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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
2-3 major and 2-3 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 self-reflective.
• Use this preparation to score “match” points
12 4. Prepare for chit-chat
• 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 chit-chat 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 Follow-up to self-
If you raised the issue first, however, impermissible
questions may become OK for follow-up:
• 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 follow-up.
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.