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Should you attend psychology interviews when you already have job offers?

This article has been amended from Episode 74 of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast. If you'd prefer to listen to it then you can here. You can also watch it on YouTube here.

Hi, welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist blog. I am Dr. Marianne Trent and I'm a qualified clinical psychologist. As I write this we are in the middle, coming towards the end, of the doctorate in clinical psychology application season for this spring. Given that it's such a competitive industry and that the places are so highly sought after, then it's understandable that emotions can run high from time to time, if not much of the time. And recently I'd seen a post on Twitter that had said:

"Can those who have offers already for the DClinPsy and still have interviews coming up at least consider just accepting one so others on reserve list for interviews can at least have a chance of getting at least one offer without having to wait another year whilst being poor!"

So I hear you, it's very, very difficult if you are on a reserve list and if you feel like this affects another year of your development and your opportunities, but also I think it's worth saying that the people who have interviews and even those who have offers have still earned the right to attend those interviews. So today we are gonna be looking at whether it's okay to still attend interviews for any psychology, profession or area. If you already have a job offer, I'll be guiding you through a few of my thoughts, feelings, insights, and reflections on this. But if you've got some of your own, I would love you to come and tell me what you think to this. Come over to the Aspiring Psychologist community (free group) on Facebook and let me know what you think.

So generally speaking, when going to interviews for probably non-psychology roles, well maybe even if it's a psychology private practice role or private institution role, one of the advantages about going to a job interview when you already have a job offer that you might be able to use that for salary negotiation. Clearly in NHS Bandings, that's probably not going to work. But one reason you might want to do that is if you are applying to a course in the London weighting area where the salary is slightly higher. But of course that is done for a reason. So that is done because, of course living in and around central London is more expensive, but if you've already committed that you'll be commuting then you may want to consider doing that. But of course it is likely your costs for commuting might well be higher as well.

So I think it's fair to say that generally speaking in what is largely an NHS industry for assistant psychologists, but not exclusively, of course it's unlikely that you'd be wanting to attend that interview to think about using it for salary negotiation, but of course not. Impossible. Another reason you might choose to still attend is to use it as an opportunity for gaining experience. Perhaps all of your interviews in the past have been remote interviews if you've done them over the last few years. So perhaps this is an in-person interview and you'd really like to see what this university or employer is going to be like and often getting a feel for, you know, what the parking is like, what the traffic is like around the area, whether you'd feel safe there, whether you feel like you like aspects of the interview or the course relating to the physical environment and the people that you meet.

It might be even meeting people on reception and that they're so lovely that they just make your day and make you feel like you are being put at ease. I know I've spoken in the past about the buffets and the fact that I was given herbal tea at one of the interviews that I attended. And those for me were really small factors that made me feel like it was a, a closely aligned course for me. And when I've attended psychology assistant interviews in the past one was in Nottingham and one was in Birmingham and the parking was atrocious really, really bad and meant that I had to leave my car on a side street and then walk. And so that was perhaps not going to be ideal in the longer term, but sometimes we can only know that when we've walked a mile in the shoes <laugh> to that interview.

And so also it's worth saying always when you're going somewhere that you're not quite sure what's gonna be the deal. Speaking of shoes, it might also be an idea when attending interviews in person to take a pair of shoes that are comfortable in your bag so that if it does involve a long walk from a train station or a bus stop or from where you've parked your car, if you've driven that, you can do so in comfort so that you are not limping into your interview when you do get there. Having recently been in central London trying to get somewhere on time for something that I needed to look rather smart for, I would also suggest that it might be advantageous if you can afford it, to at least get an Uber or a taxi when you are attending the interview. Because arriving in a big, sweaty mess and feeling like you ruined your outfit is also not a good look. So <laugh> learn from the lady who was in a sort of nicely satiny shirt that did not look good after I'd been hustling. So yeah, having a think about how you might physically attend interviews and feel and look your best and not be completely overwhelmed and stressed out when you get there can be useful too.

So of course you have earned this right to have this interview whether or not you were offered a reserve list place for the interview or an outright place. It's based on your performance in the form, the application that you submitted. It might also be linked to any assessment tests or checks that you've done too. And when we're making decisions, sometimes it can be useful to make them as informed a decision as we can. How can we know that it's gonna be a good fit for us or not a good fit for us for the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 could be many years if we haven't been and had a look and checked it out for ourselves.

And one of the things I loved about in-person interviews, certainly for the doctorate was the chance to meet other delegates. So if there's gonna be a couple of people employed at the same time, for example, when I worked for Boots in Milton Keynes when I was16, 17, 18, and a little bit older than that as well we had a group interview and being able to meet people that eventually ended up being my colleagues was wonderful. Really part of a bonding experience. And when I had my doctorate in clinical psychology interviews, meeting people that would be potentially part of my cohort, in fact people that I met, I certainly think I met two people on my cohort for the first time at our interview day. So it's a really nice chance to check out the other people, see what you think and whether you feel like you might want to, to be part of their cohort, coz that's clearly the type of candidate that that particular role attracts.

