Interview Feedback

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
Post Reply
altruisticmall
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:54 pm

Interview Feedback

Post by altruisticmall » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:39 pm

Hi everyone,

I am feeling very frustrated and disheartened about some recent feedback from an assistant psychologist interview. This was for a post working on an inpatient ward in London.

Some useful feedback I was given was:

- I need to structure my answers more in terms of what the situation was, what I learnt, and what I could do better next time
- I need to be more confident in my responses

However, there were a few points I felt very taken back by. I realise that each interviewer is different and will be looking for different things, but the points here were very personal:

- As a woman, I perhaps don't feel I can express myself too much emotionally for fear of looking 'hysterical'. This means that I come across as 'too self-possessed' (this is a verbatim quote)
- I 'clearly' had not prepared for the interview (I had, but obviously not in the best way)
- I was asked to talk about a situation with a service user that hadn't gone well. I described this situation to them and my feelings of anxiety and discomfort, and as a result of telling them this, they suggested that I 'would not be suitable for clinical work' and that it makes me 'uncomfortable'

During the interview, I noticed one interviewer looking up and down my body. I wondered if I was imagining this, but after the fifth or sixth time noticing it, I knew it wasn't in my head. At one point they were staring directly at my chest (which was completely covered, just for information).

I have thought about this for days and I don't think I am just making excuses for myself. I completely accept that I was not the right person for the job, but I wasn't expecting to hear conclusions about my personality or capacity for clinical work.

Does anyone have any thoughts or has anyone experienced something like this?

Advertisement
Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit: pearsonclinical.co.uk/cpf
User avatar
ChrisCross
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:37 pm

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by ChrisCross » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:35 am

That sounds like such an uncomfortable experience, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. From what you describe, it sounds like the interview panel would have benefited from taking some time to reflect on their own unconscious (or even conscious!) biases, especially given those totally inappropriate comments about your gender. The comment about feelings of anxiety making someone 'not suitable for clinical work' is something that seriously winds me up too - because, of course, working in clinical practice makes us totally exempt from having feelings :roll: Yikes.

It sounds in many ways like you dodged a bullet in not being recruited to this position. Remember that the interview process should be as much an opportunity for you to find out about the team as it is for you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. If the feedback you received is any reflection of their service ethos then it might be helpful to think of this as them not being a good fit for you, rather than the other way around. Still, I can appreciate it must feel disheartening, especially given how competitive these posts can be.

altruisticmall
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:54 pm

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by altruisticmall » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:47 pm

Hi Chris

Thanks very much for your reply. It's reassuring to know that other people can feel anxiety completing clinical work. It left me feeling pretty alone in that sense.

I am wondering whether to feed this back to the HR service at the hospital, but I don't want to kick up a stink and scupper any future opportunities.

I forgot to mention that the two members of the panel were occasionally bickering between themselves, and the atmosphere felt quite hostile. Again I'm trying not to make excuses for myself, but I really didn't feel comfortable at all. At the start of the interview they also told me that so far "the standard of candidates has been incredibly high", which did not put me at ease.

Oh well. I do not think we were a good fit for each other and I do feel a bullet has been dodged. Thanks again!

User avatar
ChrisCross
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:37 pm

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by ChrisCross » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:19 pm

altruisticmall wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:47 pm
It's reassuring to know that other people can feel anxiety completing clinical work. It left me feeling pretty alone in that sense.
Absolutely, you are certainly not alone! It's totally normal (for want of a better word) to experience all sorts of feelings when working with people in a clinical setting. We're human beings after all. What's important is to give yourself space to reflect on those feelings - ideally in supervision - and learn from them. I tend to think of anxiety as a bit of a clue that your mind wants you to pay attention to something and, in doing so, you can learn an awful lot about yourself and the people that you are working with. There are entire therapeutic concepts and approaches dedicated to this way of thinking.

Obviously I don't know the full context of the interview question or your answer, but the feedback you received definitely worries me. It perpetuates this idea that clinicians should be immune to any sort of feeling or vulnerability, which can only serve to create a wider 'us' and 'them' divide between mental health professionals and clients/service users - not helpful at all in my opinion! You're not the first person I've come across to say they have received this sort of feedback from interviewers too, which is equally worrying, especially as some of the people giving this feedback seem to be psychologists themselves... Of course, we have a responsibility to clients to ensure that our feelings don't negatively impact on the work, but simply having them shouldn't prevent you from being in a clinical role. That's where the support of a good supervisor can come in, to help you untangle some of those feelings and anxieties. As long as you are able to notice the anxiety as it arises, contain it within sessions and talk about it afterwards, I really don't see how it's a problem. In fact, some of the best clinical work I have been involved in has also been some of the most anxiety-provoking!

