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Internship Interview Questions

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by ImSkyKid, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. ImSkyKid

    ImSkyKid 7+ Year Member

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    Folks in the internship invite/rejection thread had the idea of creating a thread about interview questions, so viola.

    Please feel free to share materials you have or sources you have found helpful for you to prepare. If you have example questions from previous years, it would be cool to know either what site the questions came from or at least what setting (UCC, VA, Community Clinic, Hospital, etc.)

    Also, if you go on interviews and want to share some of the questions, have at it! I think it would be cool to see some of the off-the-wall questions that are thrown out there. :rofl:
     
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  3. ImSkyKid

    ImSkyKid 7+ Year Member

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    For VA interviews, it seems like they use a pretty standard set of questions. If you interviewed there for external practicum, from what I've heard the questions are similar. Here's what I can remember from my practicum interviews and mock interviews I've done with VA affiliated folks:

    • Why are you interested in coming here?
    • Why do you want to work with this population?
    • Tell me about your most difficult case and how you managed it.
    • Tell me about an ethical dilemma and how you resolved it.
    • Tell me about a difficult assessment case.
    • Tell me about a case where multicultural issues came up and how you and your supervisor addressed them.
    • Tell me about your most successful supervision experience.
    • Describe a case where you used an EBP.
    There were other standard strengths/weaknesses questions too that you would anticipate from most sites.
     
  4. 307Psychology

    307Psychology

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    I went through and filled in responses to all of the following questions and read them over every week or so. Will likely bring them with to review when traveling.

    Personal/professional:

    1. How did you become interested in psychology?
    2. How did you become interested in addiction research?
    3. What would you do if you weren’t in psychology?
    4. What do you see as your clinical strengths and weaknesses? How do they influence your work? What have you done to deal with shortcomings?
    5. What are your goals for internship? In five years?
    6. What is your favorite supervision style and why?
    7. Why are you here?
    8. What non-psychology experience has helped shape your professional identity?
    9. Where do you see the profession heading?
    10. What qualities are characteristic of a good clinical psychologist (or supervisor)?
    11. What is the role of the psychologist in a multidisciplinary team?

    Purely personal:
    1. Tell me about yourself? (include both professional and personal interests)
    2. What do you see as your personal strengths and weaknesses?
    3. What do you do in your spare time?
    4. What unique qualities would you bring to our training program?

    Research:
    1. What is your Ph.D. dissertation topic? How is your research progressing?
    2. How did you get interested in your Ph.D. thesis topic?
    3. What is the clinical relevance of your Ph.D. thesis topic?
    4. What are some of the ethical dilemmas posed by your Ph.D. thesis research?
    5. What research would you want to pursue here?

    Ethics
    1. Tell me about an ethical problem you have been faced with and how you handled it.
    2. Under what conditions can/should psychologists break confidentiality?
    3. Review this vignette and discuss the ethical issues involved and how you would go about addressing them.

    Assessment:
    1. Tell us about an instrument with which you feel competent
    2. What psychological tests are you familiar with?
    3. What is your opinion on projective tests?
    4. Conceptualize a recent case (or conceptualize a case presented to you as a vignette).
    5. What further assessment training do you need?

    Treatment:
    1. What is your greatest strength as a therapist?
    2. What type of client is most difficult for you to work with? What type of feelings do you have towards such clients? How do these feelings interfere with treatment?
    3. What is your orientation in therapy?
    4. What do you think of dynamic approaches?
    5. Talk about a therapy case you had. How did you conceptualize the case? What was most effective?
    6. Describe a difficult case or one that did not go according to plan.
    7. Describe a case that was unsuccessful. Why?
    8. What sorts of supervisors have you had? What type of supervision works/doesn’t work for you?
    9. Tell me about a negative/rewarding supervisory experience.
    10. What further therapy training or experiences do you need?
    11. What empirically validated treatments are you familiar with?
    12. What is your opinion on psychologists having prescription privileges?
    13. Has any client challenged your fundamental beliefs about life? What was that experience like? How did you manage it?
    14. Have you had any experience with group therapy? If so, describe.
    15. Have you had any experience with co therapy? If so, describe.
    16. How do you describe your therapeutic style?

