man, too funny. i have my first interview this weekend so i'm sure i'll encounter some awkwardness like this
  9. Thirdxthecharm

    Thirdxthecharm

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    My first interview question was:
    What do you believe is the etiology of psychological disorders?
  10. Chenelsea3

    Chenelsea3

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    background: i'm interested in using ERP and fMRI

    Question: Why do you need to use ERP and fMRI to look at psychopathology? What do they tell you that behavioral measures can't?

    And he then continued to question me for about 10 minutes on my answers... :scared:
  11. childpsych479

    childpsych479

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    Great thread.

    I'm interested in depression in children and adolescents. Two most interesting/surprising questions I've had:

    1) Do you think there is a difference between child depression and adult depression? (from POI)

    2) What would it be like for you to be a therapist? (from DCT at a VERY research heavy program)

    I've also gotten the "if you had all the grant money in the world, what would you want to research and what questions would you want to ask?" It's not easy to answer but I've gotten it a few times now so that helps!
  12. clinicalpsyapp

    clinicalpsyapp

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    I had a non-mentor faculty interviewer ask what my favorite study that I've worked on was and why. Between undergrad, a year off doing research, and my masters program, I have probably worked on about 10 or 11 different studies. This question kind of caught me off guard!
  13. nycegurl

    nycegurl

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    Well I haven't had a real interview yet but when I had a mock interview my professor asked:

    Why do you want to be a [insert your future career goal]?

    (my goal is to become a university counselor by the way)...I started talking about mental health needs and he thought it was generic :(
  14. krisrox

    krisrox

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    "What kind of lab environment could you NOT work well in?"

    One faculty member kept grilling me about my UG school's basketball team. I've only been to three games! (And told him this, yet he still wanted to talk about it?)
  15. Psydoct

    Psydoct

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    .
    Last edited: 05.12.10
  16. richzeelv

    richzeelv

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    Yes, more like "what are your strengths and areas of growth as a researcher" and "what are your strengths and areas of growth as a clinician"
  17. phillydave

    phillydave Doctoral Student

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    Tell me about the last novel/book you've read?
  18. firsttimepsych

    firsttimepsych

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    My interviewer asked me:

    "What's your opinion on graduate students in psychology getting their own personal therapy?"

    Luckily he agreed with my answer :rolleyes:
  19. Psydoct

    Psydoct

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    Ah I like the "Areas of Growth" rephrasing..makes it easier to answer! :)
    Thanks for the reply!
  20. richzeelv

    richzeelv

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    Yeah, it may be because it's a counseling psych program....but yes, the question was quite interesting. You are welcome!
  21. gradpsyc

    gradpsyc

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    I was asked to describe myself in one word.
  22. phdpsych

    phdpsych

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    What would your best friend say is your worst flaw?

    What is a defense mechanism that you use in stressful situations?

    What is a book that you have read that showed you something about human behavior?

    Most people take off about 3 or 4 years before graduate school (I graduated only last year). Why do you think that you are ready?

    Tell me about a study that you have worked on where you were involved in the methodology.....can you critique it?

    If you were an expert witness as a trial where someone harmed another person, and the brain scan showed that the perpetrator had an enlarged amygdala (or some other brain structure), would you say that the person did this because of the way his brain was made? Did he have free will in this situation?
  23. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    MOD NOTE: I changed the title so people have a better idea of the thread topic. -t4c

    My favorite questions to ask:

    1. What was your favorite book as a child? How about as an adult?
    2. Why are manhole covers round?*
    3. What job would you most hate to have? Why? (Tip of the hat to Bernard Pivot)
    4. What would be your most/least favorite class to teach? Why?

    *I pulled this from when I used to work at a DotCom. My second favorite question to ask was, "How many quarters would you need to stack to match the height of the Empire State Building?"...though I never asked a psych applicant. Anyone want to take a stab at it?
  24. MinxC

    MinxC

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    I felt that one interviewer kept pressing me to share a traumatic life event. At first, I was asked about a "life moment" that QUOTE "shaped my life". I tried to summarize how my research, clinical and academic experiences made me really interested in my stated academic focus (which relates to neuropsychology & is not per say touchy feely). Then I was asked again to describe myself outside of work. I tried to give an answer about friends, family, interests outside of work that keep me sane. The question was restated again. So I tried to explain how I handle stress & provided examples from school/work. The question was again restated. I grudgingly gave a example of a personal experience... Personally, I thought that this person was pushing the envelop a little too far
  25. multicultpsyc

    multicultpsyc

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    1. Who are the famous people at your graduate institution and why?

    2. What did you want to be as a child and why are you not that now?

    3. What type of leader are you?

    4. Tell me about a clinical case.

    5. Tell me about an issue in clinical supervision and how your responded.

    6. Tell me about a moment in your life that set you on your current path.
  26. FadedC

    FadedC

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    The first time I heard that question my immediate reaction was that of course manhole covers are round because the manholes themselves are round. They wouldn't cover them very well if they were square. Of course that's not the answer they are looking for!

