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How to hire a skilled psychologist and improve employee well-being and performance


Mental health awareness is growing and we’re all beginning to realize that the impact workplaces have on personal well-being is enormous. 

Therefore, many organizations are actively looking for ways to improve the employee experience – and hiring a psychologist might be one of the best ways to achieve that.  

Organizational psychologists, also known as industrial-organizational (IO) psychologists can help you build a positive and driven workforce by improving employee satisfaction across your organization. They’ll be able to help you assess employees’ behavior and performance, trace challenges back to their roots, and understand and improve team dynamics.

With the help of a trained psychologist, you’ll be able to find answers to questions such as: 

  • Is there an issue with the way you select and train employees? 

  • How do team dynamics and communication affect performance?

  • How can you improve job satisfaction at your company? 

  • Is the organization able to provide sufficient support to team members? 

  • What can you do to help your employees do their best work?

Your IO psychologist will find the answer to all those questions – and more. 

To help you find the right person, we’ve prepared a detailed guide for you, explaining how to hire a psychologist for your company. In it, we’ll explore:

  • The responsibilities of an organizational psychologist

  • The essential hard and soft skills they must have

  • Reliable ways to evaluate them, including skills tests and interview questions

  • Trustworthy ways to source psychologists 

  • Average salaries

What is a psychologist?

Psychologists are professionals who seek to help people improve their mental well-being and find healthy strategies to cope with stress and different challenges. 

They can also work with groups and organizations to help improve group functioning and build a healthy and positive culture.

Many kinds of organizations are hiring psychologists, including: 

  • Social service institutions

  • Healthcare facilities

  • Schools and educational institutions 

  • Large organizations

Building a positive work environment is critical for the success of every company. But, as Deloitte reports, only 58% of workers would rate their mental well-being as “good” or “excellent” – and 70% of managers say there are organizational barriers that stand in the way of supporting workers’ mental health. 

To help improve employees’ well-being and productivity, large businesses in many industries are hiring industrial-organizational psychologists. 

Industrial-organizational psychology is the scientific study of human behavior in the context of work and it aims to improve all work-related aspects for both employer and employees. Organizational psychologists’ job is to study individual and group behaviors within a company and find ways to improve them. 

Often, organizational psychologists are seen as an extension of the HR team, as they may help you evaluate your candidate’s behavior and pick the right person. However, they have many other responsibilities, such as to: 

  • Document an employee’s or a team’s performance (also known as performance management) and create strategies to improve it

  • Design surveys to identify issues at the workplace

  • Get to the root of any internal problems that hinder your company’s development 

  • Build a healthy and positive work environment

  • Develop compensation and promotion policies

  • Identify ways to improve the training and onboarding process

  • Help organizations to create a positive cultural shift

Psychologist hard skills: What hard skills do psychologists need?

Aside from proper education and a license to practice, there are some essential hard skills that any psychologist must have. The most important ones are: 

Psychology and cognitive science fundamentals

Psychology aims to understand how the mind works and equip individuals with better coping strategies. Cognitive science is the study of the human mind, which focuses on how the mind manipulates knowledge and how the brain realizes different mental processes. 

Solid knowledge of psychology and cognitive science is a necessary foundation for the successful practice of organizational psychology. 

Knowledge of different psychotherapy and intervention techniques

Psychologists must know how to use a variety of psychotherapy methods to help their patients and clients address and overcome challenges, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Psychodynamic therapy 

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

  • Motivational interviewing

  • Group therapy and team-building exercises 

  • Conflict resolution techniques

  • Coaching 

Software skills

Psychologists use various software tools to keep track of their work. Many assessment tools that they use are digitized as well, so today’s organizational psychologists certainly need to be tech-savvy. 

Here are some software tools that psychologists might use:

  • Record keeping software for psychologists, such as TherapyNotes and SimplePractice

  • Statistical analysis software, such as SPSS, R, and Statistica

  • Electronic health records

  • Skills assessment tools, such as TestGorilla

Work ethics

Having a strong moral compass is essential for a psychologist. Mental health is a sensitive topic and it must be handled with professionalism and integrity. 