    Credentials:
    1. Why did you choose your training program?
    2. What are the strengths/limitations of your graduate program?
    3. Why should we accept you over the other equally qualified candidates?

    Client/Patient Information:
    1. What sorts of clients have you worked with? Which were you most comfortable with?
    2. Least comfortable with?
    3. Most effective with?
    4. Have you worked with clients such as the ones we have here?
    5. How do you work with and understand people with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds?

    Recruiting
    1. How do you see our program fitting with your goals (for internship or professionally)?
    2. What rotations are you interested in?
    3. Where else have you applied and what attracted you to these places?
    4. What settings are you actively considering?

    Miscellaneous
    1. What else would you like me to know about you that is not apparent from your CV?
    2. What is your experience working with other professionals on a multidisciplinary team?
    3. Describe your experience providing informal/formal consultation.
    4. If I gave you half a million dollars to conduct research in adult/child psychopathology, what three issues would you most want to investigate and why?
    5. One of the tasks during internship is to begin to make the transition from a student role to a professional one. How will you know when you are ready to make the transition to more independent practice?

    Questions to ask training directors/supervisors…
    1. Can you tell me more about specific rotations?
    2. What are you looking for in an intern at this site?
    3. What types of positions do your interns typically take after internship?
    4. What is the division of assessment/therapy/research in a typical week?
    5. Tell me more about your area of research.
    6. What is a typical day like for an intern here?
    7. What interested you in my application?
    8. What has the impact of managed care been on the program (if applicable)? How has it affected the rotation(s)? Affected the length of stay? Affected the role of the intern?
    9. What is the relationship between psychology and other disciplines here?
    10. What do you think the strengths of this internship are?
    11. What do you think makes your internship program unique from other similar programs?
    12. How are rotations assigned? Do interns typically get the rotations they request?
    13. What theoretical orientations are represented in your program? Which is most strongly represented?
    14. How much of an emphasis does your program place on research?
    15. What are the opportunities available for research here?
    16. How are research topics assigned?
    17. Are interns on call after hours? If so, how does this work?
    18. What office resources are available to interns? (e.g., computers, own office, etc.)
    19. What characteristics best describe the type of intern that best suits your site?
    20. Is there an education fund to assist interns in attending conferences or workshops?
    21. What type of programs do your interns typically come from?
    22. Are there opportunities to gain experience in providing supervision to other trainees?
    23. Have there been any chances to your program or staff from what was listed in the application materials prior to applying? In the coming year?
    24. How many individuals do you interview for each position?
    25. Do you ever accept more than one student from a given university?

    Questions to ask current interns…
    1. What do you like most/least about this internship site?
    2. If you could change anything about this program, what would you change and why?
    3. Are you happy with the choice you’ve made?
    4. Compared to other similar programs, what do you think makes this program unique or special?
    5. What is the quality of supervision provided? Do you get enough?
    6. What is a typical rent in this city? Is affordable housing available nearby? Does stipend cover rent?
    7. Is there time protected for research? What types of research do interns typically get involved in?
    8. What does your typical workweek look like? (i.e., division of assessment, therapy, research)
    9. In an average week, how many hours do you work, including time at home?
    10. Do you take a great deal of work home with you?
    11. Are you on call after hours? If so, how does this work and how often are you on call?
    12. Do you feel supported by the faculty here? How do you feel you are treated?
    13. What do the intern facilities look like? Is there computer access, an e-mail account, printer access?
    14. Do you regard the physical resources (e.g., computer availability, office space, etc.) as adequate here?
    15. At what point in your dissertation were you when you started internship? How has that been for you?
    16. What rotations are you doing? What has been your most/least enjoyable rotation so far?
    17. How do interns get along here? Do you socialize with other interns outside of work hours?
    18. What was the most difficult thing to adjust to when you first started internship?
    19. What was the biggest factor for you in choosing this internship program?
    20. When you were interviewing last year, is there anything that you didn’t ask that you think would have been important to know?
    21. Does this site provide everything that they promised when you?
     
