A to Z Social Work Job Interview Tips

by Angy
social work interview tips
SOCIAL WORK JOB INTERVIEW TIPS

Whether you are a newly qualified social worker, or an experienced social worker, these social work interview tips will help you ace that social work interview and land your dream job!

Here’s our A to Z social work job interview tips.

26 Excellent Tips for Passing a Social Work Job Interview

1. Always Prepare for your social work interview

Jim Rohn once said “preparation meets opportunity”. 

This quote reminds us that we make our own luck by preparing.

You need to put yourself in a position to have luck.

You should have long-term goals which will help you identify good opportunities when they arise.

For social work interviews, it is important to prepare around motivational, research and behavioural questions.

What are social work interview motivational questions?

These questions seek to explore what motivates you.

Q. What are you passionate about?

Q. What motivates you?

Q. What are your strengths?

Q. What are your weaknesses?

Q. How would a friend describe you?

Q. Why should we employ you?

Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

 

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social work interview tips

 

How do you answer interview questions about motivation in a social work interview?

As part of your answer to a motivational question, let the panel know how you are able to meet deadlines and targets.

How you are able to prioritise your work and multi-task.

Are you a quick learner? If so, make sure you mention this.

Do you work well as part of a team?

Social work has a lot to do with teamwork and multi-agency working, so it is important that the Panel are made aware of your ability to work in a team.

How do you handle stress and pressure in social work?

You can stay motivated by handling stress and pressure.

To do this, you can engage in meditation or mindfulness activities.

In an interview, you can highlight the fact that you avoid interruptions and prioritise work.

Prioritising work may include completing a risk assessment to determine what work you need to complete first.

What are interview research questions in social work?

These questions seek to explore your understanding of a particular subject.

For example,

Q. What do you know about this organisation?

Q. Tell me about how you experience matches to the job specification.

Q. What do you think this role entails?

What is a behavioural interview in social work?

In a social work interview, you may be asked behvourial questions where the panel will ask you to provide examples of how you will deal with a particular situation.

Alternatively, you may be asked to give examples of how you have behaved in the past when faced with some challenges.

Example of behavioural interview questions include;

Q. When have you challenged a professional?

Q. How have you managed conflict in the past?

Q. How have you handled pressure at work?

Q. Tell us about a time when you have used your own initiative.

social work interview tips

2. Be positive in the interview

Being positive in a social work interview helps reduce stress, and you can organise your thoughts.

In an interview, you want to be coherent and answer the questions adequately.

By being positive, you will focus on your abilities and key skills.

Also, you should highlight how you feel the company can help you grow in your social work profession.

Positive thinking is a key part of interview success.

3. Create a lasting first impression

It takes two seconds for someone to evaluate you when you first meet.

Forbes magazine highlights that you only get one shot to make a first impression, and less than 30 seconds to impress someone!

Aim to get off to a good start by turning up on time, dressing smart, staying professional, being organised with your paperwork and using verbal and nonverbal communication appropriately.

When using nonverbal communication, smile and nod when required, make eye contact with the interviewer for a few seconds at a time, don’t laugh out too loud, you can take notes as you are briefed, be polite, don’t raise your voice too high and keep a level tone to your speech.

Focus on leaving a positive, lasting impression.

4. Don’t be negative during your social work interview

Do not sell yourself short by being negative.

When asked about your weakness, be honest, but you can also turn that into something positive.

For example, if you are a perfectionist, it means you complete your work to a high standard.

However, this also means that you take longer to complete tasks or perhaps struggle to meet deadlines.

You can add that you have developed ways of tackling this weakness by prioritising your work, delegating and keeping track of deadlines.

My natural passion, drive and enthusiasm means I will not only learn the job quickly, but I will also be able to contribute positively from day one, if you hire me in this position.

5. Eye contact should not be overlooked

Maintaining eye contact during an interview shows confidence and self-esteem.

Confidence and self-esteem are important qualities to have as a social worker.

To the social work panel, it shows you are keen and interested in the role.

Remember not to stare though.

social work job interviews

6. Focus on answering each question thoroughly

Don’t answer questions superficially. By preparing thoroughly, you will have the confidence boost to remain calm and answer the panel’s questions well.

Where possible, give relevant examples.

Give yourself enough time to prepare

Don’t prepare for an interview the night before. This will only make you.

7. Give concise interview answers

Be clear and succinct.

Avoid rambling. Think about the answers before sharing them with the panel.

Keeping interview answers short, clear, and to the point will show confidence.

It will also allow the interview panel to be clear about what you want to convey.

If your answers are not adequate, remember the panel will ask further questions or ask for more explanation.

8. Highlight your strengths.

Identify your strengths prior to the interview.

It will be easier for you to share them with the panel of interviewers if you have a list of choices to select from.

