Virtual Interviews Help PTSD Sufferers Score Jobs

Virtual Interviews Help PTSD Sufferers Score Jobs

Job interviews are stressful for many people, not least those who already suffer from anxiety, mental illness or mood disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

Researchers at Northwestern University have been working alongside SIMmersion LLC to develop a computer-based simulation that aims to help out-of-work veterans suffering from PSTD to gain new employment.
For PTSD sufferers in particular, closed-door interviews can trigger feelings of being trapped. Such ex-soldiers may also feel detached and find it difficult to interact with others.

Based on software first used to train FBI agents, a virtual “interviewer” can help people to practice their interview skills in a calm, safe environment.
The commercially available training from SIMmersion LLC is computer-based and can be accessed over the Internet at or installed from a DVD.

Virtual interviewer Molly is primed to ask 1,000 questions of her “candidates”. According to the website, Molly will “remember what you’ve said, and shape the interview around what you’ve chosen to share. No matter how many times you play, no two interviews will ever be exactly alike.”

Her personality changes each time you use the program. Sometimes users will find her easier to interact with, and at other times, she’ll be more difficult to impress. An on-screen coach offers encouragement and feedback as you go along, and a detailed report is produced at the end of each interview.

The number of users who said they were ready to interview or comfortable interviewing doubled after training with Molly. Vets with PTSD and individuals with severe mental illness who took the training were nine times more likely than non-trainees to get job offers in a six-month follow-up after training. The more training interviews participants completed, the greater the likelihood of receiving a job offer and in a shorter amount of time.

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