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How to prepare for interview success - DClinpsy - Assistant Psychologist - Interview Tips & Advice

This article has been amended from Episode 64 of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast. If you'd prefer to listen to it then you can here. You can also watch it on YouTube

Hi, welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist blog. I am Dr. Marianne Trent and I am a qualified clinical psychologist. So if you are downloading this fairly recently to when it was released, which is in March, 2023, it probably hasn't escaped your knowledge that it is application notification season. So I am well aware that educational psychology interviews are already in full swing. So if you are waiting to hear back on the outcome of one of those, or if you are awaiting attending one of those yourself, then wishing you all the very best of luck and the might well be useful information in here for you as well. But of course it is DCLinPsy notification season. Currently we are on the verge of interview season. So just to recap some of those important dates, we know that by the 17th of March clearinghouse and the associated courses must have let applicants know whether or not they will be invited to an interview for this year or whether they've been placed on a reserve list for an interview this year.

It's always worth bearing in mind that if you are on the reserve list for an interview, you could be called even as soon as like that morning of the interview. So, so when it's interview week, make sure your outfit is clean, what you wanna wear. Make sure that, you know, you've perhaps let people know in your diary that you might already have booked in for meetings, supervision, appointments that you are hoping there may be a chance you are called to interview. Because I'm really do believe in putting stuff out there in the universe. If you are, if you are kind of paving the way for potentially having an interview during a set week, then tell the universe that that is what you'd welcome. Don't be looking at your diary going, oh God, which day should it be? Which day would I have to cancel?

You know, make sure that the people in each of your days know that, you know, you may have to cancel a short notice if you're already working for the NHS. It's also worth bearing in mind that in theory you don't need to take a day's annual leave to be able to attend an NHS interview because in essence this is an NHS interview, you might then be able to keep your leave for something that feels a bit more restful <laugh> because, you know, I was gonna say you keep your leave something a bit more exciting. But actually I was really excited about both of the interview days that I had. You should be feeling, you know, a little bit, you're like, oh, this is a big deal, but also excited that you get to showcase. You get to show why you are so ready for this opportunity and that's regardless of what you are going for an interview for.

Of course, you know whatever job you are going for, you ought to feel exciting, you know, you ought to feel like you've got a reasonable chance and that it's something that you would want, you know, so make sure that's the case. So try and make sure that you do at least feel some excitement. It's not just abject horror. So you may well be listening to this aware that perhaps your first, or maybe even your first couple of courses that you've applied to have notified you that it is a no first. It's really hard and I'm really sorry. I'm absolutely gutted for you. I also recall that the year that I was successful in getting onto training, I was actually told no first by the one course who weren't going to be offering me an interview. So for those of you who don't know my story, I was offered interviews at three other courses, but one of the courses cancelled the entire course <laugh> just before I was due to attend my interview.

So yeah, if you go back into the annals of history, you'll see that the 2008 intake for the Bristol course didn't go ahead at all. And then I think it actually moved to Plymouth ultimately. But yes, I was potentially part of that cohort if I'd been interviewed because I do wonder I did really like Bristol. I was telling one of my friends who lives in Bristol recently, I really like Bristol. I may have picked, I may have picked Bristol had they offered me a place, had that gone ahead. But I'm very, very pleased with where I did end up. And you know, when you are in a position where you do have multiple interviews at different courses, we have this sort of butterfly effect. You know, that it's quite a big decision which course you'll be at because it could potentially lead to what future job you'll be in, who your, it will definitely lead to who your future supervisors will be, who your future cohort will be.

In my case, it led to the creation of two wonderful little boys and a marriage, you know, and friendship groups and in-laws and all of that jazz. So it, it is really can be a life-changing decision, especially if you're doing that at an age point where you do have more choices. You know, where you could end up going to Scotland, you could end up going to Wales, you could end up going, you know, to the south of England or to Middle England, you know if you are more footless and fancy free, then these decisions, the ones you say yes to or the ones who say yes to you can be life-changing and that can be exciting, but can also be a little bit terrifying too. So anyway, we're wondering off track, but I want to empathise with anybody who has so far received no or not yet as we think about them think about it as not yet or not right now.

And if you've applied to more than one course, then you might well get reserve list places for other interviews or you might well get outright interview offers as well for other courses. So I am sending you so much hope, so much, so many crossed fingers that that happens for you. But yeah, if it helps, my first envelope that I opened, cause in those days they were envelopes. My first envelope that I opened in 2008, which was the year that I was successful, was a no. So please hold onto that if that feels useful. And you might be in the position that you are told no, no, no, no. If you've applied to four places, and that doesn't mean that you are not good enough. It means that you are lovely, it means that you are wonderful. It just means not yet.

