8 Commonly Asked Social Work Interview Questions

Arran Williams, April 25, 2016

Congratulations on landing a social work interview! Maybe you have just finished your studies and are wanting to put all of that theory you’ve learnt into practice or maybe you are a few years into your career and looking for a new opportunity. Whatever the reason, you now need to make sure you can stand out from your fellow candidates. Wanting to make a positive difference to people’s lives is a great thing, but you need to be able to demonstrate in your interview how you plan to achieve this. To help you get fully prepared, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked social work interview questions with advice on how to answer them.  

How do you manage your caseload and deadlines?

questions-to-ask-The interviewer wants to know how good your time management is. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate useful tools and strategies that you’ve previously used to prioritise your deadlines. Have one or two strong examples prepared beforehand. If you are a recent graduate, bring up how you’ve dealt with multiple deadlines and heavy workloads at university.

Give an example of a complex child protection case and the actions you took?

Your example should be as relevant as possible and answer the question clearly. It should show the interviewer that you have sound understanding of the issues surrounding child protection and a clear explanation of how you achieved the results that you got. If this is your first job, think about how you can still show your understanding of the question. Talk about the issues surrounding the subject and draw examples from people that you have spent time with, possibly in your work experience.

What do you know about working with our local authority, agency, service users, organisation?

Research the local authority beforehand so that you are prepared for this question. Check out their websites social care pages and read up on local press coverage. Interviews with either the Director of Service or a Senior Manager are also a great way to find out more relevant information. This shows the interviewer that you care enough to make the effort and demonstrates that you are motivated and want to work for the organisation.

Have you had to deal with conflict or confrontation in your work?

team-conflictTell the interviewer clearly what happened and explain in detail how you dealt with the situation. Talk about the outcomes, what you learnt from it and how you can apply it to any future conflicts. This can be with both services users or colleagues. If you have recently finished studying, take examples from this. Maybe you have had to conduct group work which had led to a dispute? How did you move on from this?

What legislations and policies do you think apply to practice within this role?

This question is asking for your understanding of your legal obligations as a social worker. There are different legislations that you will need to know for both adult and children social care, so be sure to be clued up before hand. See here for current legislations and policies.

Why did you decide to become a social worker?

Here you can give the interviewer a further insight into where your interests and passions lie. Use anecdotes to really show them the reasons why you have chosen this career path. Be sure to highlight what you enjoy about social work and what you feel that you can bring to the organisation.

Tell us about something you are proud of in your social work career?

proudThis is a great chance to really sell yourself and show the interviewer why you are the best person for the job. Use engaging stories that really show off your skill set and also talk about the models and practices that you used to achieve the results that you’re proud of. If this is your first position, talk about a personal achievement. This could be within your studies or perhaps during your work experience.

Do you have any questions for us?

Like many interviews (not just within social work) the interviewer will want to know if you have any questions for them. Asking questions shows that you are genuinely interested in the position and is a good opportunity to demonstrate the research you have done. Start questions with phrases such as, ‘I have read on your website that…. Does this mean…..’ Showing that you have been proactive and read up on the organisation can give you a real edge over the competition. We hope that after reading through these question you feel a lot more prepared and ready to take on your interview. Good luck! Are you currently searching for jobs in social work? Have a browse of our latest positions and apply online today.
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