9. ‘I’ word

When giving examples, use the ‘I’ word as much as possible.

Example;

“I listened to the team members carefully.”

“I focused on my abilities and performed the task as expected.”

“I ensured deadlines were met”

10. Job specification

The job specification will list the required skills, experience and qualifications required for the role you have applied for.

Do make it a point to familiarise yourself with the requirements prior to the interview.

11. Keep your documents organised

You should your interview preparation as soon as your interview date is confirmed.

Organise the necessary interview documents such as your CV, personal statement and copy of a completed application form.

social work job interviews

12. Leave a lasting impression

You should leave a lasting impression by using both verbal and non-verbal communication skills where appropriate.

Always say thank you at the end of the interview.

For example;

“Thank you for the opportunity to interview for this position. I have enjoyed the process and hope to hearing from you soon”.

13. Maintain eye contact

Maintaining appropriate eye contact speaks volumes.

It can show to the interview panel that you are confident and have a great self-esteem.

Fiddling and loss of eye contact may also indicate loss of interest.

14. Nail the “tell me about yourself” interview question.

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.

15. Only sit down when invited

When offered a seat at the start of a social work job interview, sit upright.

This shows you are confident and comfortable.

Leaning or hunching down conveys an impression of a lack of energy, low self-esteem and being nervous.

Crossed arms or leaning away indicates discomfort.

That is why it is important to relax and pay attention to your posture.

social work interview questions

16. Posture of the Interviewer’s body

It is useful to mirror the posture of the interviewer.

Adopting the same posture will help you establish rapport.

17. Questions you may ask during a social work interview

When asked whether you have questions for the interview panel, make sure you have a few questions prepared.

Questions you may want to ask during a social work interview may include;

  • 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?

18. Remember to monitor your voice delivery

Vary your tone and pitch, but do not overdo it as you may come across as overly excited or emotional.

Pause before giving an answer to a question.

Ensure your voice tone is not defensive.

19. Smile

When appropriate, smile and nod but don’t overdo it.

Avoid intense facial expressions, gesticulations and erupting into laughter on your own.

20. Take a mock interview

To prepare for your interview, not only do you need to know what to say but how to say it.

List down some questions and practice answering them in front of a mirror.

This way you can be confident you are sending the right message in your job interview.

21. Use action verbs in your answers

Action verbs are the basis of your job interview answers.

They express your experience, skills, and accomplishments.

They communicate your potential and abilities.

Examples of action verbs include;

  • Created
  • Completed
  • Planned
  • Listened
  • Provided
  • Updated
  • Undertook
  • Visited
  • Achieved
  • Communicated
  • Developed
  • Analysed

social work interview tips

22. Volunteering experience

Volunteering experience is as important as paid employment.

If you have any experience as a volunteer, do not dismiss this in the interview.

23. What can you do to prepare adequately for your social work interview?

You want this job so leave no stone unturned!

You can prepare for your interview by familiarising yourself with these common social work interview questions and answers 11 Social Work Interview Questions You Should be Prepared For.

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24. X 

It will interest you to know that the letter X in Japan means No.

No interview panel will be pleased with the following answers or phrases.

“I am not good enough for this role”

“I don’t think I have enough knowledge and experience”

“I am not sure if I can meet your expectations”

“I was off sick most of the time”

“I took too many holidays in my previous role”

25. You should prepare.

You can prepare using my eBook on ‘How to Ace Your Social Work Job Interview’.

The eBook provides more information on common interview questions and detailed answers.

26. Z – The zzz feeling

The last thing you want is to feel sleepy or doze off during your interview.

Social work interviews can last between 1–3 hours.

A good night’s rest will ensure you are able to concentrate fully during the interview.

So, go on and have some rest!

READ NEXT 

social work interviews

26 Excellent Tips for Passing a Social Work Job Interview

  1. Always Prepare
  2. Be positive in the interview
  3. Create a lasting first impression
  4. Don’t be negative
  5. Eye contact should not be overlooked
  6. Focus on answering each question thoroughly
  7. Give concise interview answers
  8. Highlight your strengths.
  9. ‘I’ word
  10. Job specification
  11. Keep your documents organised
  12. Leave a lasting impression
  13. Maintain eye contact
  14. Nail the “tell me about yourself” interview question.
  15. Only sit down when invited
  16. Posture of the Interviewer’s body
  17. Questions you may ask during a social work interview.
  18. Remember to monitor your voice delivery
  19. Smile
  20. Take a mock interview
  21. Use action verbs in your answers
  22. Volunteering experience
  23. What can you do to prepare adequately for your interview?
  24. X – Know what phrases you must never use
  25. You should prepare
  26. Z- The zzz feeling. Make sure you don’t fall asleep during the interview

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