Deciding where you want to go and preparing a strong application for your APPIC internship choices is only half the battle. The second part of the APPIC internship match process is doing a good job in your interviews by presenting yourself in the best light and showing them that you are a good fit for their site.

Here are some tips to help you before, during, and after your APPIC internship interviews.

Pre-Interview Preparation

If you are traveling for interviews, be prepared for weather delays, flight delays, flight cancellations, car trouble, road construction, and other traveling issues that can cause problems. Since many interviews happen in the winter, you want to be prepared for anything nature brings your way that can affect your ability to get to where you need to be.

  • If possible, arrive in the city you’re going to the day before the interview rather than the day of the interview.
  • If you are flying, only bring carry-on luggage so that you won’t waste time at baggage claim or run the risk of losing your bags.
  • Pack light when traveling as this will reduce anxiety and make you more organized.
  • Make sure to practice possible interview questions and your responses to them as often as you can to relieve anxiety and be more prepared. This leads into the next section which is about the actual interview.
  • Check out this article for additional interview preparation tips »

[FREE eBook] Your Essential Guide to the APPIC Internship Match

The Actual Interview

Today’s the day of your interview and you are full of excitement and worry. All the preparation in the world won’t stop you from feeling these things, as they are to be expected and there is no shame in it. Here are some tips to help with the actual interview:

  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a good breakfast before your interview.
  • Arrive at least 20 minutes early for your interview.
  • It’s better to be overdressed rather than underdressed for interviews. Typically, this means a suit and tie for men and a suit with slacks for women. Also, for men and women, remember to take it easy on the jewelry and not wear things that are too flashy and attract attention.
  • Be sure to bring the following things:
    • Notepad for taking notes
    • Site brochure(s)
    • Copies of your application for that site
    • Copies of your CV
  • During the interview, answer questions accurately and concisely. Don’t say too much to where you ramble on about unrelated things or share too many personal things.
  • Download sample APPIC internship interview questions »
  • Make sure to emphasize how your past experiences, current interests, and future goals line up with what the site does and how they can prepare you for a future career. Here are some ways to lead into this type of statement or answer to a question:
    • “Your program seems like a great fit for my interests based on _________.”
      This emphasizes something you would like to hear more about.
    • “I’m very excited about the possibility of working here because _________.”
      This shows your enthusiasm and that you did your research.
    • “I’m glad/interested to hear about the opportunities to do _________. I’m very interested in this because _________. Could you tell me more about it?”
      This emphasizes why you feel that the site would be a good match.
    • “You offer _________ and that’s what I’m looking for in an internship.”
      This shows enthusiasm and that you want to be there.
  • When they ask about your past work experiences, make sure to talk about what you have done, what you liked about it, what you learned, and how it has prepared you for an internship/a career. Don’t put down or say bad things about previous placements; instead, say that “I found it to be somewhat challenging because of _________.”
  • When talking about weaknesses or things you have difficulty with, emphasize how they can be addressed at that agency. If they ask about disciplinary action against you (ever being suspended or fired), make sure to do “S.A.R.L.” (what was the situation, what action you took, what was the result, and what you learned from it). While these topics may not be the most pleasurable to talk about, it doesn’t hurt to spin them positively. However, if your interviewers don’t ask about these things, don’t bring them up.
  • If it is a group interview, volunteer to talk and then wait a couple of turns. Don’t try to dominate the interview as it shows that you may not be a team player or get along well with others.
  • If they don’t offer you a tour, ask if you could take a tour of the facility and speak to current interns about their experiences. Get as much information as possible about the site (e.g., rotations, working hours, politics, or anything else you want to know).
  • A final important note is to remain humble during the interview so you don’t come across as fake or a know-it-all. Know that you can always request feedback in the interview and ask if there is something more they are looking for in a response. Also, make sure you are prepared to ask questions during the interview to show that you are interested.

After Interview De-escalation

  • Remember to breathe, and have confidence that you did a good job.
  • Always mail a thank you note or letter to your interviewers to show them that you appreciate being invited for an interview. However, if it is a large site (like a jail), they probably never get mail – in this situation, you can email them directly.

Conclusion

Interviewing is as much about who you are as what you know. Interviewers want to get a sense that the interviewee is responsible, dependable, open to feedback, and seeks help when needed.

Just make sure you follow the appropriate steps, try not to stress yourself out, and be polite and approachable (in other words, be the type of person you would want to meet).

Good luck during applications, and I hope you get to have many interviews!

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Sean Hornsby

Sean Hornsby

Sean Hornsby is a 5th year doctoral student in Clinical/Forensic Psychology with a specialization in criminal behavior and community interventions. He is also a Psy.D. candidate at Alliant International University, Los Angeles and he is currently doing his pre-doctoral internship at Range Mental Health Center in Minnesota. Sean’s research and clinical interests include risk assessment, criminal offender treatment and evaluations, community outreach and support services, mental health screening, malingering, and symptom fabrication. He is excited about starting a career in helping individuals and groups develop the life skills necessary to live a full and enriched life.
Sean Hornsby

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