Here are the top 10 most asked school psychologist interview questions, with suggested responses so you can practice showing you are the right person for the job.
1. Why did you decide to pursue a career as a School Psychologist?
This question provides you with the opportunity to explain to the interviewer why you chose to be a school psychologist and to show your enthusiasm for the role. You might choose to tell the interviewer you understand the challenges that children face and want to help them overcome those challenges and provide them with tools they can use to help them succeed. Perhaps your own experiences with a school psychologist motivated you to pursue this career. Let the interviewer understand your motivation for becoming a school psychologist.
Children nowadays face many challenges, particularly with the increased use of technology and social media. They need support and help to face those challenges. I have a strong desire to help them overcome their challenges. I believe that I can provide them with tools to help them deal with stress, anxiety, depression and other challenges they might encounter. Being a school psychologist gives me the best chance to intervene and provide support at the earliest opportunity to help all children.
2. Tell me how a school psychologist can support teachers.
This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer you understand the role of a school psychologist. It also gives you a chance to talk about your work experience in educational institutions and the experience you have in supporting teachers. Before the interview, make sure you are familiar with the skills and responsibilities of a school psychologist at that school. Show the interviewer you understand the role and how the school psychologist can work with teachers to monitor student progress and offer teachers support and assistance to help students achieve their potential.
By working with teachers, I can provide support to both students and teachers to help the students achieve their potential. I can give guidance to teachers about how to help students who are struggling or dealing with behavioral issues. I can work alongside teachers in the classroom to get a better understanding of the students and to allow me to provide more focused advice and guidance. Teachers can collect data to monitor student progress, and I can help them review the data and provide guidance to help student performance. I can also support teachers when dealing with challenging issues with their students.
3. What techniques do you use to gain the trust of the students?
If you want to do a good job as a school psychologist, you have to gain the trust of the students. Students have to see you as part of their community, not someone isolated and unknown to them. Tell the interviewer about your techniques for establishing trust with the students. Let the interviewer know that you understand the importance of trust and will work hard to develop trusting relationships with the students.
Trust is an important part of my relationship with students, just as in any relationship with a psychologist. The students need to see me as a person who is part of their community, and as someone who listens. Listening is an important part of building that trust. I can’t help the students if I speak first without listening.
By listening first, I can get to know the students and understand them. It is also important that the students know I am always there for them. That means, for example, always showing up on time and not dismissing what they may tell me. The other big thing I focus on is making sure to be visible on campus and attend school functions instead of sitting in my office all day.
4. What are the current most common mental and emotional problems students face?
The interviewer is trying to understand your approach and the problems you have experienced with students so far. There is no correct answer. The answer to this question can differ between cities and neighborhoods. Share with the interviewer the common problems and issues you have encountered.
I have dealt with students with a variety of issues, especially with anxiety and eating disorders. I also frequently encounter students concerned with their self-image and having feelings of deficiency. These types of issues are becoming increasingly common, as they are often tied to social media and the images people project on these platforms.
5. How would you address violence as a school psychologist?
Show the interviewer you recognize violence in schools is increasing and that you recognize students may also be affected by violence in other areas of their lives. As a school psychologist, you have to understand the impact violence has on the students and be prepared to work with them. The fear of violence can cause anxiety for students, and you will have to help students deal with their anxiety and fear.
Unfortunately, students are affected by violence both inside and outside of school. Violence affects students in many ways. As a school psychologist, I acknowledge the violence and the feelings it causes with students. I work with them to learn to handle their situations and emotions. I also try to reassure them that violence inside the school is a rare, rather than a common occurrence. I also reassure students that the school takes precautions to prevent or reduce violence. I believe that acknowledgment and reassurance are key.
6. How would you handle a student who tells you they are experiencing suicidal thoughts?
Students may disclose many things to a school psychologist, including if they are having suicidal thoughts. Your answer should show that you understand the seriousness of the disclosure and that you can deal with this appropriately. You should be clear you understand the responsibility placed on you when someone confides in you. Use your answer to show the interviewer you have good interpersonal skills. If you have had the experience of dealing with students having suicidal thoughts, share that without violating any confidentiality.
If someone trusts me enough to share that they are having suicidal thoughts, I recognize that a great responsibility is being placed on me. Some people view talking about suicidal thoughts as a cry for attention, but I don’t share that view. If a student confided in me, I would always take this seriously. How I handle it would depend on the individual circumstances, but I would always make sure the student knows I am there for them, that they have my support and that they are worthy of being here. I would make sure I am familiar with the school policy on this type of issue, and I would follow that policy.
7. How do you deal with prioritizing your workload?
You will have to respond to many demands. The interviewer wants to know that you can prioritize your workload, considering deadlines and the needs of the students and teachers. Explain how you use a calendar to manage your time and how you deal with matters that crop up unexpectedly.
