Interviews for assignments or jobs are always stressful, especially if you are a student and have never done a field placement interview before. Perhaps you’re hoping this social work field interview will land you the role you want, or perhaps you still aren’t sure entirely what you want but you do wish to get out in the field and garner some experience. This guide will go over five tips for nailing your social work field placement interview.
1. Have An Appropriate Appearance
First impressions are always critically important, and even more so when you’re going in for what is essentially a job interview. Wear professional, formal attire with no item or color that is too loud or sticks out. Take care of the rest of your appearance, including doing your hair nicely and avoiding anything that gives off a strong odor. Be polite to everyone you meet and leave an impression of being an intelligent, passionate, compassionate person by way of your words and actions.
2. Ask Questions
Think of any job interview as a conversation between both parties. The organization is looking for students ready to begin field work, and you are looking to land an assignment that is a good fit for you. Therefore, just as your interviewer will ask you questions, you should come prepared to ask them questions in return. Come prepared with a list, and ask any questions about this field assignment you would like to know the answers to. For example, you might want to know about how they keep their staff safe, what the demographics of the client population are, what hours might be expected of you, and so on.
3. Participate In Mock Interviews
Participating in mock interviews ahead of time can prepare you for success in your real interviews. Most colleges offer this service to their students, and you should take full advantage of it. It’s even better if you can take a mock interview through your school’s social work department, with someone who could ask you more specialized questions and give you both better feedback and a more authentic experience.
4. Be Ready To Talk About What Led You To Social Work And Why You Are Ready For Field Work
This is where you can really sell yourself in the interview. You want to come across as not only devoted to your calling in social work but also ready for field work. Quick, specific anecdotes can help demonstrate your passion and cause you to stick out in the interviewer’s mind. For example, you might have had an underprivileged friend growing up whom you wanted to help that made you want to go into social work to help others like them. You could detail your education, work and volunteer experience to display why you feel you are ready to take on this assignment.
5. Give Concrete, Specific Examples And Answers
As with any job interview, you want to give specific, rather than vague, answers. For example, if the interviewer asks you about your previous volunteer experience, don’t just answer that you volunteered at a homeless shelter. Say what problems the homeless shelter was facing that you helped solve, or give any specific achievements you did while you were volunteering there. Anecdotes help: you might tell of a specific homeless person you went above and beyond to help.
Look the part, give intelligent, substantive answers to the questions asked of you and ask intelligent, substantive questions right back at the interviewer. Treat your social work field placement interview like a job interview and you will impress the interviewer and convince them you are the right intern for this particular setting and assignment.