Someone with a strong work ethic:

  • Is punctual & reliable

  • Notices details and is thorough in their work

  • Takes initiative

  • Shows accountability

  • Demonstrates a positive work attitude 

Quantitative and qualitative research

Psychologists frequently use quantitative and qualitative research to inform their practices. This might include: 

Recording and analyzing data and interpreting results accurately is therefore essential for any organizational psychologist. 

Psychologist soft skills: What soft skills do psychologists need to be successful?

Working with people requires having excellent soft skills, too. The key soft skills for a psychologist include:


Psychologists may have to discuss complex matters with patients or employees. This requires excellent communication skills

A good psychologist is able to:

  • Ask the right questions to extract relevant information

  • Provide new perspectives 

  • Listen attentively 

  • Guide the discussion effectively

  • Motivate others

Critical thinking

Being able to listen carefully is not enough; psychologists must be able to interpret their findings accurately. That’s why critical thinking is vital for this job. 

Using an analytical approach enables psychologists to:

  • Critically review data and results

  • Form evidence-based conclusions

  • Come up with effective courses of action


Discerning and recognizing the emotions of others is critical for a psychologist. Organizational psychologists have to read the emotions that drive the employees’ behaviors so they can develop a deeper understanding. 

Showing genuine compassion helps you give support and guidance more effectively as well – which is why empathy at the workplace is so important, especially for a psychologist.

Problem solving

A good psychologist is capable of looking at a problem from different angles to generate new ways of solving issues in the workplace. At the end of the day, a psychologist’s work consists of finding creative solutions to problems encountered in life. 

Psychologists who are good at problem solving can:

  • Recognize and define problems

  • Find possible solutions

  • Choose the most effective approaches

  • Implement them and monitor results so they can make adjustments

How to test a psychologist’s skills

To practice as a psychologist, professionals need to meet certain requirements. Make sure that the person you hire meets them. 

These requirements include:

  • At a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, such as sociology, anthropology, or social work, earned from a program that’s accredited by the American Psychological Association 

  • A Master’s degree in organizational psychology or a related field is highly recommended for an organizational psychologist

  • A doctorate-level degree (PhD) for clinical or health psychologists 

  • A state- and/or country-specific professional license (on the American Psychological Organization’s site, you can find information on state-specific licensing requirements)

However, simply checking whether a candidate matches the legal requirements is not enough to ensure you’ll find the right person for your company. 

Pre-employment skills testing is an effective way to make sure that your candidates have the right skills for the job you’re hiring for – and most forward-thinking companies are now using skills tests to hire new employees for nearly any role out there, even that of a psychologist.

Did you know that 88% of organizations who implemented skills-based hiring saw a reduction in mis-hires and 74% of organizations saw their costs-per-hire decrease?

Pre-employment skills testing is an effective way to hire chart

To build a skills assessment, you need to find the right combination of job-relevant skills tests. With TestGorilla, you can build an assessment of up to five skills tests and ask all candidates to take it – and you can also add qualifying questions to see who meets licensing requirements in your state or country. 

Here are some of the tests we recommend to use when hiring a psychologist:

  • Verbal reasoning: This test enables you to assess your candidate’s analytical skills through language; it evaluates both their skills with words and their ability to reason.

  • Problem solving: Identify candidates who can make the right decisions and solve issues effectively. 

  • Communication: Assess intermediate communication skills with this test, including active listening and nonverbal communication. 

  • Business ethics and compliance: Find candidates who have a deep understanding of business ethics and can handle sensitive matters professionally. 

  • Critical thinking: This test assesses your candidates’ ability to think analytically and interpret data correctly. 

  • Computer literacy (PC): Find candidates who have the right computer skills to be effective at work.

  • DISC: This test is based on the behavioral-assessment model of psychologist William Marston. It’ll give you insights into your candidates’ personalities and help you decide whether they’re a good match for the role and the team. 

Psychologist interview questions: What questions should you ask when interviewing psychologists?

Skills tests enable you to compare applicants and quickly identify the best talent in your talent pool. 

To gain a more in-depth understanding of their abilities and expertise, you can then invite the top performing candidates to an interview. 