  5. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't say the VA gives you a standard set of questions. It can vary quite a bit - at my own VA each person gets to ask whatever questions they want to, and then they fill out a standardized rating form. This is not to be confused with performance-based interviewing, which is a standard set of questions that the VA asks people when they are actually offering them a permanent position (not a training position).

    I would be prepared for variations of all of the standard questions. They might throw some curveballs just to make sure you can think on your feet.
     
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  6. psychwardpls

    psychwardpls

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    What kinda curveballs? :)
     
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  7. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    12-6, usually in 1-2, 0-2 counts.
     
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  8. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    At least for me, I recall things being variations of the standard questions. So, instead of "tell me about your most difficult case and how you managed it" the question might actually be "tell me about a case where you made a mistake, and explain how you handled the mistake that you made and what the outcome was" or stuff like that. My message is just to be prepared with a lot of talking points and a variety of examples you can draw from, because if you rely on a canned answer then your response might not line up with the question.
     
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  9. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    Examples of questions from college counseling sites:

    1. How do I feel about their mission statement and how it fits in with my idea of internship?
    2. Why their site?
    3. Goals for internship year?
    4. What is the status of your dissertation?
    5. With my case conceptualization, how did I use supervision to guide me when working with that client?
    6. Discuss a client with a cultural background that was different from you and how you worked with him/her.
    7. Talk about an ethical dilemma you faced and what you did.
    8. How do you (personally) increase your multicultural competence when you work with a client from a population you haven’t worked with?
    9. Describe a client who was really challenging, what you learned, and how it affected you.
    10. What do you do for fun?
    11. Describe your theoretical orientation.
    12. Strengths as a counselor and areas of growth?
    13. Describe a challenging supervisory experience and how you handled it.
    14. Name an area you struggled with in multicultural bias and how you dealt with it.
    15. A fellow intern comes to you with concerns about her working relationship with her supervisor and feels uncomfortable working with him. What do you do?
    16. Talk to me as if I am a student who has never been to therapy before and explain to me how therapy can help.
    17. (Provide you with a case vignette - cultural/ethnic minority student, some risk, etc.): what would you do first? How would you treat/conceptualize this client?
     
  10. ImSkyKid

    ImSkyKid 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the heads up! Someone who did VA interviews last year said most of their interviews were performance-based so recommended I prepare that way. But it’s good to know not all VAs take that approach.
     
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  11. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    If you're ready for interviews, you're ready for PBI type interviews. They're really no different than standard questions you'd be asked in almost any type of clinical interview scenario. People seem to freak out over these, but they're all softball questions that you should already have a canned response to.
     
  12. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist Psychologist 5+ Year Member

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    I am thinking about setting up Tekken 2 with two controllers when I interview this year. Totally performance-based, as well as an externally valid indicator of how well the potential intern will respond to novel stimuli, and how they respond to epic failure.
     
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  13. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I'm going to make mine race me in Grooved Pegboard and embarrass them with the Dynamometer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  14. Ambivalicia

    Ambivalicia

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    Thanks for the ideas! Maybe I’ll a few of these this cycle ;)
     
  15. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National 10+ Year Member

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    A set list of questions (10, I think), not PBI style though, was the standard at the VAMC in which I was internship AD and briefly the internship TD.

    A mix of why here, clinical interests/experience, research interests/experience, EBT experience, and ultimate career goals. Nothing complicated-but vagueness was never a good response.
     
  16. ellabelle46

    ellabelle46

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    Seeing the variations is helpful, thanks!
     
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  17. psychwardpls

    psychwardpls

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    Regarding providing an example of how I used an EPB, should I tailor examples to the specific rotation supervisors I am interviewing with or just have a generally solid case to describe?
     
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  18. ImSkyKid

    ImSkyKid 7+ Year Member

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    Good question. Perhaps some past VA interns or interviewers could shed some light.

    I think I would tailor it if possible. If I don’t have a relevant example, then I’d find some way to convey during the interview that I want to expand my EBP repertoire and I’m very excited that the site offers this rotation so I can meet my training goals in this specific area.
     
