Conducting clinical interviews

Prior to the interview…

  • Doublecheck to see that all materials are included as indicated on the Instructions to Monitors sheet in the folder.
  • Review the data included with the report to assure yourself that the report covers the important issues in that data.
  • Check to see if there is a sheet with handwritten notes, or notes written on the data sheets from the Report Writer. These notes pertain to information or issues that will need clarification in the interview.
  • Have a blank release of information form on hand, in case it is needed.

The first part of the interview…(15 minutes)

  • Review with the candidate any of the information or issues that have been noted on the handwritten sheet, if any such sheet has been enclosed.
  • Ask the applicant to summarize the events that have led up to this point, that is, his or her application for ministry.
  • Make any changes to the report that the notes plus the applicant’s description of his or her journey indicate. Typically, changes to the report are minimal and can be handwritten by you in the text of the report or in the margin.

The second part of the interview…(15 minutes)

  • Once you have dealt with any issues and concerns, along with the applicant’s journey, ask him or her to read the report, especially from the Personality Profile section to the end.
  • Ask the applicant to make a check mark in the margin of the report if he or she encounters any issues, questions or concerns about what has been written.
  • It may be wise to step out of the room for 15 minutes to allow the applicant to focus on that reading.

The third part of the interview…(20 minutes)

  • Upon re-entering the room, ask the applicant to step back from the details and provide an overall response to the report. Make a note of that response and add that to the file to be returned to CAS.
  • Once an overall response has been expressed, go to the specific issues, statements or concerns the applicant may have, if any, concerning the report. Nine out of ten applicants find the report satisfactory as written.
  • If necessary, indicate that the applicant has a right to a second opinion. Explain that he or she would have to get permission from the judicatory when selecting another person or agency to do it, pay for it him or herself and then CAS would release both reports. To date, five out of five thousand applicants have requested a second opinion.

The fourth part of the interview…(5 to 10 minutes)

  • Once the candidate is satisfied with the report, as much as is possible, ask him or her to confirm that the release he or she signed earlier is still a valid release, or have him or her sign a new one.
  • Provide the applicant with assurance that he or she can review the report again, provided he or she has it released by you, to an appropriate credentialed mental health professional. (Or, depending on the denomination, provide the applicant with a “carry out” copy of the report).
  • Complete and sign the report while the candidate is present. You will need to check the appropriate boxes that appear just beyond the “report proper” on the last pages of the report. Also complete the information requested on the cover sheet of the report.

As soon as possible after the interview…

  • Look back over the report. Initial any changes, either additions or deletions that you have made to the report. If you think a general statement about the interview is necessary and appropriate, you will find a place provided for this near the end of the report. If you add such comments, make sure that the applicant knows what you are going to add. That is, do it while he or she is present and can review what you have written.
  • Be sure to sign and date the report. Also, as noted above, complete the checklist at the end of the report with check marks beside the appropriate descriptive comment. If you check any item as having been changed or added to, indicate in your own handwriting the page on which that change was made.
  • Place the materials in the folder and return them to CAS, unless you are the designated trustee for such reports in your area. If you are the designated trustee of reports in your area, you may want to review the time frame and events discussed for shredding the reports and data, namely not later than seven years from the date of testing, OR the date when the applicant is ordained or certified AND has begun active ministry.
  • Place the report in the envelope provided, and mail it to the judicatory official to whom that envelope is addressed, and mark it CONFIDENTIAL. You can sign your name over the back flap if you are concerned about confidentiality.
  • A check for your services will have been enclosed in the initial mailing of the report and other materials to you so that no invoices or other paperwork is necessary.

At any time…

  • Contact the CAS office by phone or email if you have questions or concerns.