As for whether or not to speak to HR about your experience, that's a decision only you can make really. My advice would be to talk it through with someone you know and trust - a colleague, friend or family member. From your post it seems as if this is something you have been ruminating about, so it might do you some good and help you to make more sense of what happened.

altruisticmall
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:54 pm

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by altruisticmall » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:43 am

Thanks again! I tried to stress how important supervision is in dealing with difficult situations, as well as the feelings that can arise from trying to deal with them. I am pre-training and aware that there are limitations to my knowledge and experience. As you say, I don't think feelings of anxiety should exclude anyone from the profession, so long as they are properly managed and don't lead to lack of professionalism.

It helped to read your posts, though, and made me feel much less like an alien.

User avatar
workingmama
Team Member
Posts: 1463
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by workingmama » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:08 am

I'm going to offer up an alternate view on the mentioning about sex, and say that I find that appropriate. It sounds like the interviewer, on that point, was trying to share their hypothesis about why they might have not found you to be explaining very well how you felt about a specific situation, and they were sharing that it could have a social context in which you had previously been made to feel that you had to be quite guarded about sharing your feelings. It sounds as if this is slightly at odds with the second part of the feedback about you seeming uncomfortable about the service user situation. I don't know the whole context of the interview obviously, so I can only go on the parts that you have shared. I wonder if the interviewer was saying that they didn't hear from you as much as they might have liked about your own internal processes thinking emotionally about your cases and being self reflective. I wonder if they tried to help you understand why that might be/tried to make sense of this in terms of your social context, and if they felt this difficulty in feeling/being self reflective about cases was perceived further in their experience of you seeming uncomfortable when talking about the SU situation.
I don't want to overguess what happened in an interview in which I was not present, but also don't think it's always helpful for people to receive an uncritical response that we are always completely in the right and how awful those interviewers were - it doesn't help us to think what we'd need to change to have a different outcome in the next interview. It sounds like some of what happened was clearly uncomfortable - your feeling that someone repeatedly looked at your chest is one of those things, and I imagine that by itself was hugely offputting and upsetting. The feedback does sound more specific and directive than some other feedback, but to be honest I do think that interviewers are often trying to do us a favour when the go further than the usual 'your application was very good there were just better people on the day' type of mush (although that is often true! :grin:).
IT sounds like how that feedback was given wasn't helpful/wasn't able to be accessed by you in a way that was helpful right now, and I'm sorry you've been left feeling sore. I've found feedback like that quite shaming, because it's easy for us to go beyond hearing that as a reflection of our performance and to think that it's making a comment about who the interviewer thinks we ARE. That can make it incredibly hard to dig deep and hear the feedback objectively (or at least, it's always been hard for me), and it might 'fit' better in a few years. Certainly painful feedback to me needs to digest a bit, needs me to sit on it until I've been able to view it from a different perspective. I also found that the most painful feedback (for me) was the most accurate and reflected parts of my self and my relating to others that I badly did not want to 'own'. I have used intellectualisation to cover my insecurity that I had nothing to offer as a human being, and it took a really depressing number of years to work through that (work in progress, folks). When you wrote that you were told you came across as too 'self possessed', that resonated for me, and I didn't know if my experience could help you to make sense of your own feedback.
Anyhow, I'm juts one woman talking, as ever, and whilst I hope my own take on this helps remember that none of us actually know what the feedback meant and how accurate it was. In time it'll find its own place in the story that is who you become. Sending love, and recommendations for a good cry if you feel like it, and cake as required xx.
Fail, fail again, fail better.

PinkFreud19
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Re: Interview Feedback

Post by PinkFreud19 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:11 pm

I am really sorry to hear about this experience, altruisticmall.

I have nothing much more to add, but I found workingmama's perspective to be useful. My take from reading your initial post was that the interviewer was making a genuine attempt to acknowledge the influence of societal pressures and gender roles when providing feedback.

However, if such a consideration is made indiscriminately for all women who may not express emotions in specific conditions (i.e. an interview), such an effort to combat sexism by acknowledging systemic issues could arguably go 'full circle' and end up in sexism again. This is certainly an issue that would make for an interesting debate (although I do not wish to derail this thread in the process!).

I suppose, we cannot read minds, so we do not know whether the interviewer felt there was some genuine reason to point toward that hypothesis or not. Since we cannot know, perhaps it would be helpful to consider whether you feel that there is any truth in such a hypothesis initially, but then to try your best to accept it as an uncomfortable proposition and nothing more personal than that.

The experience regarding "the male gaze", let's call it, sounds highly uncomfortable, and I am sorry that that was your experience.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest