In our last post, we took a look at 5 social worker interview questions and answers. Here, we’re going to look at 5 more social worker interview questions. Find out how you can answer them here!
1. Describe a way in which you have resolved conflict in the social care workplace. – Social Worker Interview Questions
This question is looking for you to demonstrate that you are someone who is capable of dealing with the type of issues commonly seen within the social sector. You should structure your response here, to make it as clear and concise as possible. Explain the issue, how you took action to resolve the issue, and the (positive) outcome of your methods.
‘During my first year of university, I took a placement at a residential care home. I was required to support and assist the elderly residents with basic and personal tasks. On one occasion, I was sharing night shift duties with another junior assistant. I noticed that she was being abrasive and impatient whilst helping an elderly resident up the stairs.
I took her to one side and explained how her behaviour was unacceptable, and needed to be improved. She accepted my criticism, apologised to the resident and following this made a conscious effort to change her approach. She is now employed full time at the care home, and is very popular with the residents.’
2. With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would do differently with one of your cases? – Social Worker Interview Questions
This is another really interesting question, which requires you to acknowledge that you can always improve upon your performance. The worst answer here is, ‘no’, as this demonstrates a lack of awareness. As a social worker, you should constantly be looking for ways to improve. When answering this question, take the same approach as in the previous. Talk about the issue, the steps you took to resolve the issue, and what you think you could have done differently. Remember that this question is referring specifically to one of your cases, so make sure that your example relates to someone you have dealt with personally.
‘Whilst I was working at Ficshire Children’s home, an incident occurred with a misbehaving child. As the senior manager was busy at the time, I was required to deal with the child myself. The child in question was a young boy. He had been driving his electronic race car around the living room of the house. This was despite being told on several occasions that he was not allowed to do this.
I confiscated the toy, and he got very upset. Although my initial response was correct, I failed to communicate effectively with the boy as to why I was confiscating the toy, and what was wrong with his behaviour. As a result, his behaviour got worse. As a social worker, I understand that mistakes will always be made. What is important is that we limit the damage of these mistakes. We must do our utmost to improve whenever we can.’
3. Can you describe a time when your actions made someone feel better? – Social Worker Interview Questions
This is another situational based question, which requires you to draw on your past experience. As a social worker, it is imperative that you can reassure and support service users. If you have got to the point where you are being invited to interview for social work vacancies, then it is very likely you will have had experience of caring for or reassuring customers. Just as in the previous question, structure your response so that the interviewer gets a clear idea of what the issue was, how you acted to resolve the issue and what the outcome of your actions was.
‘During my time working at Ficshire children’s home, I was constantly in contact with vulnerable children. One such incident that I can remember, was when a little girl returned from a day trip with potential foster parents. Whilst the foster parents seemed happy enough, the girl was very upset; and did not say goodbye to them upon returning to the house. I went up to speak to her, and discovered that she felt the foster parents did not like her.
I found the contact details for her foster parents and gave them a call, to inform them of the situation. They were extremely surprised and immediately returned to the house, where they re-assured the girl that they had enjoyed the trip and wanted to do the same thing again. The girl was extremely happy about this, and a few months later, was officially fostered by the family.’
4. When communicating with people, often verbal and nonverbal gestures can provide information. Give an example of how you have used your interpretation of either verbal or non-verbal behaviour, to help a service user. – Social Worker Interview Questions
This is a difficult question, and one that requires you to display an advanced knowledge of body language and behavioural theory to answer. However, as with the previous question, if you have reached this point then it is unlikely that you will have an issue answering. Make sure you show the interviewer what the problem was, how you acted to resolve it and how the outcome was positive as a result of your actions. If you can bring in theoretical knowledge, then that will really improve your answer.
‘When I was working in the student service team at my local primary school, a boy was brought into the office who had been misbehaving. The boy in question was very well known to the service team, as he had a history of truanting and skipping lessons. I interviewed him on a one-to-one basis, to try and get to the bottom of his behaviour. Upon discussion of his home life, it became apparent that his father had recently re-married.
While he would not openly discuss this issue, he was extremely negative whenever he referred to his new step-mother. While he did not directly admit it, I decided that it was an avenue worth pursuing. We rang the boy’s father, who came into the school and discussed the problems with his son. Steps were taken to improve the relationship between the child and his step-mother, and since then he has been behaving much better at school.’
5. Think of a client that you have disliked. How did you deal with this issue? – Social Worker Interview Questions
In this question, the asker wants you to demonstrate that you have the ability to provide the same service to all clients, regardless of how much you like them. This is really important. As a social worker, it would be impossible for you to get along with, or like every single person you meet. At some point you will inevitably come across people with whom you clash, or people who do not share the same values or morals as you. However, you must be able to put these feelings aside, and do what is right for the service user. Remember that you are there to help them, whether you like them or not.
‘When I was working on the paediatric ward at my local hospital, I had to deal with a mother and father that I particularly disliked. The reason I disliked them was because they were extremely rude to the hospital staff, including myself, and treated us badly. They were impatient, demanding and constantly brought in their child for unnecessary checks. Eventually, we decided to have a meeting with the parents to voice our concerns.
I was part of a team of 3 people who were assigned to communicate the issue. It became apparent that the parents were only acting out of concern for their child. While they did not apologise for being rude, they did begin to visit with more reasonable frequency, and as such improved their relationship with the team. While I still did not particularly like them, because of their bad manners, I did my best to provide their child with the best possible treatment.’
There you have it, some questions and answers for the social worker interview. Looking for more? Check out our guide: How to Become a Social Worker.