Exploring consultant interview skills within the employment process in sport psychology
2018-11-27T14:14:40Z (GMT) by
Academic interest in the professional practice of sport psychology has meant a proliferation in models, theories, and guides to successful service provision, from gaining entry into practice to the evaluation and/or termination of service. However, there is an absence of research that examines the stage before practice can begin, and in particular, the formal employment interview. In order to address this gap in the literature, this thesis developed an understanding of the skills necessary to navigate the employment interview as a sport psychology consultant (SPC). The first study identified the features of experience that influenced gatekeepers to sport psychology s previous hiring decisions (study one). Assuming an interpretative phenomenological approach, data were collected through interviews with seven gatekeepers in positions directly responsible for hiring SPCs within United Kingdom elite sport organisations. The participants experiences were interpreted to be influenced by four key features of the sport psychologists; (a) consultant affability, (b) consultant confidence versus arrogance, (c) consultant collaboration, and (d) presentation of consultant competencies. These features of experience were then used to create two short video vignettes simulating the employment interview between gatekeeper and practitioner (study two). Utilising these vignettes to stimulate discussion, Trainee Sport Psychologists were interviewed (n=31) concerning their ability to identify interview skills, their perception of their own skills, the sources of such skills and how they could be developed. Findings revealed that despite possessing desirable levels of both affability and collaboration skills, participants reported low levels of confidence in sport psychology and the ability to present their competencies. Parent and peer attachment, educational background and specific experiential features were proposed as sources of these skills. In an attempt to further examine the potential interactions between these proposed sources of interview skills, currently accredited, practicing Sport Psychologists and those undertaking practical training routes (n=214) were surveyed (study three). The findings of this study indicated that a SPC s peer attachment, educational background, applied experience, and interview experience variably relate to self-perceived levels of consultant affability, confidence in sport psychology, collaboration, and presentation of competencies. However, there was no significant effect observed for parent attachment, as suggested within study two. Together, the studies within this thesis provide the first examination of the features of experience that have influenced historic consumer decisions within the hiring of SPCs, the skills which SPCs should possess in order to gain entry through an employment interview, and the sources from which these skills may be derived.