11 Social Work Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared For

by Angy
social work interview questions

Answering social work job interview questions to the best of your abilities is likely to convert a job interview into a job offer!.

But can you ever prepare enough for a social work job interview?

I believe by doing some preparation, you’ll feel more in control and confident during your interview.

By preparing, you will be able to anticipate what they may ask in the interview.

Want to know some of the most common social work interview questions?

Here you go,

11 Social Work Interview Questions and Answers You Should Be Prepared For

Q1: Tell me about yourself.

Tip: Keep the answer to this social work interview question simple, positive, professional, and succinct. Talk about your strengths, what you enjoy doing, and what you bring to the role.

Sample answer:

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for this role.

I have always enjoyed working with people and this led me to pursue a qualification in social work where I believe I can make a difference in the lives of people I support.

I qualified as a Social Worker in 2020. During my training and work experience; I have developed several essential skills and qualities which are key in social work.

For example, I am passionate, professional, honest and have attention to detail. I am good at multi-tasking, organised, tolerant and have empathy.

I understand the need to follow legislation and organisation policy and procedures. I value each person as an individual and respect their rights and autonomy.

I have learned I work best as part of a team and given that this role involves working within a team; I jumped at the chance to apply when I saw the job advert.

Should you employ me as part of your team, you will be happy with my values, work ethics and my commitment to building excellent working relationships with people I support.

Q2: What do you expect in this role?

social work interview questions

Tip: Remember to familiarise yourself with the job specification or mission statement before the interview. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

I went through the job specification and know what to expect in the role.

I feel my duties will include;

  • Home visits
  • Managing a caseload
  • Multi-agency working
  • Attending safeguarding meetings
  • Updating service user information accurately.

Working within a set legislation such as the Care Act 2014 or Children Act 1989–(in adult services: mental capacity assessments, needs assessments, risk management meetings, hospital discharge planning, supervision, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and in children services: attending Child in Need meetings, Child Protection meetings, risk assessments).

I believe social work involves lifelong learning as such, I will be responsible for my own professional development.

I am aware of the need for me to actively participate in ongoing training courses.

Recently, I enrolled on an introduction to Care Act 2014 training on the Social Care Institute for Excellent (SCIE) website.

This was to help keep me abreast with the law.

Q3: Why did you decide to become a social worker?

Tip: Keep the answer to this social work interview question simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

The role of a social worker is highly demanding and challenging yet, rewarding.

The challenge is seen across complex situations however, the financial reward is not great.

I figured out that to be in the social work profession, you must have the passion and a commitment to make a difference in the lives of people. I felt I have all the required basic skills and a willingness to improve upon these.

First of all, prior to choosing social work as my career, I engaged in some research and reflection.

I identified that apart from the need to have some essential skills, I may also be required to carry out assessments with children, adults or families so I can identify their needs and recommend the right level of support or intervention.

Secondly, I identified my current skills as an individual who likes multi-tasking and having a challenging role.

Similar to working out a piece of the puzzle, I enjoy finding out the root cause of a problem and exploring how best to resolve the issue. I believe this is also a vital skill in social work.

Finally, over the course of my training, I have become more aware of the need to become a reflective practitioner where I try to make sense of a situation and critically analyse what went well or what did not work so well with the view of improving future practice.

Q4: What are the essential social work skills?

social work job interview

Tip: Keep the answer to this social work interview question simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

Social work is a role that requires a set of essential skills and qualities to effectively support people within the community.

I have learned that the essential skills include being empathic, respectful, reflective, commitment to professional growth and a sense of self–awareness in order to identify my own unconscious bias.

I have learned that my strength lies in my ability to listen to others while remaining empathic to people’s experiences and difficulties.

I feel that this is a very important skill to employ in practice, as it helps make people feel valued and respected and helps foster collaborative practice.

 

Q5: How have you dealt with challenges or conflict?

Tip: Keep it simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

You can provide a comprehensive answer following the STAR key concepts mentioned in Tip 6.

Example:

Situation: A few weeks ago, my task at work was to coordinate a multi-agency meeting.

