The first step towards developing your career in social work is attending an interviewBack
The first step towards developing your career in social work is attending an interview - discover the questions you could be asked and how to impress with your answers.
Employers will be looking for candidates who can demonstrate emotional resilience, adaptability in challenging situations and a commitment to helping others.
Communicating these traits through your answers during the interview is therefore crucial to making a great first impression. The Devil is often in the detail, so the more preparation you can do to demonstrate your knowledge, the better. Find out how to prepare for the interview and the type of questions you could be asked.
Questions specific to social work may include:
- How would you prioritise your caseload?
This is a practical question, where interviewers will be looking for you to show evidence of your soft skills. Highlight your excellent organisation and time management skills - not only for prioritising urgent cases, but also for allocating time to completing paperwork and other admin tasks, showing your all-round understanding of the nature of the job.
Do your research about the relevant local authority; what do you know about working there – any particular challenges?,
- What is currently happening in social work policy and how could this affect your working?
Demonstrate here how you keep up to date with knowledge and continuous professional development. It is an opportunity for you demonstrate your commitment to the field as a whole.
- What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker/social work manager?
- How do you separate your work and personal life?
These questions are more personal, and should encourage you to discuss your life outside of the job and your career ambitions. Social work is an emotionally challenging field, so interviewers are always looking for your ability to ‘switch off’ outside of work hours. Discussing what you would like to accomplish in your career will demonstrate self-motivation and resilience you need to succeed as a social worker.
You’ll also be asked a range of competency-based questions that will require you to draw on your past experience to explain how you’d approach specific situations. These could include:
- Give an example of a complex case you've worked on. What actions did you take?
- Give examples of when you've had to deal with conflict or confrontation in a work capacity.
- Give an example of a time when you've had to think on your feet and the outcome of this.
- Describe a situation in which you handled stress successfully.
- Describe a time when you've managed a team.
If you can describe well your decision making in these situations – why you took your actions and also identify what you would do differently next time, this further demonstrates to your employers that you’re willing to learn, develop and improve in your judgement as a social worker.
Connect2socialcare works with clients throughout statutory, voluntary and independent settings on a national basis. Typically, most of our social worker opportunities will be placed at local authorities, but there are other more unusual roles for you. We are extremely busy with both locum and permanent opportunities contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me, Abbie or Sian Homer or Lisa Hallinan on 0808 281 9541
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