How would you get closer to our target group?


An older job applicant talks to an interviewer. we can see face of an applicant, and back of the interviewer. Social work is not something we can do effectively while keeping distance. As a good candidate for this job, you should always try to get close to the people you work with. Close to their lives, close to their hearts, close to their problems…

Get rid of your fear

First of all, you should mention that you understand the importance of getting close to the target group. It does not matter if you want to work with orphans, drug addicts, epileptics , or seniors in a nursing home–you should always say that you are not afraid to come close, to open your heart, to spend quality time with the clients.

To understand their problems better, the pain they feel, you should say that you would like to connect with them on a personal level, so they consider you a friend, and not just an employee who gets paid for helping them (or for trying to do so).

Do not try to stand out

The problem of many social workers is that they stand out from the group in an excessive way… If you came to talk to poor children and wore a suit and a tie, and shoes that cost $200, you would hardly get close to their hearts. You may get their attention, but that is not really what you seek as a social worker.

In order to understand your target group better, you need to integrate into it, at least as much as your job allows. Try to show us in your answer that you are aware of that.

Sample answers

I would try to understand their world, think on the same wavelength as they do. I wouldn’t try to present myself as someone clever, but rather act as one of them, wearing things they wear and speaking the way they do. That is how I would try to get close to them.

I would be a good listener at first place. I would not come among them to give advice, or to persuade them to do something. I would just listen to their needs, to their problems, offer a helping hand, and a shoulder they can cry on. Doing this, I believe I can get close to them and build good base for further social work I’d do with them.

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