Reserve following Interview for AP roles

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!
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Smallblonde02
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Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Smallblonde02 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi All,

I wonder if anyone had any experience of this. I have had four Assistant Psychologist interviews over the last two weeks and for 3 of them I have been placed on reserve! Has anyone ever been offered a position after being placed on reserve? Getting slightly stressed out now as I have had over 20 interviews.. but suppose I am getting closer.

Opinions and experience please..

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hawke
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by hawke » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:22 pm

It's a standing joke amongst my friends and family that I come second in every interview I go for! I lose count of the number of times I have been told I gave a good/great interview but someone else was just slightly better in some way.

Firstly, congratulations on getting the interviews and reserve places - you are doing well to get these in a competitive career. There is a huge amount of luck involved in getting a place, so to some extent it's a numbers game. I know, however, it's very frustrating when people say that, as it's easy to start thinking you're 'good but not good enough' if you're not seeing tangible results.

I've had mixed results - most remain near misses, but a couple of times another identical or similar post becomes available in the same team. My most recent job was a temporary contract after not getting a different permanent contract, and it perfectly fit my skills and experience, much more so than the permanent job would have. In 2017, I missed out on the doctorate by one place on a reserve list, but ended up having the personal year from hell afterwards, so it turned out to be a blessing to delay starting by a year. So I've come to see 'near misses' as all part of the journey, and don't get too stressed out by them, as I know things will work out differently but okay whatever happens.

My learning? Firstly, I am just not naturally skilled at coming across well in interviews, so I have done a lot of reading about this and generally I think improved with practice. It sounds like you are as well, so keep trying and fine-tuning your technique. Always get feedback by phone if possible, and push for as much detail and reflection from your interviewer as possible, don't just settle for the brief feedback they've prepared. My feedback theme was about not getting my personality across, and I have (hopefully!) developed a more relaxed and personable interview style because of it. For example, in a recent interview question about risk management, I gave a "this is the protocol I would follow" response, but also a "this is how I would feel / what I would think about it", and it really paid off.

Often when I've come 2nd, it's because I'm not 100% suited to the job itself; or, I've not put in the time/effort to really research the team and personalise my interview answers. (I haven't done this yet, but in future I will certainly take up any offers of discussing the post with the team's contact beforehand, as knowledge is power!) It's easy then to do a good interview and show you'd be good at the job, but for someone else to pip you to the post because it's their area of expertise/passion. I wonder if by having so many interviews in a short space of time, it may have been difficult to research the job roles and really personalise your answers - a case of quantity over quality? I wonder if after 20 interviews, you are personally seeing each post as a generic AP stepping stone and whether this is coming across? (Not accusations, just genuine questions for reflection.) You'll be naturally better suited to some posts more than others, but there is also a skill in exaggerating your fit for a post to an interviewer!

Lastly, there are more practical ways of increasing your chances - applying outside of the NHS being a key example, and keeping an eye on more informal ways of advertising vacant posts. I take particular notice when a team advertises multiple vacancies together or in quick succession, as I know I stand a better chance.

I hope some of my reflections are helpful - good luck with the reserve places, or with future applications. Have faith that things will work out, just maybe not always in the way you expect!

Esuma
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Esuma » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:03 pm

Hawke has given some really lovely reflections there for you to think about. I just wanted to add my recent experience... I interviewed for an AP role several months ago and was given feedback that they felt I had done really well and was the ‘second’ for the post, they said there was a chance a new post would come up. Anyway several months later it finally came through and I’m due to start next week so you never know?!

Smallblonde02
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Smallblonde02 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:44 pm

Thank you Hawke for your excellent reflection I’m glad I’m not the only one.
I am very poor at interviews and always used to be told I am not selling myself so I am pleased I’m getting further. I did research into the role and the client groups for all interviews and the most recent one told me that it was a really hard decision to choose between me and another candidate! I sometimes forget things in interview then walk out and think damn I should’ve said that! The most annoying thing for me is that I’m already an assistant psychologist and my year contract is coming to an end.. so thought it might start getting easier to get other roles after that however clearly not!
Congratulations Esuma on getting the position, that’s fantastic news, you must be pleased.

AnsweringBell
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by AnsweringBell » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:00 pm

I also very much empathise with your feelings Smallblonde - I had so many experiences of being 2nd choice in both assistant applications and clinical doctorate interviews... I 100% agree with Hawke; for me, sometimes the best things have come out not getting what I wanted when I wanted it. For clinical training, I look at where my life is now that I've qualified and where I've settled and who with... and if my reserve place had come good that first year instead of being 2 spots away from getting on, and I'd ended up on training a year sooner in a different part of the country, I'd have missed out on knowing some of the most significant people in my life now, ya know? You can't have that perspective until you're on the other side of something I know... but just to echo the sentiment of stepping back from the feelings of rejection and frustration if you can, and focusing on you being on the right path and getting nearer; you never know what sort of good things might come into your life by the path deviating a bit from what you'd been hoping for.