    The big problem with famous questions like that though is that you don't know if the person is giving the answer because they figured it out themselves or because they heard it before.
  27. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    Very true. I actually prefer more obscure questions, because I want to see how a person breaks down the challenge, and their thought process as to how they would go about trying to find a solution. It was very evident who the artists were, and then who once aspired to be an engineer. :D
  28. Samantha Leigh

    Samantha Leigh

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    wait - there's an official answer to that question? I was thinking because they're so heavy they are easier to be rolled. I love your response, by the way, very chicken and egg
  29. Kat 22

    Kat 22

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    I was asked the 'What are your strengths and weaknesses' question quite a bit, and I was just honest when it came to my weaknesses and I found that people were really receptive to my candid answers. I said that I would like to improve my scientific writing skills. I've published two things and have one manuscript in preparation, but I'm always open to constructive criticism in this arena. I also said time management, which is a good answer if you frame it in a way that makes it not cliche.
  30. psycathy

    psycathy

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    This question sounds familiar. The answer "because manholes are round" is ingenious in its simplicity, but I think it's because they can't fall in if they (and the manhole) are round. If they were square (the manhole and its cover), you'd have to place the cover just right or it would easily fall in. Picture a square cover standing on edge over a square hole--see how it would drop right in?

    EDIT: Now I'm questioning myself. Is that right? :)
  31. Sunshine3710

    Sunshine3710

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    There's no official "right" answer to this question (my answer/reasoning is the same as yours, btw). The interviewer is usually just trying to see what your reasoning is in coming to whatever conclusion you end up with.
  32. Aura5

    Aura5

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    Wow, some of those questions are kind of intimidating and probing. Is it just me? I assumed most would be centered around research/clinical interest, why choosing that program, questions specific to interest area, why psychology over other things, etc. And maybe a few about outside interests, etc. Not "Have you ever felt like you were going crazy? Why are manhole covers round? Who's your favorite Beatle and why? What color underwear are you wearing and what do you feel this says about you?" Obviously I'm exaggerating on the last two but... :confused:

    I suppose they need to know because...what? To see if the personality is a good fit? I mean, it IS a psychologists asking the questions most likely, so they know how to read people by responses and stuff. On trial to see if we can stand the heat, eh? It just seems a little odd to me, some of these questions. I assumed it'd be more like a job-interview, asking relevant questions, not a personality test/pseudo-psychological assessment lol. I'll keep that in mind when my day comes...
    Last edited: 02.18.10
  33. Jezebel09

    Jezebel09

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    Some of the stranger ones are to see how you think things through, analyze a situation. Others are stess questions to see how you handle the pressure. And, I think some of the psychologically probing ones can catch the applicant offguard--and thus s/he may answer a question in a more honest, unrehearsed way.
  34. hamsterpants

    hamsterpants

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    for what its worth, both of my interviews consisted of job-interview type questions: this is for a Clinical PhD program
  35. Aura5

    Aura5

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    Which again, makes sense if the point of the interview is to assess me and my personality/psychology. I guess that comes with the territory, since this field involves a lot of human-analyzing? I'm just trying to figure out the relevance of seeing how we think things through. The only thing I can think is, again, aspects of practicing psychology might depend on our analysis and how we think and interpret situations/people (outside of what textbook says), which might show how we might would be as a therapist, react to things, etc....am I close or am I just missing something? Not being totally skeptical now, just kind of curious. lol. I mean if someone was going to conduct biological research, would they ask the same psychological things just to see if the person is a good program fit with the other students, although it has nothing to do with the microbes? Or is it a field-related thing because psychology is heavy with human-analysis/human interaction/critical thinking/potentially intense one-one situations? I think a better test of that, though, would be seeing how we interact with a patient. Dunno.

    *scratches chin*
    Last edited: 02.18.10
  36. Aura5

    Aura5

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    k', that makes more sense to me.
  37. Jezebel09

    Jezebel09

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    The question about the manhole cover was actually a question that Microsoft (I believe) used for some of its employee interviews, so these strange questions can also pop up in regular interviews.

    But, like hamsterpants, I really have mainly gotten the typical job interview questions.