However, a few hours prior to the start of the meeting, I was informed that a key member could not attend due to sickness.

Task: This meant that I had to quickly check the information this member was going to present and assume their role in order for the meeting to proceed.

Action: I took the time to understand their role and the evidence they had gathered.

This was to ensure that I could answer any potential questions that came my way.

During the meeting, I explained the member of staff’s absence and extended their apologies.

I added I was assuming their role and had done some background research into the evidence they planned to present on the day.

Result: After the presentation, I believe I was professional and answered all questions that arose effectively.

In the future, when faced with these types of situations, I feel I have the confidence and ability to achieve the desired outcomes.

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Q6: Explain when you felt communication has been effective?

Tip: Keep the answer to this social work interview question simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

Effective communication played a key role within a group work activity I was involved in.

I understand effective communication is an essential element within a group work.

For most part of our group work, I felt the team exchanged information effectively, and it could be argued that we achieved our overall goal because we worked as a cohesive team and used the right communication tools such as emails and google messenger.

However, I felt that communication could have equally been effective if we had used online tools such as Zoom or Skype for the meeting instead of meeting in the office.

On another occasion, when working with an individual who was dyslexic, I printed out dyslexic friendly assessment sheets with large fonts and colours to help them separate words and make reading easier for them.

I realised this helped establish a good working relationship with the individual and it was personalised.

Q7: What does confidentiality mean to you?

Tip: Keep it simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

With reference to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)/Data Protection Act (2018) confidentiality refers to sharing information on a need-to-know basis.

It is also about privacy and respecting a person’s wishes.

This means that I can only share information about a person if it is their wish or if it is absolutely necessary for their own safety or for the safety of others.

social work interview questions

Q8: Do you have questions for the panel?

Tip: Keep it simple.

  • When is my expected start date if successful?
  • Which office will I be based in if successful?
  • How often do you have supervision for social workers?
  • What is the size of the team?
  • Are there any post qualifying training and development opportunities?
  • Do you offer any relocation incentives?

Q9: Tell us about a time when you have had to deal with conflict?

Tip: Keep the answer to this social work interview question simple. Where possible, give examples.

You can provide a comprehensive answer following the STAR key concepts.

STAR is an acronym for four key concepts.

The concepts in the acronym are:

Situation: Describe the context or background within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work.

Answer the following; Where? When?

Task: Next, describe your responsibility. The challenges and expectations.

Answer the following: What needed to be done? Why?

Action: You then describe how you completed the task or endeavoured to meet the challenge. Elaborate on the specific action. What did you do? How?

Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss, or co-worker did. (Tip: Instead of saying, ‘we’ say ‘I’).

For more information on how to get noticed in a social work job interview, you can check out my article here on How to Ace Your First Social Work Job Interview

Q10: What is safeguarding

Tip: Keep it simple. Where possible, give examples.

Sample answer:

Safeguarding refer to actions taken to promote the welfare of a child or adult and protect them from harm.

This means protecting them from abuse and maltreatment.

For adults, this provision is detailed under section 42 of the Care Act 2014. Other relevant legislation includes the Human Rights Act (1998), the Equality Act (2010).

Legislation and policies surrounding the safeguarding of children in the UK include the Children Act (1989), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992), Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), Human Rights Act (1998), Equality Act (2010).

Q11: Talk about how you would prioritise your work to balance competing needs as a social worker

Generally, you will have a high caseload as a social worker.

How you prioritise or plan on prioritising this is important.

You can talk about how you have dealt with competing demands in the past as a social worker.

For example, you talked to a supervisor about your workload; you organise your time using diaries, outlook calendar, looking at what needs to be done or what can be put on the back burner or by assessing risks.

Before you go

To conclude, going for a social work job interview can overwhelm, especially when you are a Newly Qualified Social Worker.

However, by practicing these frequently asked questions and answers, you will stand out from the crowd with your impressive answers.

Remember to show a sense of commitment, interest and experience in the post you are applying for.

Highlight your strengths and the attributes you can bring to the post.

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