Monday, October 31, 2011

So You Wanted Some Interview Questions

A recent discussion about interviewing for school psychologist positions brought about this blog post. A reader of the Notes from the School Psychologist blog posted on Dr. Branstetter's Facebook page for advice for an upcoming interview. I offered to send interview questions that I was asked to anyone interested, so here is the list! This is compiled from three different interviews.
  • Tell us about your background and why you would like to work in this district.
  • How do you view the role of the school psychologist? Why do you want to work in this profession?
  • What did you like and dislike from your internship?
  • What role does the school psychologist have in counseling, in a district that has a school counselor?
  • What has been your most difficult experience thus far? How did you handle it? What do you wish you could have done differently?
  • What is the role of a school psychologist in RTI? Describe your experience with RTI.
  • How does the role of the school psychologist change at the elementary, middle, and high school level?
  • Is there anything else about your experiences or personal attributes you want to share?
  •  Describe your counseling experience, both group and individual.
  • Describe your experience with students with severe emotional and/or behavioral problems.
  • What is the role of the school psychologist in conducting and implementing FBAs and BIPs?
  • What battery would you use to classify a student with a suspected learning disability?
  • How would you classify a student as emotionally disturbed?
  • Describe your organizational skills.
  • Why should we hire you?   
  • Describe your assessment skills, specifically how they relate to high schoolers. How does assessment differ between elementary and high school students?
  • What is your experience with Brief Solution Focused Therapy? 
  • What do you believe the role of the psychologist on a child study team is?
  • How you would utilize RTI at the high school level. 
  • What would you do to advocate for and support special education and self-contained students within general education?
  • Describe any student crisis cases you have been involved in, and how you handled them.
  • You are doing a reevaluation for a student who is classified LD, but who tests in the MR range. Previous testing results are congruent with an MR classification. In talking with the psychologist who conducted the previous evaluation, he reveals that the parent resisted an MR classification. How would you proceed?
  • A parent calls you with concerns that their child’s testing modifications are not being implemented properly, and that their special education teacher is not adhering to their IEP. How would you proceed?
  • When conducting an initial referral on a student with a suspected learning disability, your testing shows that the student does not qualify. Testing done at an outside agency reveals the same scores, and the psychologist there says the student does qualify. How do you proceed?
  • A teacher comes to you with a referral for a student who has not received any RTI. How to you respond to the teacher?
  • Writing Sample: Write a letter to parents at the high school. Describe your background and experiences. Tell them what you can offer them and their children and how you can be useful.   
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  1. Wow! Great questions! I'm assuming, based on your questions, that your state is using a hybrid model of identification? Both rti and discrepancy? In Florida we have gone all rti, which can be sticky! I would prefer a hybrid, I really miss my assessments!

  2. Hey, thanks!! I'm a 2nd year Master's student (also in a upstate NY) and just saw my first (unpaid) internship listing for next year (eeep), so *perfect timing*. Great questions!

  3. I think RTI useage in NY depends on the district. In the district I'm currently working in, they're just starting to require RTI, and even then it's very loose since there is no district requirement or mandate regarding RTI (i.e. the district has no guidelines on how buildings should be doing RTI). It really depends on what the psychologist working on the case decides. In other more affluent districts around the area, it's all RTI. Personally, I prefer a hybrid model and is what I use on cases. Test scores can be VERY important and give a lot of good information about how a child learns. You can't get that from a lack of a response to intervention.

  4. Wow, they're putting up internship positions already? GREAT! Better than waiting until February, March, or later, depending on when the next school year budget hits! Don't worry, I was having a total freakout moment at this point 2nd year, but your practica and professors will prepare you to have great interviews!

  5. Thank you so much for this! Super useful for this practicum student.

  6. You're very welcome, Celyn! Anytime. :)

  7. I'm dying to know what "the answer" to the question, "What role does the school psychologist have in counseling, in a district that has a school counselor?" is. I know both roles can and do provide counseling, but when? Is counseling for a school psychologist only with students with an IEP? Or? Aimee, if you have time, can you enlighten me? :)

    1. I would say that we assist school counselors in meeting the counseling needs of all students (both general and special education). As a psych in his first year, I learned early on that some counselors will look at you as someone to help lighten their case load. This should not be the case. We are both considered specialists and counseling should be the expertise of the counselors. Especially considering every school psych program addresses counseling differently with varying levels of emphasis. School psychs should be available in times of crisis to assist counselors, to facilitate groups that foster the needs of students with disabilities we have training in addressing (e.g. ASD, ED, etc.). I'd love to hear what other people think though. Thanks!

  8. I wish I could tell you the "right answer," Monica! Some school psychologists do IEP Counseling (counseling services written on IEPs); in other districts, like mine, social workers do it. Sometimes school psychologists are expected to do crisis counseling or work with the "tougher" cases. The psychologist's primary role (in many places) is that of CSE work, while the counselor's is career/life counseling. At the end of the day, I think the role is that of a colleague and confidant to work side-by-side with. Since school counselors are specifically trained in individual and group counseling techniques and school psychologists are trained in mental health issues, I think that the two can work well together. Running groups, consulting on cases, referring to outside agencies, making home visits, teaching parent groups, working on PBIS, etc, are all great ways to collaborate. Hope that helps!

  9. Hi

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    Source: School interview questions

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  10. Thanks for your comment, David! Those look like great "getting to know you" interview questions. A lot would be appropriate for practicum and internship placements, especially those asking about school and research experiences.

  11. I interviewed with 5 districts here in the great state of Delaware (laugh it up) and as an applicant with a lot of relevant work experience straight out of internship I totally forgot to discuss what I had done as an intern. I hadn't realized I was doing this until my 3rd interview and I'm guessing I didn't impress too many people by totally avoiding (though unintentionally) my school psych related experience. I would advise everyone to DEFINITELY review the stock interview questions (3 out of 5 districts used them) and rehearse what you will say as your relevant experience STARTING with school psych related work lol.


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