    Sure, I think there is a psychological component to these questions, but I think it is more about seeing how we analyze something. In undergrad, students can often receive really solid grades without having to think too much. It's often about regurgitating information from a lecture or a textbook. With grad. school, you have to go beyond sheer memorization. (I know I am generalizing.) By asking these types of questions, the faculty are partly attempting to see how you think on your feet and analyze a situation that you have not thought of before.
  38. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I pulled it from my DotCom experience, though I've heard other people reference it on the interview trail. I was considering a position at M$ way back when, and they had quite an array of fun questions.
    Last edited: 02.18.10
  39. Aura5

    Aura5

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    Okay, that does make more sense. Grad school wants to see critical thinking not just textbook memorization. And maybe any kind of Ph.D. would expect this more than, say, a M.D. (being that it's a doctorate of philosophy after all). Well seeing how I dove into questioning the questions and unearthing their motives, hopefully I'm on the right track ;)

    And if that's the case, I hope my undergrad in English helps demonstrate analytical side. Trust me, if one is not keen on critical thinking, s/he would drown in one of those classes, or might have their head explode. I took the Cultural Studies track which was all about breaking down the obvious, looking at the text up, down, sideways, etc., how it relates to the society, what it symbolizes even if the own author was unaware, etc ad infinitum. My Communications major didn't do that as much, I have to say.... Anyway the English/Comm doesn't do anything as far as research/clinical psych experience for sure, but again, if you want critical thinking and non-black-white answers, English degree is all there!
  40. FadedC

    FadedC

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    Well technically there is a right answer, as you reasoned manhole covers are round because that makes them impossible to fall in. When you think about how big and heavy they are and how much damage they would do, this is presumably a rather key part of their design.

    But overall your correct. The interviewer is generally less interested in whether you give a correct answer then he is in observing your thought proccess in reaching a conclusion. I'd have to assume figuring out the actual answer though is still a plus.
  41. Aura5

    Aura5

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    My initial reaction would be "Is this a trick question?" Not sure how that'd fly. But beyond that I'd just think it was some sort of standard, just they way they make them, not a big reason. We see lots of grates that aren't round, that I'm sure get opened from time to time, so it's not impossible. Maybe being round helps those who need to go in them identify them as manholes as opposed to something else. So why are dining plates typically round?
  42. Sunshine3710

    Sunshine3710

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    True... although I would say that there are several other answers that are also right. I guess I should have said that there is no *one* official correct answer. I found several other examples for why manholes are round on Wikipedia (yes... I googled): Manhole covers are round because manholes are round, and one reason why manholes are round is because "round tubes are the strongest and most material-efficient shape against the compression of the earth around them." Another answer I wouldn't have thought of initially: "The bearing surfaces of manhole frames and covers are machined to assure flatness and prevent them from becoming dislodged by traffic."

    So, depending on ones thought process, one might answer differently than another person and yet still be correct. Obviously, it would help to come up with the correct answer... I wouldn't say that manhole covers are round because circles are prettier than squares or triangles. :)
  43. A Gooz

    A Gooz

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    What do you think about?
  44. psychstudent613

    psychstudent613

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    I was not asked all these questions but people told me that they were asked and were told that they might be asked these things...

    How would your professors describe you?
    How would your best friend describe you?
    How would your enemy describe you?
    Why do you want to listen to people's complaints all day?
    Why do you think you can do this?

    good luck!
  45. Aura5

    Aura5

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    Now I like that one!
  46. katiekoala

    katiekoala

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    The most random one I was asked: If the world's best scientist and and the world's best artist were drowning and you could only save one, which would you save and why?

    In the same interview: If you could have a dinner party and invite any three people you wanted, who would they be and why?

    Aside from these, all the other questions were normal (what are you research interests, why this program, etc...).

    Good luck to everyone interviewing right now!
  47. sioren

    sioren

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    One question that I thought was interesting was what to do with a patient that refuses to work with you because of your status (EG gender, ethnicity, trainee, etc.).
  48. JockNerd

    JockNerd

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    Harder/unexpected questions I got:
    If you like research so much, why aren't you applying to a bench science program?
    You know structural equation modeling? I don't believe you, explain it to me.
    What will you do if you don't get in this year?

    Stupid questions I got:
    If you wrote your dissertation now, what would the title be?
    Any variant of "If you were an X what kind of X would you be?"
    You're a member of APA? What have you done with that?
  49. irish80122

    irish80122 DCT

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    I am a third-year clinical student, so I am now on the other side of the table. Here are a few of the questions I ask applicants

    Why clinical psychology? I ask this if it isn't clear to me why they want clinical credentials.
    Why a PhD? I ask this if the applicant seems very clinical, perhaps wanting a clinical job after. You are of course allowed to be a clinician, but I like to make sure that getting a Ph.D. makes sense given the applicant's goals.
    Our program has students teach and do therapy their first semester, so I ask about how they feel about that.
    I ask about the importance of collaboration? I try to sense how competitive they are as we are a very friendly program and uber-competitive people wouldn't fit as well.
    I ask where the person would like to be down the road (i.e. career plans)

    I think that's most of it. Now you will be very well-prepared if you have me as an interviewer :).
  50. bookends

    bookends

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    got this question and thought it was a really good question

    "If you get multiple offers, how are you going to decide what school to go to?"

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