And for a different slant on interviews and getting near but just getting pipped to the post for the job itself... having now been on the other side of shortlisting and interviewing... do take up all the opportunities you can to find more out about the service and the job itself. The information will help you make sure your prep for interview is going in the right direction, and it can help guide where you might think of going with your answers. It's a really frustrating thing as an interviewer to ask a question and just KNOW that the interviewee has the right information and experience in there somewhere, but can't quite access it, or doesn't know to focus on particular things. On that note, do definitely ask if you don't think you understand the question or aren't sure quite what the interviewer is looking for; getting some clarity can help refocus your answer, and from an interviewer's perspective it really does help to see that a potential assistant will be comfortable saying when they don't understand something and that you can see they'll ask for help/clarity. An awareness of your own limitations is a huge positive, even though I know it's the scariest thing to not know how to answer a question.

Smallblonde02
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Smallblonde02 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:48 pm

Thank you for all your reflections its been really helpful.

I have three more interviews coming up over the next month so fingers crossed one of these work out!!

JackIsCurious
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by JackIsCurious » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm

Smallblonde02 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:44 pm
I am very poor at interviews and always used to be told I am not selling myself so I am pleased I’m getting further.
I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).

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miriam
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by miriam » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:00 am

JackIsCurious wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm
I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).
Sounds like you need to get some detailed feedback, and practise mock interviews with someone who can give feedback on how to improve.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Smallblonde02
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Smallblonde02 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:46 pm

JackIsCurious wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm
Smallblonde02 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:44 pm
I am very poor at interviews and always used to be told I am not selling myself so I am pleased I’m getting further.
I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).
All I did was practice and after a lot of interviews you get more of a feel for what you might be asked and what they are looking for. I have also built my confidence in working as an assistant psychologist which has proved really helpful in interviews. It's not easy, and at times I have felt like giving up. I make sure I always take in the feedback and think of ways in which I could use that feedback next time. I have just now been offered my second AP post.

JackIsCurious
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:41 am

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by JackIsCurious » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:06 am

miriam wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:00 am
JackIsCurious wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm
I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).
Sounds like you need to get some detailed feedback, and practise mock interviews with someone who can give feedback on how to improve.
I've struggled with getting any feedback at all, frustratingly - I was only able to speak with anyone at four of the nine places I interviewed at. Practicing a mock interview would be fantastic, although the challenge there is that I don't know any clinical psychologists. There's a psychotherapist at my workplace but I only see them once a week at best. Do you think it would be worth e-mailing local clinical psychologists to see if they'd agree to it? I'd happily pay them for their time but I'm aware it's quite a big/peculiar request.

JackIsCurious
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:41 am

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by JackIsCurious » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:11 am

Smallblonde02 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:46 pm
JackIsCurious wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm
Smallblonde02 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:44 pm
I am very poor at interviews and always used to be told I am not selling myself so I am pleased I’m getting further.
I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).
All I did was practice and after a lot of interviews you get more of a feel for what you might be asked and what they are looking for. I have also built my confidence in working as an assistant psychologist which has proved really helpful in interviews. It's not easy, and at times I have felt like giving up. I make sure I always take in the feedback and think of ways in which I could use that feedback next time. I have just now been offered my second AP post.
Congratulations on the second post. I guess I'll just continue trying then and keep thinking about what feedback I have gotten. I have noticed certain recurring themes in the interviews that I feel I've improved at answering. Cheers for getting back to me.

Smallblonde02
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by Smallblonde02 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:24 am

JackIsCurious wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:11 am
Smallblonde02 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:46 pm
JackIsCurious wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm


I'm curious, how did you improve at this so much? I'm currently 0-for-9 in assistant psychologist interviews, but I've never been told that I came particularly close so I'm not really sure what to do (other than just repeatedly practicing and trying to analyse my weaknesses, neither of which seem to be doing much good).
All I did was practice and after a lot of interviews you get more of a feel for what you might be asked and what they are looking for. I have also built my confidence in working as an assistant psychologist which has proved really helpful in interviews. It's not easy, and at times I have felt like giving up. I make sure I always take in the feedback and think of ways in which I could use that feedback next time. I have just now been offered my second AP post.
Congratulations on the second post. I guess I'll just continue trying then and keep thinking about what feedback I have gotten. I have noticed certain recurring themes in the interviews that I feel I've improved at answering. Cheers for getting back to me.
And just to make you feel even better, I have now had three offers in the last few weeks and had to make a decision. So please don't give up and continue to believe in yourself.. you will get there!

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miriam
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Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by miriam » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:52 am

JackIsCurious wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:06 am
I've struggled with getting any feedback at all, frustratingly - I was only able to speak with anyone at four of the nine places I interviewed at. Practicing a mock interview would be fantastic, although the challenge there is that I don't know any clinical psychologists. There's a psychotherapist at my workplace but I only see them once a week at best. Do you think it would be worth e-mailing local clinical psychologists to see if they'd agree to it? I'd happily pay them for their time but I'm aware it's quite a big/peculiar request.
You might be able to find a trainee or an AP who is willing to do this, or a local graduate psychologists group where you can do role plays and give each other feedback. But if you tell me your location I might be able to recommend someone to approach.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

JackIsCurious
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:41 am

Re: Reserve following Interview for AP roles

Post by JackIsCurious » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:56 am

miriam wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:52 am
You might be able to find a trainee or an AP who is willing to do this, or a local graduate psychologists group where you can do role plays and give each other feedback. But if you tell me your location I might be able to recommend someone to approach.
I hadn't actually considered the graduate psychologists group idea, I'll see what I can find. And I appreciate that, thank you - I'm currently based in West London but I don't mind travelling to some of the home counties if necessary.

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