Social work is one of the real pillars in every society. It’s a pity that some people do not see it this way, just because it does not bring profits, as most other fields of economy do. In many countries, social workers do not get as much respect as they deserve …
Anyway, with the trend of our population getting older, rise of global economic, social and intercultural problems and with the alarming rise of social differences, social workers are as needed as ever in our society. Based on the statistics from June 2013, it is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States.
If you want to get a job of a social worker, you should know what to expect in an interview, what questions you may get and how to answer it. SocialWorkInterviewQuestions.com was established to help you with this task.
Job or a mission?
Before we start to discuss various interview questions you can possibly get, we should have a look at the most important principle every social worker should be aware of. It is your point of view on the job in social sphere. It is actually not only a job. It is your mission. Or at least, that is the way a good social worker should feel it and stress it in an interview.
Good social workers like their jobs and feel good about daily life, as they understand what value their work brings to the society. They understand that their doing a good thing, not only in God’s eyes. Social workers should not work for money only. They do their job, because they see a meaningful purpose in helping the others. Anytime being interviewed for any position in social sector, you should always present this opinion in an interview. It should be reflected in your demeanor, your enthusiasm, your motivation to do the job. Show as much as you can. Only social workers with this attitude towards the job are good social workers – and interviewers know it.
What questions should you expect in an interview?
The interview starts lightly, with some general questions. Hiring managers ask you to tell them something about yourself. When this happens, you should talk about things that are related to the job, things that are relevant. For example you can talk about your education in social field, about your experience, about your core values and opinions you have. We talked about it in previous paragraph – about “job as a mission” principle. They give you also couple of general social work interview questions, such as:
- Why do you want to work on this position?
- What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker?
- Why did you decided for this specific filed of social work and not for another one?
- Why should we hire you for this position?
- What characterize a good social worker from your point of view?
- What do you consider your strengths and your weaknesses as a social worker?
That was the general part. When asking you such questions, employers are focused not only on your answers. They also observe your gestures, your non-verbal communication, your skills, your enthusiasm, your listening abilities and many other things that one can see. Seeing you talking to them, they can asses the way you talk to clients or patients. Therefore, you should not underestimate this part of your job interview! Oppositely, be focused, listen carefully, speak to the point and do not gesticulate too much. Try to stay calm, professional, but be enthusiastic about the job at the same time.
Once the first part of the interview is over, you will be confronted with several behavioral interview questions. Interviewers ask you about some situations from your previous working experience. They do so, in order to predict your behavior in the future, in similar situations. Preparing for this part of an interview, I suggest you to think deeply about your previous working experience and find both positive and negative situations that happened to you on the workplace, while you were performing your daily duties. The following questions should help you:
- What do you judge to be your major successes or accomplishments in your last job? Who did help you the most to achieve it?
- What was your biggest failure in social work so far?
- Think of an aggressive/angry client from the past. How did you deal with the situation?
- Think about conflict situation form your last job. How did you solve the conflict?
- Describe me a situation when you did something more than what was expected from you as a social worker.
- In social work, there are always cases we can do nothing about. Describe me such a case from your experience. What have you tried before you failed and gave up on solving the problem?
As you can guess, behavioral questions can vary a lot, depending on a specific job you apply for. However, it is simply good to think a bit about your previous jobs, just to be ready to describe some situations from the past. In fact, asking you these questions, employers are also verifying facts on your resume and checking your real working experience.
If a candidate can not answer these questions, they can easily doubt his real working experience. Please, do not forget on it…
Last part of the interview is full of specific questions, or if you want technical questions. These questions are oriented on a specific job you are being interviewed for. It is related to the specific working duties, as well as to people you should work with. Let me help you to understand it better with some example questions:
- What is your opinion about young generation?
- What do you consider good topics to talk to old people about?
- How would you get closer to our target group, as a human being?
- If a client can not understand even a very simple language you use, what would you do?
- Are you prepared to make home visits?
- Are you prepared to work overtime?
- Here is a problem we have (interviewer hands you a description of some problem). Prepare a solution and describe how you would implement it.
Role-plays have become very popular in all sort of job interviews. Social work is no exception. Especially in private institutions, interviewers use this technique of interviewing pretty often. It is also common in agency recruitment. The interviewer plays a client (or even bring one), and you need to “perform your job” directly in an interview. The guide how to do role play effectively as a social worker exceeds the purpose of free part of this website. However, I can give you at least few hints:
- Be yourself. Do not try to be a different man, just adjust your behavior a little to the need of the situation.
- Accept the role play. Some people refuse to do it in an interview. It is a big mistake of a job seeker. If you refuse to do it, you can not get any positive points for doing it.
- Take it seriously. I know it is only a play. But anyway, you should take it as serious as ever, because if it is a part of social work interview. Many times it is the most important part of it. Do not forget that…
So, that’s it. On other pages of our website, you should find answers to most interview questions outlined in this article. We hope that it will help you to ace your interview, get this job and start your beautiful mission as a social worker. Good Luck!