It just means, you know, this is a fiercely competitive field and we want to make sure that you are ready, that you are not going to feel wildly out of your depth when you are in your new cohort, when you are doing this role, when you are wearing that name badge that says trainee clinical psychologist or trainee educational psychologist or you know, trainee, forensic psychologist, whatever element you want to do, we want you to feel ready and to be able to do this job well with all of the necessary skills that you need to have on board and online to help you to fly and help your clients to really soar to. So I'm going to cover some interview stuff that might be useful to consider in this episode, but I'm not gonna be repeating the stuff from podcast episode 10, which was released on Valentine's Day last year, so 14th of February, 2022. And that episode is called How to Optimally Prepare for an Interview as an Aspiring Psychologist.

So if you go to the show on either Apple Podcast or Spotify or even YouTube for that matter and search for episode 10. But since we launched that episode, of course on the 28th of February last year, we launched the Aspiring Psychologist membership too. And that's a really useful way of covering lots of forward slash most of all of the areas that I'm going to be outlining in this episode. So if you feel like it's your time and you are ready for a little bit of coaching, a little bit of helping you feel more confident in your abilities, helping you practise some of these key skills and experiences, then do please come on board to the Aspiring Psychologist membership.

It's £30 a month and you can leave anytime you like. There's no minimum requirement to stay. So, so do come on board and let us help you to reach your goals. But we also of course have free content. So we do have the free compassionate q and a. So let me just talk you through the dates that we've got coming up for those. Okay, so if you're watching on YouTube or even if you're not please do take a note of these dates for your diary for the free q and a sessions, compassionate q and a sessions, which we running across all of my socials. A really great place to catch that is in the free Facebook group, which is the Aspiring Psychologist community with Dr Marianne Trent (free group). So make sure you've requested access to that in good time.

But it will also be running on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook page as well. If I have the battery power and Instagram is behaving, it will also be running on Instagram live as well. But I won't be able to access the comments on Instagram live. And also it's worth bearing in mind, I can't usually access the Twitter comments either just because of a random quirk in Twitter that when I'm streaming via Streamy yard, it doesn't access the comments. So you can join me on Monday, the 13th of March, 2023 at 7:30 PM that's number one. Monday the 17th of April, 2023 at 7:30 PM And then just as a little bit of a change because of a bank holiday, we've got Tuesday, the 2nd of May, 2023, 7:30 PM and in the past they've been really intimate, really nice sessions where you are able to bring any of your, or any of your more focused questions and we can help think about what might be really useful, what might help you look after yourself right now, what might, what might help you bring your best to your, what might help you bring your A game so that you are more likely to get your goal.

So I do hope you find those sessions really useful. Do remember on YouTube you can also watch previous sessions that we've run in the compassionate Q and A series by heading to the playlist. And again, I'll pop a link to that in the show notes. Other ways that people have found really useful for preparing for interviews is the Clinical Psychologist Collective book. There's really useful examples in there of how people have reflected upon their development and their own experiences. And of course since last year we've had the birth of a new baby book, we've had the birth of the Aspiring Psychologist collective book as well and that's a really nice demonstration of other people's reflection and growth experiences as well. So yeah, dig out those books if you've got a copy and consider grabbing a copy if you don't yet have one cuz people do speak really highly of them.

Okay, so broadly speaking, we are looking at breaking down our presentation today into a number of different sections. We're looking at personal issues and reflections, professional issues and reflections, clinical issues and reflections and research issues and reflections. So in terms of our clinical skills and reflections, it's always really useful to be able to demonstrate and to quickly conjure up formulations for clients or staff teams or other groups you've worked with. From two different perspectives. It might be C B T, it might be CAT, it might be psychodynamic, it might be systemic it might be, you know, DBT, it could be any model that you are familiar with working with that you can demonstrate in the moment. An aptitude to be able to talk confidently about you know, what is contributing to the client's difficulties, how you've understood them, what might be perpetuating them, all of that jazz to be able to demonstrate that to the people that you will meet at interview.

But also, even if you don't do that, just hold that in your pocket and be able to, to pop out the word formulation can be really useful. It's useful to be able to reflect on what the clinical work brings up for you currently or what it's brought up for you in the past. Can be really useful to do that within supervision. And do remember, if you haven't yet grabbed my free supervision shaping tool, you can do that by going to my website And that will come to you and that might really help shape your supervision relationships with your supervisor or with even people that you supervise now or in future. So it's well worth registering for that. And it's totally free. So yeah, it could help you to think about how to use supervision and how to give effective clinical supervision too.

So it can be really useful to have conversations around some of this clinical stuff and around your own diversity, your own inclusion, the clients you work with and all of that jazz in supervision. So hope that's useful for you in that realm. And of course we go onto the research section as well. So need to be able to talk, you know, with ease about research without pulling that face. You know, so that you've got an overview of statistical models and measures and tests that you might use so that you understand when you might want to use quantitative versus qualitative or vice versa so that you are able to, you know, critically appraise other people's research and your own research. And also think about gaps in the research knowledge base and what you might want to explore in future or what you think might be useful to explore in future that might well be stuffed from your own clinical population that you are working in.

