Simulated job interview improves skills for adults with serious mental illnesses

Laura Boteler Humm*, Dale Olsen, Morris Be, Michael Fleming, Matthew Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adults with serious mental illnesses (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD], schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) often have difficulties obtaining employment. The Job Interview Training System with Molly Porter, developed in collaboration with Yale and Northwestern Universities and vocational rehabilitation specialists with funding from The National Institutes of Health (R43/44MH080496), allows learners to practice job interviews on computers in a stress free environment. The system includes user-driven educational materials, an interactive job application, a practice simulation with a fictional interviewer (Molly Porter), and extensive feedback. SIMmersion's PeopleSIM™ technology allows each conversation with Molly to provide a unique interview experience, enabling users to gain confidence while building skills. The on-screen coach provides insight during the conversation, and a comprehensive after-action review provides learners with feedback on the entire interview. In a randomized control trial, the system was proven effective at improving participants' interview skills and confidence. Ninety-six (96) unemployed adults with ASD (n=26), schizophrenia/other (n=37) or PTSD (n=33) were recruited. Participants were randomized into control (n=32) and experimental (n=64) conditions. The control group was 'wait-listed' to receive training, and the experimental group used the training system with Molly Porter. Both groups completed pre- and post-intervention role-play interviews and self-assessment questionnaires. Analyses of covariance showed that the simulation provided a highly significant training effect, with experimental group participants scoring better in the role-play interviews and self-assessing higher than control group participants. By increasing skills and confidence, this system may ultimately reduce the length of unemployment for adults with mental illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-54
Number of pages5
JournalStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
StatePublished - 2014


  • Disabilities
  • Job Interview
  • Serious Mental Illness
  • Simulation
  • Virtual Reality Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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