The wrong candidate can cost an employer time and money, so companies sometimes turn to psychologists for help screening applicants. This is especially common during tough economic times, when open job positions can attract high numbers of qualified candidates and when companies must work extra hard to compete in tight markets, according to "U.S. News and World Report." The common goal for employer-initiated psychological screenings is to identify whether candidates hold the qualities and skills needed to be successful on the job.
Length of Assessment
The duration of your psychological assessment during a job interview will vary depending on the importance of the available position, according to "U.S. News and World Report." For example, a manager might meet with a psychologist for a few hours while a prospective executive might be assessed over the course of one to two full days, according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. Because psychological assessments are expensive, they might be reserved for the top two or three candidates vying for high-level positions.
Making a Positive First Impression
It’s not uncommon for work-based psychologists to make assumptions about your viability as a candidate within the first few minutes. "U.S. News and World Report" states that psychologists might first form an opinion about you based on your college education, hobbies and interests, and then ask questions that validate that first impression. When meeting with psychologists, engage in conversation that is professional and upbeat to validate that first positive impression.
Types of Questions
Your meeting with a psychologist will likely involve answering a series of questions. These questions might include statements, which you will respond to by agreeing or disagreeing. For example, the psychologist might state, “People do a lot of things that make you angry,” or “Many people cannot be trusted,” and then wait for you to agree or disagree, according to NBC News. Other questions might focus on hypothetical scenarios, describing a situation and asking how you would respond. Psychologists could be interested in determining your problem-solving style, organizational skills, and leadership abilities, according to Lakin Associates.
Handling Stress in Role-Playing
For high-level management positions, meeting with a psychologist for a job interview could involve role-playing assessments, according to "U.S. News and World Report." You’ll be placed in a tough or stressful job situation, with the psychologist or paid actors taking the roles of angry customers or uncooperative employees. Candidates will be expected to assess the situation and then decide on a safe, productive and professional course of action.
"U.S. News and World Report" states that although a psychologist might ask you challenging questions during an assessment, certain topics are not legally permissible. Employers cannot attempt to learn about your sexual orientation, religions beliefs, disabilities, or medical issues such as depression.
- U.S. News and World Report: Why a Psychologist Might Be at Your Next Interview
- Minnesota Department of Human Rights: Prohibited Pre-Employment Practices
- NBC News: Employers Turn to Tests to Weed Out Job Seekers
- Lakin Associates: Psychological Testing
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.: Individual Psychological Assessment
- Nolo.com: Testing Employees
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