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Why this matters:

Forensic psychologists must be able to recognize when a patient is feigning mental illness in order to influence the outcome of their trial or other consequences. Here, you are looking for the candidate to display proficiency in recognizing signs of this tactic versus signs of true mental illness. Forensic psychologists should exhibit impeccable observational skills, paying close attention to the patient’s body language, eye contact, tone of voice, and nervous habits.

What to listen for:

  • Level of expertise in mental health issues
  • Ability to detect malingering
  • Proficiency in observing and identifying nonverbal cues

Why this matters:

The ability to identify recidivism risk is crucial for forensic psychologists because it allows them to develop an appropriate treatment plan for patient-inmates, as well as determine whether a patient is ready to reenter society. Here, you are looking for the candidate to give a detailed explanation of how they would assess recidivism risk in a patient. Forensic psychologists should display an ability to read a patient’s nonverbal cues and make valid assessments without bias.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to identify and observe nonverbal cues
  • Ability to approach a situation objectively and in a level-headed manner
  • Knowledge of the signals of recidivism

Why this matters:

A large part of the role of forensic psychologist involves creating appropriate treatment plans for patients. A good candidate will be able to provide a detailed example of an effective treatment plan and explain why it worked, then provide an example of a different plan that wasn’t as successful. The ability to recognize and learn from one’s own triumphs and failures is key to working in the mental health space.

What to listen for:

  • Proficiency in forming effective treatment plans for patients
  • Ability to admit and learn from mistakes
  • Strong attention to detail

 

Why this matters:

Forensic psychologists often work with people who have a hard time opening up. These patients may have significant trauma or mental illness, or may be resistant to opening up for fear of incriminating themself. A forensic psychologist should have a plan for encouraging patients to feel comfortable sharing how they genuinely feel. This question will also help determine if the candidate has good listening skills.

What to listen for:

  • Examples of successful experience in getting patients to open up
  • Strategies for making patients feel comfortable to express their emotions
  • Solid interpersonal and listening skills

Why this matters:

This question allows you to assess the candidate’s experience level and their approach to difficult cases. The candidate should be able to provide an example of a case they took on that was particularly challenging, and clearly explain the treatment plan and outcome.

What to listen for:

  • Familiarity with difficult cases
  • Ability to stay calm and level-headed
  • Strong problem-solving skills

Why this matters:

Forensic psychologists play an important role in determining the legal consequences of a patient’s actions. Sometimes a forensic psychologist works with a patient who has no interest in bettering themself, or a patient who has severe mental illness. This requires patience and perseverance. It is crucial for a candidate to be able to perform assessments and develop treatment plans without letting their emotions influence their work.

What to listen for:

  • Strategies for setting boundaries with patients or witnesses
  • High level of patience
  • The ability to empathize while remaining objective

Why this matters:

This question will allow you to get to know the candidate on a more personal level. It provides them an opportunity to talk about what excites them about their career, and will give you an idea of who they are as a person.

What to listen for:

  • Enthusiasm for the field of forensic psychology
  • Desire to help others
  • Keen interest in criminal justice

Why this matters:

The candidate's answer will give you insight into the aspects of the job that they focus on most. Along with patience and compassion, the candidate should include critical thinking, ability to maintain objectivity, and emotional intelligence as key skills required in a forensic psychologist.

What to listen for:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Sound judgment
  • Detail orientation 

Why this matters:

This question will give you insight into the candidate’s personality and career goals. It provides an opportunity to see if their goals align with your organization’s goals, and to learn what excites the candidate about the role. Make sure the candidate can imagine themself within your practice, so their addition is a good fit for both of you.

What to listen for:

  • Career goals and examples of what long-term success looks like to them
  • Excitement for the field of forensic psychology
  • Drive and ambition
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