That's okay. But you need to have an overview of what research is already out there and be able to talk confidently about what stuff you think would be useful in future and how and why you might investigate it or put that together. So I have a play around with that. And again, that's stuff that we do do in the membership and that you can catch up on as well. So having a working knowledge of research methods is really useful. You know, what, what is, what is grounded theory? What is i p a, you know, why would you use a randomised control trial? You know, why? What is that even? Having a little look at refreshing your memory on on that sort of background can be really useful. And if listening to this makes you go and suck in your teeth, then it's okay to embrace what scares you.

You know, it's okay to turn towards that so that it's not such a weak Achilles heel for you so that it feels like you are strengthening your suit of armour to have fewer chinks in it and fewer, you know, fewer really spots that feel very tender. That if someone pokes it, you're not gonna go, ooh, too much. So that you feel ready. That's your time and you are ready for this next step. Why even is research important? Why do we champion it? Why do we do it? Why do we think it's useful? Having your own individual stance on that can be really useful too. So professional issues as well. You know, why, why are we doing this as a such a robust clinical process? You know, why, why does clinical psychology exist? You know, what is it? How can we help maximise its availability for more people?

How can we use supervision or management supervision effectively to think about the way in which we are doing leadership, the way in which we're you know, looking after and nurturing the team to be able to spread the knowledge and the impact of what we do in the psychology team far and wide to reach a wider audience. What acts are there that govern the work we do? So having a little bit of a knowledge of those can be really useful too.

Okay, so just to recap what we've been going through in case you've just tuned and I dunno why you would've done, but you might have done. If you're watching on YouTube, you probably should be clicking subscribe and liking this episode at the very least. If you're still watching, if you're listening on Spotify, please do subscribe. And the same for Apple as well. Wherever you are watching, you know, please do subscribe and if you are listening on apple Podcasts, please do rate and review us. It just takes a moment, but it means a great deal. Our personal, why are we doing what we do? Why do you want to do what you do? What turned your head towards it in the first place? Thinking about, you know, our own social graces, those of the clients we're working with, if you're not familiar with the work of social graces give John Burnham a quick Google and get yourself back up to speed with those.

And if you can, please do think about having a mock interview ideally with your supervisor would be really useful. But with another qualified clinician, if you're not supervised by a clinical psychologist or an educational psychologist, a forensic psychologist any kind of qualified psychologist is really useful. And it helps you get those tumbleweed moments out and they're done so that you feel less horrified. And it's also really useful to think about recording yourself and that is something I spoke about in the last podcast episode, episode 10. Well worth a listen cuz people find that really, really useful. So yeah, listen to yourself, get used to the sound of you talking about you and knowing that's okay if you are not yet in the position where you've been offered interviews or if by the time you listen to this episode you have been made aware that you have been given four, no thanks, not yet.

Then please try not to lose hope this process does start again before we know it. And by that point you'll have another six months solid experience and how can you use this next six months to really make sure that by this time next year you are getting 1, 2, 3, maybe even four? Yes please. We'd like you to tell us more about yourself opportunities and if you do have, you know, your one lucky chance, if you do have your one golden ticket then please know that's all you need. That's all you need. If it's your time and it's the right course for you and I don't know, the sun is shining in the right direction and all seems to be going well and the traffic lights are all green on your way there to the interview and you are able to bring your A game to that interview day then that's all you need.

You know, you do just need one university to allow you to have an interview to be able to be able to demonstrate why this is a great fit for you while this course is great for you and how it is your time and you're ready for the next step. So please be kind to yourself. Please be really kind and supportive to those around you as well cuz this can be a really triggering time. And it's also, it's okay to be sad for yourself and excited for others or vice versa. It's okay to be really sad that your colleagues or friends might not be getting interviews, but also be really proud and excited about your own interviews that you have lined up. So yeah, please do stay kind. If you do consider coming on board to the Aspiring Psychologist membership if you feel that might be useful for a little bit more bespoke skills, advice and support from qualified clinicians who want to help you advance your confidence.

Then you can check out details in the show notes or by going to the link in any of my social media bios. But yeah, thank you for joining me. Do check out episode 10 of the Aspiring Psychologist podcast for further optimal interview prep tips. Do let me know, won't you how you get on with your outcomes. And remember, I will just go through them again with you. Remember to join us for the free compassionate q and a sessions, which will be running across my socials. You can find me, Dr. Marianne Trent pretty much everywhere. On Monday the 13th of March, 2023, 7:30 PM Monday the 17th of April, 2023, 7:30 PM and Tuesday the 2nd of May, 2023, also at 7:30 PM Thank you so much for joining me. Like, subscribe, do all those good things, tell your friends about us and I'll look forward to catching up with you for the next podcast episode, which will be coming to you from 6:00 AM on Monday. Take care. Thanks for being part of my world.

Connect with Dr Marianne on socials here
Check out books for Aspiring Psychologists and on Grief here.


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