Even as learning goes on, schools should ensure that the emotional well-being of both the teachers and learners is taken care of. These parties need professionals with expertise in different areas such as mental health, behavior, and learning.
School psychologists are best suited and trained for the roles mentioned above. They are unique members of the school who are highly skilled and able to support both the learning and teaching abilities of the learners and teachers, respectively.
They also lend an ear to the students, helping them succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. In this article, we look at some of the commonly asked questions if you are eyeing a school psychologist post to help you succeed in your interview.
Let’s take a look.
1. Why Are You Interested in This Position?
The interviewer wants to know what irked your interest in the job listing. Use this opportunity to sell yourself and outline how the school can benefit from your services.
I love helping students. Having come from a poor and abusive family, I understand how our homely experiences can affect us. I would therefore love to be there for your students, who mostly come from low-income backgrounds.
2. What Are the Roles of a School Psychologist?
The interviewer wants to know whether you understand the responsibilities of a school psychologist. You can mention what you were mandated with in your former workplaces.
A school psychologist is mainly mandated with identifying problems that may become a nuisance to learning and helping to solve them. In my former workplaces, I was required to assess the needs of students, review processes, consult with parents and teachers, and observe students’ learning.
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3. What Are the Qualities Needed for This Role?
Do you know what it takes to be a good school psychologist? Kindly tell the interviewer.
A school psychologist must be willing to learn given the ever-evolving problems facing students. They should also be patient, ethical, have excellent interpersonal skills, and show respect towards confidentiality.
4. Mention Some of The Challenges That You Faced During Your Last Role. How Did You Manage Them?
The interviewer is putting your problem-solving skills to test. Convince them that you have excellent problem-solving skills.
The greatest challenge in my former role was convincing parents that their children should be put on a special education program. However, they agreed once I convinced them that it was for the student’s benefit and that their kids would be reevaluated regularly.
5. Describe Your Routine.
What does a day in your working life resemble? Describe a busy one.
I report early, plan my day and respond to emails or late calls. I then start taking appointments for the day. I may also visit different classes to check up on the students. In the afternoon, I compile reports and maybe attend meetings.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
The interviewer would like a brief overview of your career. Make this short as the gist is captured in your CV and resume.
My career began as a general psychologist working for different hospitals. I then acquired skills and certifications for working in school settings. I have worked in 10 schools in the last fifteen years of my career, where I have helped students deal with stress, poor performance, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
7. What Mindset and Strategy Does a School Psychologist Need?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are well-suited for this job. Ensure that the mindset and strategy are job-related.
A school psychologist needs to be empathetic and have a positive mindset to inspire hope. As for the right strategy, working on listening for long and occasional reporting works magic. Coming off as a friend to the students is also an excellent strategy to make them trust you.
8. What Is the Biggest Challenge That You Foresee in This Job?
The interviewer would like to know whether you conducted some research beforehand regarding the job. Do not shy from pointing out a potential challenge.
The main challenge here that I have dealt with before is that most of your students come from crime-infested regions and may have subconsciously embraced violence. However, I have the right behavioral change programs for such students that I believe will work.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated at Work?
What keeps you going? Refrain from mentioning material things in your answer.
I am passionate about psychology and seeing people better their lives. The personal rewards and gratifications that I get from this job keeps me going. I also love human interaction, which this job is founded on. I feel thrilled whenever I talk to students or teachers, which gives me a reason to come to work the next day.
10. Discuss a Time When You Failed in This Role and The Lesson You Learnt.
The interviewer wants to know whether you can learn from your experiences. However, do not throw yourself under the bus.
After conducting repeated sessions with a student, I was sure that she was fine. I did not make immediate follow-ups as she had shown great improvement. I later came to learn from her teacher that she had worsened- information that broke my heart. This experience taught me the importance of following up on the students regardless of their results.
11. How Do You Gain the Trust of Our Students?
The interviewer wants to know whether you can build trusting relationships with the students. To answer this question well, tell the interviewer some of the techniques you use.
I understand the importance of trust to a student-school psychologist. I love it when students see me as part of their community and a person they can trust with their problems. The first step in building this trust is listening to them. It helps me know and understand them better. I also make them know that I am them there for them, both as a friend and as a professional. I ensure that I am visible enough and take turns to talk to them instead of spending time behind my office desk.