Here are some interview questions you can use in the psychologist recruitment process: 

  1. Can you give an example of how you have used psychometric testing in an organizational setting?

  2. Can you share an example of a successful intervention you implemented in the past?

  3. How do you deal with conflicts in leadership teams?

  4. How do you assess an employee's performance and potential? 

  5. What strategies do you use to help employees achieve their true potential? 

  6. How would you handle a situation where a team fails to reach their performance targets consistently?

  7. What steps would you take to analyze and address employee turnover?

  8. If you were to assess our company culture, what methods would you use?

  9. How would you improve the employee experience and engagement in an organization that is struggling with those?

  10. What is your experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods in organizational psychology?

  11. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your interventions?

  12. How do you handle resistance to change within an organization?

Where to find skilled psychologists for hire

Now that you know how to evaluate talent, you can start looking for your next psychologist.

First, you need to decide whether you want to hire a consultant or a full-time employee. 

If your company is small- or medium-sized and there’s a particular set of behaviors that you want a psychologist to help you work through, hiring a freelance organizational psychologist might be better. 

Larger companies might benefit from hiring an in-house employee to help them build a better hiring process, create a performance management system, or address organizational change. 

Where to find in-house psychologists

Here are some of the platforms you can use to hire a full-time industrial-organizational psychologist: 

  • PsychologyJobs: This site offers psychology-specific job listings and access to resume databases that make hiring easier. 

  • SimplyHired: At SimplyHired, you can post your jobs for free and gain access to a large talent pool; this is a job search engine with a wide net that helps organizations find the right talent.

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn gives you access to diverse talent and the opportunity to learn more about each candidate from their profile. 

Where to find freelance psychologists

Here are some of the ways to find freelance organizational psychologists: 

  • Upwork: Upwork is still one of the best platforms for sourcing and hiring freelance talent.

  • Kolabtree: This platform enables you to post your project details safely and find expert collaborators. 

  • Word of mouth: Recommendations by other people (especially those who work in your human resources department) can help you find someone with the right skills for the job. 

Organizational psychologist job description template

Job Title: Organizational psychologist

Location: [Your location]

At [your company's name], we believe in fostering a work environment that promotes growth, innovation, and well-being. 

As a leading player in [industry], we are committed to maintaining a workplace where every employee feels valued and empowered to do their best work, so we're looking for a skilled organizational psychologist to join our dynamic human resources team.

In this role, you'll help enhance our organizational effectiveness, employee satisfaction, and workplace productivity to help us grow in a sustainable way.

Key responsibilities:

  • Conduct assessments to identify organizational needs and challenges

  • Develop and implement strategies for performance management, employee engagement, and talent development

  • Design and evaluate training programs to address skills gaps and promote learning

  • Provide expert advice on change management, team dynamics, and leadership development

  • Collaborate with HR and management teams to improve recruitment processes and employee retention strategies

  • Facilitate workshops and training sessions on topics like stress management, effective communication, and team-building

  • Offer counseling and support through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)


  • Master’s or Doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, or a related field

  • Proven experience in an organizational psychologist role or similar

  • Strong knowledge of psychometric testing and employee assessment tools

  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills

  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal abilities

  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods

What we offer:

  • A vibrant and supportive work environment

  • Plenty of opportunities and support for professional growth and development

  • Competitive salary [ranging from/to]

  • A culture that values work-life balance and employee wellness

How to apply:

[Describe your application process here]

How much does a psychologist cost?

There are different career paths for a psychologist and their salary will depend on what field they specialize in. A psychologist with a Master’s degree in the US will get approximately $98,000 per year

However, an industrial-organizational psychologist’s average annual salary is $135,000. There are other factors on which the salary range may depend, such as years of experience and additional skills.

Hire the right psychologist to improve your employees’ performance and well-being

The role of an organizational psychologist can have an enormous positive impact on all your employees. Improving your work environment and solving issues that hinder your employees’ performance can help you reach your company goals faster. 

To make sure you’re hiring the right psychologist, use pre-employment skills testing. It’s a science-based method that helps you make informed hiring decisions by providing you with objective data. 

Try it out for free today with TestGorilla – or sign up for a free 30-minute live demo.


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