48 Common Counsellor Interview Questions With Sample Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 August 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Counsellors assist clients with a variety of things and make life easier for them. There are several types of jobs in counselling, like career counselling, mental health counselling, guidance counselling and relationship counselling. If you are planning a career in counselling, researching some common interview questions and knowing how to answer them can help you perform better in job interviews. In this article, we share a list of commonly asked counsellor interview questions and provide a few sample answers to help you prepare for your next interview.

General Counsellor Interview Questions

General counsellor interview questions often aim to find out details about your professional preferences and other relevant information to help interviewers understand whether you and the company are a suitable match. Here are some common questions interviewers may ask you:

  1. How do you handle stressful situations?

  2. What, according to you, are the most important skills a counsellor can possess?

  3. Why do you want to work here?

  4. What are your hobbies and interests? Do they help you grow as a professional?

  5. Are you comfortable relocating to another city for this job, if offered the position?

  6. Name any three of your strengths and weaknesses.

  7. What is more important—compassion or understanding?

  8. Which is more important—being happy or being successful?

  9. A well-paying position or job satisfaction, what do you recommend?

  10. What was your favourite subject in school?

  11. Who is your professional mentor?

  12. What are your salary expectations?

  13. How might your friends describe you?

  14. Please introduce yourself.

  15. What makes you the ideal candidate for this position?

Related: Counselling Skills: Definition And Examples

Questions About Background And Experience

Listed below are some questions regarding background and experience that interviewers might ask to determine your suitability for the role:

  1. What made you choose a career in counselling?

  2. Where did you go for your higher studies and what degrees did you earn?

  3. How does your academic background or professional experience qualify you for this job?

  4. Can you explain the gaps in your resume?

  5. Describe a rewarding experience in your career.

  6. Tell us about an instance when a client was not happy with your services. How did you handle the situation?

  7. What is your proudest achievement?

  8. What do you think are the greatest challenges and rewards of this job?

  9. How did your clients at your last job rate you as a counsellor?

  10. Tell us about a moment when you got angry or emotional at work.

  11. Can you describe a time when you gave someone difficult but constructive feedback? How did they react?

  12. How do you think you can improve yourself?

  13. Which widely shared opinion do you disagree with and why?

  14. What is your ideal working environment?

  15. What was the lesson you learned from your biggest failure?

Related: What Is Career Counselling? (With Definition And Benefits)

In-Depth Counsellor Interview Questions

Following are some in-depth interview questions that interviewers may ask you:

  1. Why is data on mental health significant to your work and how do you manage it?

  2. Are you willing to work on the weekends or at unusual hours to meet a client's scheduling requirements?

  3. What significant challenges did you face in your previous position? What approach did you take?

  4. How long have you worked with students in special education? How can a school counselling programme incorporate students who require special attention?

  5. How do you respond to reproach? How does receiving criticism help one's work?

  6. How do you approach a non-involved or apathetic parent?

  7. What is the difference between coaching, counselling and advising?

  8. Have you ever struggled to resist taking a case home with you? How do you distinguish between personal and professional time to protect your mental health?

  9. What is your preferred approach to counselling?

  10. How do you handle conflicts between students and teachers?

  11. What can you do if your student did not get accepted to the top institution of their choice?

  12. How do you keep things confidential in group counselling?

  13. How do you organise client notes and other important information?

Related: How To Write An Effective Mental Health Counsellor Resume

Sample Interview Questions And Their Answers

Given below is a list of typical questions that you can expect in a counsellor interview and their sample answers:

1. What do you do if you cannot deliver the counselling a client requires?

This question assesses your problem-solving skills and how fast you can adjust to new circumstances. Employers may want to know whether you can offer alternative solutions for clients and enable them to get the help they require, even if you cannot help them directly. Consider describing a difficult circumstance where you were unable to meet the requirements of the clients and how you managed the issue calmly to assist them.

Example: "In these situations, I prioritise the well-being of the client and ensure they know that there is a solution to their problem. One of my patients suffered from addictive behaviours and suicidal tendencies. I found it difficult to comprehend their stance on suicide, though I possessed the knowledge to recognise destructive patterns and provide a holistic approach to help them embrace counselling. I referred my client to a colleague who was more experienced in dealing with suicidal and compulsive behaviours and made sure the client understood my colleague was in a better position to help them."

Related: How To Become A Psychologist: A Complete Guide (With Steps)

2. What do you think is essential to know about a client before you counsel them?

A prospective employer might want to know that you consider the most suitable methods to understand your clients and their demands and goals when they ask you this question. Your answer might demonstrate your comprehension of the counselling process and its requirements. Think about how you conduct your sessions to draft the answer. You can also discuss each step's greater significance and how it helps you get ready to mentor a client's career path.

Example: "I conduct personality and career aptitude tests when I first work with clients to determine their personalities and the careers they can find interesting. I try to spend at least one session simply discussing their interests outside of work, though I might use this information to guide subsequent sessions. This can help me get a better understanding of my clients and provide information that is often better than a typical aptitude test. I believe that knowing as much as I can about my clients can help me produce the best work."

Related: Common Counselling Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

3. How do you assist professionals who want to change careers?

The hiring manager might ask this to find out more about your client-helping method and how you think it works. Outline specific steps you take to help your clients make a career change.

Example: "When a client tells me they want to change careers, I always start by asking why. I ensure they are comfortable with their choice and use their response to direct the next course of action. I then ask them to list specific objectives and explain how changing careers can help them achieve those objectives. Then I provide them with some financial worksheets to use in setting a pay range for their new job and ensuring they get the resources necessary. I also assist them in finding job openings, updating their resumes and practising for interviews."

Related: 11 Skills For A Guidance Counsellor To Have (With Examples)

4. What do you do if a student reveals they want to quit their schooling?

Interviewers might ask this question to determine your willingness and empathy to help, motivate and counsel developing minds. Students in high school or college frequently encounter competing priorities, wants and difficulties, which may prompt them to think about quitting to pursue other possibilities or devote more time to their families. Try to demonstrate to the interviewer in your response that you are ready to inspire and assist them in completing their education.

Example: "If a student confides they want to stop attending school, I first ask them why they want to do so. This usually makes it easier for me to recognise the difficulties they are experiencing and present strategies to support them in overcoming deterrents in completing their schooling.

Depending on the reasons they give, I first counsel the student as necessary to help them understand the importance of basic education. Then I either counsel their parents or tell them my assessment and suggest to them the exact steps they can undertake to resolve the situation."

Related: How To Write A Counselling Resume Objective In 6 Steps

5. How do you maintain a healthy, balanced life?

An interviewer can learn more about self-care practices you do by asking you this question. Include a few of these habits in your response, relating them to your therapeutic approaches.

Example: "I usually practise what I advise my clients to do in their free time. I try to exercise, go outside or interact with family and friends at least once a day. I also garden regularly and read when I can. This makes me feel content and helps to keep me healthy, both physically and mentally."

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