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Psychiatric Aides Interview
Questions

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| Krista has been on thousands of interview panels hiring EMS professionals and firefighters. With over 30 years of experience as an EMS Educator, she has developed curriculum and training materials to assist those interviewing for these positions.

Question 1 of 25

What are your career goals?

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Psychiatric Aides Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What are your career goals?

      The interviewer is looking to see how motivated you are and if you plan on continuing your education to advance in the field. Share what goals you have for the next 3-5 years and how those goals apply to the psychiatry field. Explain how you will achieve those goals.

      Krista's Answer

      "My career goals are to advance in this field. In the next five years, I want to work as a school psychologist. I am taking courses towards my bachelor's degree in psychology and will complete my courses next year. Then I plan on working towards my master's degree in school psychology."

  2. 2.

    What kinds of additional responsibilities or challenges have you taken on?

      Show you are a team player with a strong work ethic. Describe additional responsibilities you have taken on to help your supervisor, classmates, professors, or coworkers. These additional responsibilities could be as a Psychiatric Aide, in school, or working in another type of industry. Or, explain something that was challenging for you and describe how you worked through it.

      Krista's Answer

      "In my last job, I was working as a counselor in a group home for troubled teens. My supervisor seemed upset one day, and I asked if I could do anything to help. She said the group home just lost a big part of their budget, and she was putting together a training program for the parents to attend. She lost most of the budget that was meant to pay a printing company for the pamphlets she was going to send to the parents, which described the program. That money was also going to pay for the training curriculum for the course. I offered to print the pamphlets at the group home on my break and came up with another solution to give the pamphlets to parents when they came to pick up their children, which saved on postage. We decided to print the training curriculum after the group home closed in the evening and put the training packets together ourselves. We volunteered our time, but the training program came together, and it was a success."

  3. 3.

    What have you done to further your own professional development in the past 5 years?

      The interviewer wants to see how motivated you are to further your professional development. Describe any courses you have taken in the past five years, certificates you have received, and any volunteer work related to the psychiatric field. Explain why professional development is important to you.

      Krista's Answer

      "In the past five years, I finished my associate's degree and bachelor's degree in psychology. I want to work as an administrator in a psychiatric hospital and have taken leadership and public speaking courses and received certificates of completion. I am also a member of Toastmasters, where I am improving my public speaking skills. I believe professional development is essential in this field, so one is always learning and improving their skills and knowledge."

  4. 4.

    What experiences do you have dealing with mentally ill patients?

      Describe any experience you have with people who are mentally ill. It could be experience as a psychiatric aide, or if you are new to the field, explain any interactions you have had with people with mental illness. It could be a friend or relative, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or working in another profession where you encountered people with mental illness. If you do not have experience, describe what steps you are taking to gain experience.

      Krista's Answer

      "I am new to this field, so I do not have experience working with mentally ill patients. I have volunteered for the past year at a soup kitchen at my church and have encountered many people with what appears to be mental illness. After I am done serving their meals, I like to sit with them and get to know them as a person. Some people have confided that they are schizophrenic or bipolar, and it has given me insight into their diseases."

  5. 5.

    What experience do you have in this field?

      Describe any relevant experience you have in the mental health field. Talk about any schooling, certifications, or volunteer work you have done. If you have a friend or family member with a mental illness, talk about your experience with them. If you do not have any experience in the field, be honest and tell the interviewer that you do not have experience. Explain to them that you are excited to have the opportunity to work for the agency interviewing you, which will give you experience in the field.

      Krista's Answer

      "The only experience I have in this field is from talking with a person I have befriended who has schizophrenia. He is a homeless man who I pass every day on my way to work. I started bringing him small gifts like food, water, candy, and toiletry items I thought he might need. At first, he would only give a quick thank you, but he started talking more over time. One day I asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee so we could talk more, and he said sure. When we were having coffee, he told me about his schizophrenia. The more I talked to him, the more intrigued I became. He is the reason I decided to become a Psychiatric Aide. I hope to have the opportunity to work for this agency so I can gain clinical experience in the field."

  6. 6.

    Give an example of a time when you dealt calmly and effectively in a volatile situation.

      Psychiatric Aides need to be calm, have critical thinking and decision-making skills, and diffuse volatile situations effectively. Mentally ill patients can suddenly change their moods, and you need to know how to work with them. Speaking calmly while helping during their crisis is an essential skill to have. Give an example of when you were calm in a volatile situation, whether it was with a mentally ill patient or another situation.

      Krista's Answer

      "Two months ago, I was broadsided in my passenger side while traveling through a green light. A delivery van struck me as they were running a red light. No one was injured, but both the van and my truck were very damaged. We both got out of our vehicles, and the other driver started yelling at me, saying I caused the accident. He was screaming at me and in my face, and I thought he would punch me. I did not argue with him. I just stepped back and asked if he was injured. He looked surprised that I didn't yell back, and said he was fine, and asked if I was hurt. I told him I was fine and that the important thing was we were both okay. I told him that we would get this straightened out; we just needed to stay calm. He was immediately apologetic and said he knew he ran the red light, but he was afraid he would lose his job, so he yelled at me. We shook hands and waited for the police to arrive."

  7. 7.

    What do you know about our organization?

      Before any interview, it is important to do your research on the company or organization you are applying to. Let the interviewer know you have done your research. Explain the highlights of the organization that stands out to you.

      Krista's Answer

      "I know that your organization offers treatment programs for all types of mental illness from seven days all the way up to one year. You offer private rooms and bathrooms to all patients and allow families to visit on the weekends if the patient wishes. Your approach is much like staying at a spa or resort, and you promote peace and tranquility. All rooms face the gardens and fountains, and you encourage the patients to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Many of your counseling sessions are outside, which is an approach I really like."

