Finding a Job in Youth Mental Heath Services Part 2 How To Nail The Interview

In Part 1 of this series, we covered How To Write A Resume. If all has gone well, you have updated and organized your resume to its utmost potential, and have landed an interview — Congratulations! All your hard work has paid off, and you are much closer to landing your dream job in mental health services. Meeting with your prospective employer in person is vital. You’ll see where you may potentially be working, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions that may arise first-hand. You will also need to make an amazing first impression. Here’s how to conduct an impressive interview that will make you stand out from the other candidates.


First things first — Before the big day, you need to thoroughly educate yourself on both the company and the position you are interviewing for. Every organization is different, even though they are part of the youth mental health field. For example, some specialize or focus in different areas of behavioral health, such as residential or outpatient services. Utilize online resources to learn about the company’s function, team, specific job requirements, and the skills required to be successful. Keep in touch with their news — anything from accomplishments they have shared on social media to accolades listed on their website. Be well versed before you step your foot in the door. This lets the interviewer know that you are passionate about both the career and the company, and want to be part of it.


As you approach your interview date, review your resume, including any pertinent work history and milestones you’ve accomplished that relate to the job. You don’t want to forget to touch upon anything of value that might shine a light on what you would personally bring to the position. If your nerves tend to get the better of you, consider preparing a brief opening statement that answers that famous interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” List your background, experiences, objectives, and strengths that will benefit the employer and prove you are a valuable asset.


Your qualifications are extremely important to highlight, but it’s your specific story that serves as the icing on the cake. It is possible to be professional and still let your unique personally shine through. Think about instances where there was an obstacle at work or school, and the actions you took allowed you to overcome it with great results. Or talk about a particularly touching story that solidified your love of working with children. Tell them the lessons you have learned along the way that got you to where you are today, including the knowledge, growth, and success you’ve had.

Here are some more tips to help you nail the interview.

  1. Learn the most common and challenging questions they might ask, and think of your responses beforehand. Some of these interview questions might include:
    • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
    • What do you like most about working with children in mental health services?
    • How do you handle conflict/difficult situations?
    • How do you handle collaborating with others, such as parents, co-workers, or school administrators?


  1. The key to a seamless interview is to practice. Rehearsing your answers will help to keep you cool and calm under pressure, and boost your confidence in the process. Enlist the help of a friend or family member, and practice out loud to stay in touch with timing. Every minute in an interview counts, and a well thought-out, efficient answer allows time for other questions, conversation, and a connection with the interviewer.


  1. Leave A Lasting Impression. At the end of the interview, you should have a conclusion statement to reiterate your interest in the position, and why you would be a good fit for the company. Keep things positive, and avoid discussing negative experiences regarding previous employers, bosses, or coworkers. Afterwards, send a thank you note or follow up email — this will only help to set you apart from other candidates.


  1. Understand that rejection is part of the process. Sometimes things don’t work out, even if you nail the interview. Don’t give up. When you strive to always do your best, you’ll land the job you’re meant to have. Make sure to leave off on good terms, as the same company can have future openings that are more suited for you. Stay sharp, and good luck!


Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.