What are Some Typical Interview Questions for Social Workers?

After graduating from a social work program, you need to apply for jobs, and many of your employers will ask some of the same interview questions for social workers. As social workers work with people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and races, social work organizations must ensure that candidates can handle working with others. You'll also find some questions that test your deductive reasoning, decision making and problem solving skills.

What Did You Do Wrong in the Past?

One of the more typical interview questions asked of social workers is a question about something you did wrong in the past. The interviewer will often ask to describe a situation that you encountered in a previous job or while doing fieldwork for your degree and how you would change things if you encountered that same situation again. Your interviewer wants to know that you're willing to admit that you made mistakes but that you grew from those mistakes. You might talk about a hostile encounter you had with a client or how you failed to help another client.

Do You Work Better Alone or in Groups?

Social workers often spend hours working alone at their desks and driving to appointments with clients. During the interview stage, many employers will ask you whether you feel more comfortable working on your own or with others. The way you respond to the question shows your employer that you know what the job entails and that you can handle the tasks of the job. Though you can admit that you like being around others and working with groups, it's important that you emphasize your ability to work independently and without any direct supervision.

How Do You Handle Problem Cases?

Every social worker comes across a problem case every now and then. It might be a drug addict refusing to admit that he or she uses drugs, parents denying that they abuse or neglect their children or an elderly person refusing to admit that he or she can no longer live alone. When an interviewer asks you how you handle problem cases, your interviewer wants to get some idea about your experience in the field. Interviewers want to know that you would look at the situation with an objective eye and decide what to do without instantly running to someone else for help.

How Do You Achieve a Balance?

The National Association of Social Workers recommends that you don't spend too much time preparing for the potential interview questions for social workers that employers will ask. When you practice too much, your answers come across sounded forced or rehearsed. Instead of asking yourself specific questions, use general questions and come up with a few sample answers in your head. Interviewers will often ask you how to achieve a balance between the things you see and hear at work and your home life. Those interviewers want to know that you won't carry the stress and anxiety that you feel on the job home with you at the end of the day.

Many social work programs include a course or lecture that shows students how to properly interview for possible jobs and what to do during interviews. Whether or not your school offers a class of this type, you want to look at interview questions for social workers to get an idea of what employers will ask you during interviews.