12. In Your Opinion, What Are Some of The Commonest Mental and Emotional Problems Students Face?
This question seeks to uncover your experience dealing with students’ problems. While answering this, remember that there is no correct answer. Your response should be based on experience.
In my career as a school psychologist, some of the main issues that I have dealt with are anxiety, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. A number of students feel deficient when they compare themselves to their counterparts, affecting their performances. Some also want to be like the celebrities they see on Instagram and other social media platforms, bringing about this deficiency.
13. How Can You Support Teachers If Given This Role?
This question seeks to know whether you understand your roles as a school psychologist in regards to the teaching fraternity. You can talk about your experience in the institutions you have been in and how you have supported teachers. Convince the interviewer that you understand your role.
In all the educational institutions that I have worked in, I guided teachers on how to help students deal with behavioral issues so that they can reach their potential. I also worked hand in hand with them to help me understand the students and offer more focused pieces of advice. I can also help teachers gather and review data aimed at monitoring the progress of the students. Lastly, I am always ready to help teachers facing challenging issues with their students.
14. Why Did You Pursue School Psychology?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are enthusiastic about this role or in it for material benefits. Make sure that you answer reveals passion and enthusiasm. You can also talk about your experiences growing up.
I understand the challenges students face, especially in the wake of social media and increase of technology. I chose to become a school psychologist to help them overcome such challenges. I am capable of helping them handle stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.
15. How Would You Deal with Violence?
Th interviewer wants to know whether you recognize the increase in violence in schools and some of the ways you can handle that. Show the interviewer that you understand the impact of violence and can help students overcome the anxiety and fear that comes with it.
I understand that students face violence, both at school and in outside settings. The first way of dealing with it is acknowledging it and what it does. I then work with affected students to help them handle their situations and emotions. I will reassure them that the school has measures in place that are aimed at reducing violence and that they can feel safe.
16. Suppose a Student Came to You Bearing Suicidal Thoughts, What Would You Do?
The interviewer wants to know how you would deal with such a pressing and highly confidential issue. While answering, make sure that you convince them that you have great interpersonal skills. You can also share an experience dealing with students with suicidal thoughts.
I understand the responsibility that comes with such a confession. I will handle the matter based on the surrounding circumstances. However, I will ensure that the student knows that I am there for him/ her and that their life means so much more. I will also follow the school policy regarding that.
17. Can You Handle Heavy Workload?
The interviewer wants to know if you can prioritize your workload given the nature of this job. Explain the techniques and tools that you use in such occurrences.
Yes, by prioritizing work, which calls for excellent time management. I use my calendar to make appointments and even create time for reporting and other assignments. I also ensure that others know whether I am available or not. Whenever something pops up, I check whether it is urgent or not before deciding whether it needs my immediate concern or not.
18. You Must Have Placed a Student in a Special Education Program At Least Once in Your Career. Tell Us, How Do You Arrive at Such a Decision?
This is a technical question, where your knowledge is getting tested. You should tell the interviewer some of your recommendations when it comes to special education program.
Whenever I am dealing with students, my main focus is always on things that benefits them. Based on the outcome of my assessment, I always know who should be placed on a special education program or not. I then assure the parents that their children will be reevaluated regularly and that the special program is for the student’s own benefit.
19. How Do You Handle Cases of Disruptive Students?
The interviewer wants to know your response in this particular situation. The best way of dealing with this is using the STAR technique.
I will talk to the class teacher to shed more light on such a student. This will also help me know why the student chose to misbehave. I will then initiate a behavioral change program on the student to help resolve the issue at hand.
20. What Was Your Proudest Moment as a School Psychologist?
The interviewer wants to know some of the things that you consider as an achievement in your role as a school psychologist. You should talk of a time you felt like an achiever.
A school once hired me as a psychologist after a raging inferno burnt down their buildings, claiming the lives of some of their students. Most learners were scarred and traumatized to the extent that they were not willing to talk about it. However, after a month, I got all the learners to loosen up and we started therapy. When I performed my assessment after three months, I realized that most of them had come to terms with the incident and were quickly returning back to their normal jovial lives. I have never been so pleased in my entire career.
These are some of the common questions that you will be asked in a school psychologist interview. Make sure that you come off as passionate and enthusiastic to the plight of students. We wish you all the best in your interview.