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  19. blakjak12

    blakjak12 2+ Year Member

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    I would say it's just as important to make sure that you bring a lot of questions with you for internship interviews. I found that many (most?) sites had very few questions for me other than the basic/obvious ones, and it was primarily the "what questions do you have for me" type of approach. In many cases the individual faculty you meet with may know very little about you, or at least that was my experience a lot of the time. There certainly were individual differences across sites in how prepared they were and how much they asked you, but either way, it doesn't hurt to bring a lot of questions yourself.
     
  20. ellabelle46

    ellabelle46

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    For people preparing: one of my advisors mentioned that it would be best to come up with 3-5 bullet point answers to look over the night before for common types of questions + some info specific to that site. He said it would be better than writing out answers to each because we don't want to memorize a script anyways.
     
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  21. ellabelle46

    ellabelle46

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    Back with more advice:

    1) I got so tripped up on "what is your favorite book"/"what is your favorite psychology text" during a mock interview yesterday so maybe think of an answer to that one if anyone asks it

    2) Practice by recording yourself/looking in the mirror because apparently you may have RBF even if you don't think you do. Make sure you're actually smiling/looking pleasant and maintaining eye contact.

    Thank god for mock interviews!
     
  22. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National 10+ Year Member

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    No one asks such ridiculous questions in the real job world. Just FYI...
     
  23. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Not in real job world, but an internship isn't a real job anyway. That is a common question on internship/postdoc interviews, though.
     
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  24. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    Not sure if VAs ever do the infamous case vignette, but coming from college counseling sites, I thought after postdoc the case vignette would go away. Not so. Recently at a college site I interviewed at (as a licensed psychologist), I was given a case vignette and asked to discuss how I'd treat/approach an ethnic minority client from low SES, etc. I'm a little tired of having to "prove" myself as a competent clinician via case vignettes, especially after several years of experience at UCCs/college counseling centers, but a colleague of mine pointed out that many people slip through the APA-accredited program cracks who are not multiculturally competent, so I suppose that's fair.

    My post-licensure college counseling interview sounded the most like internship/postdoc interviews out of the many interviews I've done since graduating. Non-college counseling jobs don't ask those kinds of questions as much, from what I've experienced, so depending on the particular type of site you're applying to, you may or may not get the same questions as internship/postdoc.
    I've never seen the bizarre/WTF questions again after internship/postdoc interviews, though, which is nice.
     
  25. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    It's all fair game, even at the licensed level. I wouldn't sign off on hiring another neuropsych at my current location unless I had seen work samples. I see no problem with having to "prove" your competence at the job level. APA-accreditation is merely the low bar to step over. There are plenty of people working who have APA accredited programs and internships, but do just god-awful clinical work, many of us clean up after these hacks on a regular basis.
     
  26. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    True, I think it's fine to require one show competence as part of the hiring process, I just think there are multiple ways to do it other than a case vignette. As you mentioned, work samples, and also simply asking about how one integrates cultural considerations into one's practice (and/or how one practices within a brief therapy model) could get at the same information, and providing an example or two would provide more realistic information. Speaking to former supervisors would also be much more enlightening than an off-the-cuff answer about a hypothetical case vignette.
     
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  27. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Depends on the job. For example, let's say we're hiring an inpatient health psychologist who has to work in a faster paced, limited time for interventions kind of environment, a case vignette would be a good example of how that person would approach a similar situation that they would see on the actual job. If you can handle the rigors of the job, why would a case vignette as a part of the application process be a problem at all. It conveys information about possible competence, just as speaking to former supervisors and such. Especially if I don't personally know these supervisors, who could be giving poor/biased information to begin with.
     
  28. ForTheLoveOfPsych

    ForTheLoveOfPsych

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    Any specific tips regarding the types of question to expect on a neuro track interview? There's obviously a lot of great information on APPIC interviews, but I haven't found anything addressing neuro specific interviews. I imagine there would be some different/additional questions included...
     
  29. slaney

    slaney

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    Can you give an example of some of the bizarre/WTF questions you got?
     