I understand that no two days will be the same and that issues will crop up unexpectedly that will need to be prioritized. Those issues might also mean I have to reschedule other things. I consider my calendar to be one of my most important tools in managing my time. I use that to make appointments, but I also block out time for dealing with report writing and other tasks. I also make sure I communicate my availability to others.
When something comes up unexpectedly, I assess whether it is urgent, important, not important, or not urgent to allow me to decide if I need to deal with it immediately or if I can deal with it at another time.
8. Tell me how you decide whether to place a student in a special education program.
The interviewer is testing your technical knowledge. They want to identify your knowledge of a specific issue, in this case placing students in a special education program. Share with the interviewer what steps you would take to recommend a student for a special education program. Keep your answer brief and direct.
The question of placing a student in a special education program is a delicate matter. Parents don’t always want to accept that their child needs extra help. Sometimes, they feel keeping their child in a mainstream school would be better for the child and they feel that they know their child best.
I always focus on the student and what would benefit the student. I focus my assessment on the outcome. I think it is important to remind parents that their child will be reevaluated occasionally to assess whether a mainstream program might now be suitable. This is particularly important where the parents disagree with my assessment.
9. A teacher comes to you about a student acting out in class. How do you handle this?
The interviewer is assessing how you respond to a specific situation. If you have experience of this situation, share how you handled it. You can use the STAR technique for this type of question. Talk about the Situation, the Task you need to accomplish, the Action you took or would take and the Results you achieved or hoped to achieve.
Disruptive students are not uncommon, and teachers are accustomed to handling these situations. Sometimes things can get out of hand or a student who doesn’t normally act out changes behavior. I would talk to the teacher initially to understand why they are struggling to deal with the student. I then have to consider the reason the student is misbehaving.
Once that is done, I would then work with the student to change their behavior and with the teacher and parents, if necessary. These steps usually resolve the issue.
10. What do you consider to be the key skills of a good school psychologist?
A good school psychologist needs to have many skills, including excellent listening skills, the ability to collaborate, strong interpersonal skills and good analytical skills. Highlight the skills you possess and how those enable you to be a good school psychologist.
There are many skills that make up a good school psychologist. For me, excellent listening skills are important. Being able to listen to students is crucial to building trust with students and helping me understand what is going on for the students. Being able to collaborate with students, teachers, and parents is also important. As a school psychologist, I cannot do my job alone. I need to work with others to succeed and help the students. And to collaborate with others, strong interpersonal skills are a necessity.
Next 30 Most Asked School Psychologist Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Describe a typical day in your current role.
- Have you had experience in other fields of psychology?
- How do you handle stress?
- What do you think is the key to being able to successfully communicate with students?
- Why do you want to work at this school?
- What do you expect from teachers and school administrators to allow you to succeed in your job?
- What experience do you have of working in educational institutions in any capacity?
- How many evaluations do you complete in your current role?
- Tell me about a time you struggled to deal with a student. What did you learn from the experience?
- What challenges do you expect in this role?
- What are your career goals?
- How do you handle confrontation?
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
- A parent asks you to conduct an inappropriate test or have an inappropriate talk with their child. What do you do?
- What types of assessments are you familiar with?
- Which part of being a school psychologist do you find hardest?
- What do you see as the challenges in the special education sector?
- What strategy do you use to work with parents, teachers, and school administrators?
- A student is diagnosed with ADHD problems. What types of interventions would you use?
- A student is bilingual. What do you need to take into account when considering whether they have an intellectual disability?
- Why do you want to work here?
- A student is being bullied. Tell me how you would handle the situation.
- A parent is failing to work with you to benefit a student. What steps would you take to overcome this?
- How do you track progress with students?
- A student is failing to make progress working with you. What do you do?
- What skills do you need to improve on?
- A teacher does not respond well to you as the new school psychologist. How would you respond?
- What challenges does the field of school psychology face over the next twelve months?
- Tell me why we should hire you.
10 Best Questions to Ask in a School Psychologist Interview
Once the interviewer has finished asking questions, they will normally give you the opportunity to ask your own questions. Think about these questions before the interview. Choose questions that will give you a further opportunity to show your interest in the job or give you an opportunity to learn more about the job and the workplace.
- What qualities are you looking for in a school psychologist?
- What opportunities for further learning and professional development will be available?
- What is the model of administration?
- Will I be provided with supervision or mentoring?
- What challenges do you see the school facing over the next twelve months?
- What will my role be in any general education teams or committees?
- What does a typical day look like for a school psychologist here?
- In what way do you see a school psychologist benefiting the school?
- How will success be measured?
- What areas of improvement do you see for the school?
An interview is your opportunity to show the interviewer you understand the job and you have the skills to succeed in the job. By preparing before the interview, you give yourself the best chance of being offered the job.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.