From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A psychological evaluation or mental examination is an examination into a person's mental health by a mental health professional such as a psychologist. A psychological evaluation may result in a diagnosis of a mental illness. It is the mental equivalent of physical examination.
Psychological assessment may come in two forms: formal and informal. Formal assessment involves the use of tools such as questionnaires, checklists and rating scales, while in informal assessment the interview/evaluation usually lacks such structure or organization. The psychologist or related licensed professional will sometimes start by asking questions of the person being evaluated, but not always. In psychological evaluations the administration of standardized psychological tests either by a psychologist, or by someone the psychologist supervises, are often a component of the evaluation.
Situations requiring psychological evaluations
Applicants to sensitive jobs, such as jobs in intelligence or other jobs handling state secrets, may be required to submit to a psychological evaluation before they can be employed, although usually a background check is much more important.