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Preparing for Internship Interviews
Preparing for Internship Interviews 8
Preparing for Internship
November, 2013 Successful Interviewing
• Obtaining a high ranking for an internship
position requires successfully negotiating the
• What should I expect during these
• How should I prepare to maximize the
chances of success
2 Internship Interviews
• The very fact that you have been invited to
the interview is a favorable sign.
• Indicates that you are seen as capable,
bright, and probably a good match for the
• Your job is to show that you will fit in, both
interpersonally and because of your specific
interests and strengths.
3 Preparing for the Interview:
Before You Get There
1. Review your own skills, application, and CV.
2. Review information about the internship program,
interests and research of staff, and the local area.
3. Review your travel arrangements. Give yourself
plenty of time. Have contact information of
program handy in case of weather or other delays.
4. Prepare clothing to dress comfortably and
4 First Impressions Count
1. Arrive on time.
2. Follow the schedule you received. Look organized.
3. Treat everyone you meet as important. Assume
that anything you say could be shared later.
4. Act interested in and ask questions of the people
5. Act energetic. Be a good sport.
5 Interviewing Don’ts
1. Don’t gossip about anyone. Assume everyone is
best friends with everyone else, both locally and
2. Don’t complain, make negative comments,
3. Don’t be judgmental or too opinionated. You
never know what the interviewer thinks or feels.
6 So Many Questions
What do you want to do during internship
What research would you want to pursue here
What is the status of your dissertation
What are your interests outside of psychology
What is your primary theoretical orientation
How do you like our city
Why should we select you as an intern
What are the strengths of your graduate program
What’s your favorite movie
Do you have any children
Five main areas of
• Your application
• The internship program
• Your doctoral program
• Foul balls
8 1. Review your own
• Review how you described yourself in your
• The person you described is the person
whom the interviewers are expecting to
• Prepare to provide any updates from the
time you submitted your application.
9 2. Review the internship
• Review information for the specific internship
program, track, and rotations of interest to
• Prepare broadly: You may be evaluated for
23 major and 23 minor rotations for the
• Remain flexible: Changes may occur after
a brochure is published.
10 3. Review the PsyD
• This may seem like you’re being asked to look
backward at a time you wish to look forward.
• However, interviewers want to know about your
foundational and professional development.
• Avoid pitfalls and score points by understanding the
In what ways have your doctoral
program, faculty, and fellow students
prepared you to be a competent and
11 3. PsyD program (cont’d)
• Crystal ball: Responses forecast how you will likely
come to describe their internship program, faculty,
and fellow interns.
• It is not a wise choice to speak poorly of your
doctoral program during the interview.
• Tone: Always be honest and gracious. And,
wherever possible, be selfreflective.
• Use this preparation to score “match” points
12 4. Prepare for chitchat
• Be positive Say your flight was nice, you easily found
parking, the city and its people are lovely.
• Now is not the time to be critical, not even honestly
so. A cranky applicant is predicted to be a cranky
• You can appear savvy and sophisticated by asking
good questions and making intelligent observations.
• Try to guide chitchat from the purely social gently
back to more relevant discussions of the internship,
the facility, and the local area.
13 Good questions for your
• The professional community in the area.
• Where interns typically come from.
• Any changes in the facility or the program
for the coming year.
• How well the interns are integrated into
their clinical teams.
• Career paths of those who completed
14 5. Foul ball
General rule: Interviewers should only ask questions
directly relevant to:
• the applicant's qualifications
• the internship position and duties
Gut instinct: Would this same basic question
be asked of all applicants
From: Questions During Interviews, Revisited
by Mona Koppel Mitnick, Esq.
15 What is fair for an
interviewer to ask
Fair questions focus on your:
• training and experience in specific areas of
• past practice and placements
• language proficiency (if directly relevant to the
requirements of the position)
• career interests and goals
• professional memberships
16 What is not OK
Improper questions focus on areas in which you have
some interest in protecting your privacy:
• physical or mental health
• marital, familial, or other close personal relationships
• religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation
It is generally inappropriate and possibly illegal – for
an interviewer to ask such questions, unless they
directly relate to the internship.
17 Basic exceptions
• Government agencies (including state universities)
may ask for proof of U.S. citizenship and/or
explanation of any criminal record.
• Some questions may become permissible after the
intern is hired: proof of age, marital, or
parental/relationship status for taxes and insurance;
photographs for ID cards.
18 Followup to self
If you raised the issue first, however, impermissible
questions may become OK for followup:
• You mention family responsibilities and ask about
• You mention religion and request adjustments in
• You mention your physical limitations and ask about
the demands of the position.
Remember, the interview begins with your applica
tion, so anything you mentioned in your written
materials is part of the interview and OK for followup.
19 After the interview: APPIC
• Programs vary greatly with regard to
communication with applicants, particularly after
completion of interviews.
• If you have questions, you are welcome to contact
the program directly.
• There is no "quiet period." Applicants and programs
are welcome to contact each other at any time
throughout the process.
20 A pressurefree environment in
which to make ranking decisions
What APPIC policies prohibit is the communication,
solicitation, acceptance, or use of rankingrelated
• It is NOT acceptable for a program to ask an
applicant, "How do we rank" or for an applicant to
inquire about how they are ranked by a program.
• It is NOT acceptable for a program to tell an
applicant how he/she is going to be ranked or for
an applicant to say things like, "Your program is my
21 Acceptable interest and enthusiasm
Program staff may say:
• “We’re impressed with your credentials.”
• “You seem like a great fit with our program.”
An applicant may say:
• “Your program seems like an excellent fit for my
• “I'm very excited about the possibility of working
22 Unacceptable comments
Program staff may NOT say:
• “You’re our top candidate.”
• “We’re looking forward to having you here next
An applicant may NOT say:
• “Your program is my top choice.”
• “Your program is the best fit for me.”
23 Good luck with your interviews
Internship applicants describe a high percentage of
their interviews as very pleasant, professional, and
If you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly, please
seek consultation with faculty advisors regarding how
best to proceed.
Enjoy the experience of meeting new people and
learning about psychological practice in different