Do you get a good feel about the other candidates? And whilst of course when we are looking at selection days that might run over multiple weeks, we can't necessarily know that we would be meeting our future colleagues or that we are all gonna be the same across all of the interview days. I think it does give you a very nice feel for how it might be if you were working in that role. So if you are trying to deliberate between should I, what does it say about me? If I do go when I've already had this offer, then to you I would say it just says you are a human and that you are allowed to do what you've been offered the opportunity to do. You are also allowed to not go if you choose that you want the chaos to end and you want to take control, but there might be reasons that you are wanting to attend the interviews because actually that course or job is going to be a better fit for you personally.

Geographically, maybe even the style of the work or maybe even the supervisor that you might be getting to work with might also be factors that you are considering. Maybe you have people that you need to support in your life and that this particular job role or training place is going to suit your needs better. For example, maybe you are a parent and you are aware that actually this course or employer is particularly good at treating parents humanely and so that they can optimally parent their children as much as possible. And in this, this day and age of social media, you might find that actually networking is a really nice opportunity as well. So if you meet someone at an in-person or even a Zoom interview for that matter and you really feel like you click, then you might want to add each other on socials and you might well be really useful supports for each other for this next stage of your career or maybe even as a lifelong friendship, you never know where it's gonna go.

And that's been a really nice part of the Aspiring Psychologist membership as well, is that the members are so supportive of one another. And as people have been getting interview dates and even place offers for the doctorate in clinical psychology, people are genuinely thrilled for one another. And they're, they're not only thanking me, but thanking the supportive nature of the group and feeling like they've got everybody rooting for them on their side. So if you feel like this industry of ours is making you feel a bit lonely or making you feel like others are, you know, wanting to hack you down so that they can have your place, then it might be that you want to consider coming on board to the Aspiring Psychologist membership and there'll be links in the show notes to that. But you can also check out details in any of my socials and if you are on YouTube there will, there'll be a link in the description and on the screen right now too.

And as humans, we, you know, we are curious creatures and we like to feel that we are right in our decision. And so it might be that you are feeling like job offer a or course offer 'A' is totally gonna be a bit of you, but we can't know what we don't know. We might be pleasantly surprised by what we see, hear feel, and experience at this other interview. And so you can give yourself permission to be curious. And whilst of course I know it might be really anxiety provoking and sad making for somebody who's not getting an interview this year, I firmly believe that it's in a really nice position to be in when you are getting more than one interview offer in a year so that you do get that chance to make a choice. And so that it's indicating that not just one course thinks you are ready that other courses or jobs also think you are ready and you've got something worthwhile to bring.

It's not to say at all that if you're not getting interviews that you don't have something worthwhile to bring. But I honestly, and I've said before that I felt when my time was right, my form felt genuine. It felt like a bit of me, it felt like I was being my genuine self and I was then offered three interviews and it just felt like it was my time. And so yeah, maybe think if you're not getting outright interviews or if you're still on the waiting list, if you've learned since this podcast was released that you are not being offered interviews this year or for the job that you've applied for think about how you can use these next few months to further and advance your skills, your abilities or your reflections your insights, and to strengthen any weaknesses or bits that you've got gaps in your CV for.

You might of course feel that one particular course or job aligns more with your goals or your priorities and the things that you see as exciting and important and worthwhile. In psychology profession. It might be that you have a particular interest in doing research under one of the academic staff in a particular course or organisation. Whatever reason you've picked to put that course or that job into your job basket and to apply for it is valid and important and you are allowed to have a shot at that and make your mind up. And of course if other people do have multiple interviews and then they all get to choose, it's of course useful for those on the reserve list for actual places, not just interviews. And honestly, I would love to be a fly on the wall when people get the phone call or the email to offer them reserve list places.

I turned down one place to accept another. And yeah, just knowing that you've potentially changed someone's life and you know, and altered their career trajectory and knowing the celebration and the joy that they'll be feeling and experiencing for themselves, but also likely with their family and their support networks around them. So incredible.

And yesterday I had a voice note from one of my members telling me that they had been offered a place on a course. Honestly I dissolved into tears as I was leaving a voice note in response because it really does matter. It's such a big deal and it's so wonderfully affirming when people are getting the news and they're getting that message that yes, they, they, they are chosen, they are doing, they're moving in the right circles, they're saying the right things, and they're going to get to advance to the next stage of their career.

And honestly, I could cry again now. I just feel like I've got the best job in the world. And thank you for all of you who've been so kind about the podcast and about the books and the membership. If you've got any questions or anything you'd like to say about this episode do let me know. I'm not any less sad for you if you don't have interviews to go to or if you are waiting to hear back, I am moved by your distress as well. But I firmly believe that your time is coming and you will get there when you are ready for this next stage of your journey. Thank you so much for listening and for being part of my world. If you're listening to this episode when it comes out, hope you've had a marvellous coronation weekend with all of the scones that you might choose to eat and hope the sun has shone for you. Wishing you all of the best of luck with any interviews you might have coming up all with being offered places for interview or on a course if you are on a reserve list. I love celebrating with you. So do come and hook up with me on social media. I'm Dr. Marianne Trent everywhere and I love to celebrate your wins. So keep having them hold your head high, do your brilliant best self. And I'll look forward to catching up with you on the next episode, which is available from 6:00 AM on Monday. Take care.

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