Social Work Programs

April 19, 2011

Social Work Job Interview Tips

Filed under: social work job interview — Tags: — admin @ 2:20 pm

social work job interviewAnticipating an interview for a social work position can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. However, social workers can take time to prepare for interviews by learning what employers are looking for as well as what some of the most common questions for job candidates are. First of all, those preparing for a social work job interview should take some time to research the company or agency. Do this by thoroughly reading the organization’s website and by acquiring any and all information possible to learn more about the organization’s mission statement, history, and areas of service.

Interview candidates with the MSW or BSW degree should think about how his or her talents, interests, and experiences relate to the organization as a whole, and should be prepared to share with those who conduct the interview why the organization would benefit from having this particular candidate as an employee. Before the interview, think about the types of clients you’ve served both at your internships and jobs in the past. What support systems in the community did you utilize? If you were involved in supervision or administration, prepare by writing down the tasks you performed.

Social Work Job Interview Preparation

Even though it might feel uncomfortable or silly, it is important to rehearse answers to possible interview questions before the actual interview either in front of a mirror or before friends or family. Remember to keep answers to interview questions in a minute or two in length to avoid babbling or including unnecessary information. There are both general questions to be aware of as well as specific ones often asked those with the MSW or BSW degree. Let’s first look at some general questions:

Some of the most common questions for anyone interviewing (not necessarily social workers) including the following:

What qualifies you for this position?
How has your education and experience prepared you for this position?
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years, job-wise?

Specific Questions to Social Workers Interviewing

Some questions more specific to MSW jobs and BSW jobs might be:

What populations of clients do you enjoy working with the most and why?
Talk about a time you had a disagreement about a client at work with your boss.
How was it resolved?
How do you handle various job duties?
How would you begin to perform case management in an area you know nothing about?
When have your personal values been in conflict with those of a client?

During an interview, remember that appearing to be confident is important. If you just finished your MSW program and don’t have prior job experience, be sure to speak about your internships and the responsibilities you had at the clinics where you were an intern. Maintain strong, regular eye contact. speak in an audible tone of voice; and listen carefully to any and all questions interviewers ask. Finally, always think up two or three questions to ask at the end of the interview about the position or organization to make it clear that you have done your research and are very interested in the job opportunity.

These questions might include the following:

What opportunities for professional development does your agency offer?
How would you describe the work environment here?

Sometimes an interviewer may notice on your resume that you grew up in the same area as them or that they also attended your college. If they mention this , it is a nice way to build the connection and they may ask you about specific professors or courses they took in the past if they were in the same social work program. Sharing on this level
can help you form a bond with this person.

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