  8. 8.

    How do you keep yourself mentally and physically fit?

      You need to be in shape mentally and physically to work as a Psychiatric Aide. Working with psychiatric patients can be mentally exhausting at times, and in some situations, you may have to restrain a patient. Describe what you do to keep yourself in mental and physical shape.

      Krista's Answer

      "For me, mental and physical shape go hand in hand. When I exercise, it puts me in a good place mentally and physically. I love being outdoors and work out 5-6 days a week. I enjoy mountain biking, kayaking, trail running, and yoga."

  9. 9.

    Why did you choose to pursue a career as a Psychiatric Aide?

      The interviewer might ask why you want to enter the field of psychiatry, but this question is more specific to the position as a Psychiatric Aide. Explain why you chose to work as a Psychiatric Aide over other professions in the field. It may be that this is a stepping stone, and your goal is to be a psychologist, nurse, or administrator. If so, let the interviewer know your career goals.

      Krista's Answer

      "I chose a career as a Psychiatric Aide because I have been interested in the field since I was a little kid. My mom is a school psychologist and works with troubled youth. I want to follow the same career path as her, and working as a Psychiatric Aide will give me experience while I complete my schooling."

  10. 10.

    Why do you want to enter this field?

      The interviewer wants to know what motivated you to enter the psychiatric field. You might have a friend or family member who has a mental illness, or you may have seen a counselor for treatment which inspired you to work in the field. Avoid answering because you want to help people. Professionals in the psychiatric field want to help people, but you should expand on why you want to help them.

      Krista's Answer

      "I want to enter this field because I have an older brother who has suffered from depression his entire life. My parents finally realized what was wrong and got him the help he needed to be happy. His sadness had a big impact on me growing up, and I was so relieved when he found a good therapist and was put on medication. We have a great relationship now, and I want to help others achieve that happiness."

  11. 11.

    Why are you the best candidate for us?

      The interviewer is looking to see if you would be a good fit for their organization. Describe the traits and qualities that you have that will enhance and benefit their company. Use examples that describe your personality, professionalism, and work ethic.

      Krista's Answer

      "I am the best candidate for you because I have a strong work ethic and am compassionate and empathetic towards others. I show up to work well before my shift, I am meticulous in my duties, and I have the ability to listen and understand what each patient needs. I desire to continue my education and promote within your organization."

  12. 12.

    Would you consider yourself a person with a lot of patience?

      Patience is required when working in the field of psychiatry. Explain a situation where you had to be patient and how you managed that. If you are not a patient person, describe the steps you are taking to overcome that. Ideally, you should avoid telling the interviewer that you do not have patience.

      Krista's Answer

      "I do consider myself a person who has a lot of patience. Growing up, I watched over my three younger siblings after school while my parents worked. I helped them with their homework, made dinner, and got them ready for bed. That taught me a lot of patience since they always tried to break the rules when my parents were gone. That experience has carried over into my professional life, as well."

  13. 13.

    How would your past coworkers describe you?

      The interviewer wants to see how you work as a team and what traits your past coworkers would use to describe you. Name three or four important qualities for the job as a Psychiatric Aide, and give a brief description of how you embody those qualities. Avoid using terms such as funny, always joking around, or lazy. These are unbecoming qualities for a Psychiatric Aide to have while at work.

      Krista's Answer

      "I think my past coworkers would describe me as dependable, compassionate, and trustworthy. They know they can depend on me to show up on time and do my job without supervision. I am compassionate with my patients, their families, and my coworkers and supervisor. They can trust that I will do what I say I am going to do."

  14. 14.

    What is your greatest strength?

      Most people have many strengths. Choose your greatest strength as it applies to the position as a Psychiatric Aide. It could be your ability to work with different types of people, your compassion, or excellent customer service skills. The interviewer wants to see how your greatest strength will benefit their organization.

      Krista's Answer

      "I believe my greatest strength is my ability to remain calm in stressful situations and when working under pressure. I worked in the restaurant industry before coming into this field, and we were always busy with a long wait for customers. Some customers would be upset with the wait and take it out on me when serving them. I always remained pleasant and provided excellent customer service. At the end of their meal, most of my customers were happy and laughing. I was always the server who made the most tips because I did not let the customers get to me."

  15. 15.

    What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

      Many interviewers will ask this question. Choose a weakness that pertains to the job and briefly describe what that weakness is and what steps you are taking to improve it. Showing you identify weaknesses and can find ways to improve them shows humility and growth.

      Krista's Answer

      "My greatest weakness is I find it hard to delegate tasks to others. I take on a job and want to do everything myself. When I started volunteering at a children's hospital, I learned that you need to delegate tasks to other team members to provide the best treatment for the patient. I have started applying that knowledge in my everyday life, and I am getting better at delegating and asking for help."

  16. 16.

    How do you handle stressful situations?

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  17. 17.

    How will you be able to tolerate being in a mental health facility for your career?

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  18. 18.

    Do you have any specialties?

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  19. 19.

    Tell us about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem which challenged fairness or ethical issues.

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  20. 20.

    How would you respond if a patient attacked you?

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  21. 21.

    What would you do if you saw a coworker stealing a patient's belongings?

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  22. 22.

    Do you have anything else to add?

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  23. 23.

    What have you done in the past year to better yourself as a Psychiatric Aide?

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  24. 24.

    Have you ever prevented a problem because you were able to anticipate one person's reaction to another person?

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  25. 25.

    Tell us how your connections with coworkers help you to be successful in your work.

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