Methods: The current study recruited n=56 adults with SMI engaged in IPS at a community mental health center. Participants completed a battery of clinical and cognitive assessments, self-report surveys, and two job interview role-plays (role-plays were blindly rated and scores were averaged). First, we evaluated the bivariate relationship between job interview skills and the following: clinical symptoms, neurocognition, social cognition, social competence, work skills, employment history (i.e., competitive job over the past two years), job interview anxiety, job interview self-efficacy, and demographics. Second, a multiple linear regression evaluated whether the factors associated with job interview skills (at the bivariate level) explained significant variation in job interview skills.
Results: Participants were 45.9 years old (SD=12.7), 57% male, and 59% African-American. 59% of participants had a mood disorder (i.e., depression, bipolar disorder) and 41% of participants had a psychotic disorder (i.e., schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder). 60% of participants were unemployed for the past two years. Pearson correlations revealed job interview skills were correlated with job interview anxiety, neurocognition, social cognition, social competence, and work skills (all p<0.05), and negatively correlated with clinical symptoms (p<0.05). Overall, the regression explained 45.8% of the variance in job interview skills (F=6.6, p<0.001) and revealed that job interview anxiety, social competence, work skills, and neurocognition were significantly associated with job interview skill (all coefficients p<0.05).
Conclusions & Implications: Participants appear to rely on their neurocognitive ability (e.g., attention, problem-solving) to help them navigate the job interview. Moreover, participants perceiving themselves as having a stronger set of work skills may be more successful framing themselves as having work-based strengths during the interview. Contrary to our expectation, participants perceiving themselves as likely to be more anxious during a job interview were rated as having overall better job interview skills. However, perhaps stronger cognitive ability and a deeper work skills may have tempered the impact of anxiety on their actual performance during the role-play. Considering the importance of the job interview as one gateway to employment, and the challenge in maintaining job interview skills during long durations of unemployment, this study highlights the ways in which neurocognition and work skills may influence one’s job interview readiness.