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  30. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    I got a few of these:

    -Name a symbol that represents you and explain why it represents you as a person.
    -What is your favorite movie/book character and how did it affect your life? or What is your favorite book/movie and how did it affect you? (I got both variations from 2 different sites)
    -What is your ideal salary as a psychologist? (a little tamer, but still an odd question)
     
  31. psych.meout

    psych.meout 2+ Year Member

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  32. calimich

    calimich Assistant Professor Psychologist Faculty 2+ Year Member

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    I remember a cringe worthy “multicultural” question something like,
    “We have an annual diversity potluck and each employee brings a dish. What would you bring and what would it say about you?”
    Um, no.
     
  33. slaney

    slaney

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    These are...informative. Thanks for sharing them!
     
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  34. himala

    himala

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    Great comprehensive list of questions!!
    I don't know about others, but for me, it was helpful for me to WRITE OUT answers to potential questions beforehand. I know nerves could get to me which then lead me to potentially ramble...but knowing what to when given XYZ questions allows me to know how to start, what to keep as the meat of the answer, and how to end so it doesn't seem like rambling.
     
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  35. CatsFan

    CatsFan 5+ Year Member

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    I second whoever said prepare a LOT of questions. I had one yesterday where the interviewer didn't ask me any questions, and just wanted to know what questions I had. It was an hour-long interview.
     
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  36. boomshakalaka

    boomshakalaka 2+ Year Member

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    Also, if you claim to have given ~100-200 MMPI-2 or WAIS on your AAPI, be prepared to interpret a profile. Oh, and your response shouldn't be "Well...I usually turn to my manual first."
     
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  37. plaegiste

    plaegiste

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    thank you for the questions! out of curiosity were you applying to a neuro track? wondering about the assessment question
     
  38. ImSkyKid

    ImSkyKid 7+ Year Member

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    Nope, mostly general or trauma. There seems to be a lot of neuro folks on here so maybe they can help.
     
  39. plaegiste

    plaegiste

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    deleted
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  40. PsychPhDStudent

    PsychPhDStudent 7+ Year Member

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    I interviewed at about 10 VA sites and a couple non-VA AMCs. I was asked to complete a case vignette exercise once. The rest of my interviews were chill. The weirdest question I was asked was what not-psych book I had read recently. Thankfully, I had brought two leisure books on the road with me and thus didn't have to bs anything.
     
  41. PsychMixer

    PsychMixer

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    Any update on neuro-specific questions? I have my first interview tomorrow and it’s one of my top sites so I’m a little nervous. I’ve prepared for all the standard interview questions (THANKS!) but wondering if neuro has any unique questions?
    I also have a writing sample for a few interviews! Is that pretty common? Totally not freaking out...
     
  42. himala

    himala

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  43. himala

    himala

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  44. dizzyotter

    dizzyotter

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    One of my labmates last year was asked something along the lines of "if your house was burning down, what would you make sure to save?" :bored: This was asked at an academic medical center internship site.
     
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  45. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    We'll occasionally ask the more neuro-focused interns what their favorite npsych instrument is and why. Makes the decision pretty easy if anyone answers with a projective. :)
     
  46. psych.meout

    psych.meout 2+ Year Member

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    Ooof!
    Has this actually happened?
     
  47. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Twice, I think, but it was inconsequential. Both were applicants that were already towards the lower end of the ranking pre-interview.
     
  48. Gepetto

    Gepetto

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    Ha!!! That's painful.

    Also, I have an unexplainable feeling of need to know where you work. Your omnipresence in the forum leaves me with so many questions. Thought you should know. Don't worry- I'm "sitting with the ambiguity."
     
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  49. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Just imagine me as working everywhere, being all acerbic and spreading cynicism into the world.
     
  50. Gepetto

    Gepetto

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    Oh believe me, I do.
     
  51. plaegiste

    plaegiste

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    For the PD/AD/TDs on this thread, what kinds of questions have you been asked by applicants that were memorable? or is that rare and usually you receive the questions that can be answered by the site brochure?
     

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