Social Worker Interview Questions and Tips

Young Man Talking in Group Therapy Session

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If you're interviewing for a job as a social worker, it pays to do your homework. In advance of the interview, review a list of frequently asked questions, how best to respond to questions, and tips on how to behave during an interview for a social work job.

Social Worker Interview Questions

To get you started, here are seventeen commonly asked interview questions:

  • What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker?
  • Our agency serves XYZ population. What interests you about serving this population?
  • How do you feel about supervision? What type of supervision do you prefer?
  • How do you balance your work and personal life?
  • What types of clients do you find the most difficult to work with and why?
  • What are some of your biggest accomplishments in your fieldwork?
  • Tell me about the most difficult case you have worked on.
  • Tell me about something you would do differently in the management of one of your previous fieldwork cases.
  • Have you ever been faced with an ethical conflict in your experience as a social worker? How did you handle the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone over a treatment plan. What was the disagreement, and how was it resolved?
  • How would you locate resources for clients in a community in which you have no relationships?
  • Imagine a client walked into a session with you and appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. What would you do?
  • What would you do if a client had a psychotic outburst in the waiting room?
  • What techniques do you use in crisis intervention?
  • What are your opinions on the current welfare system?
  • Where do you think the field of social work is heading in the next five years?
  • What is your theoretical orientation regarding family therapy?

Tips for Interviewing for Social Work Jobs

Social work employers evaluate how you interact in an interview just as much as they evaluate what you have to say. Practice interviewing with career counselors and advisors to refine your approach and get some feedback.

Make a list of the qualities and relevant skills you possess that make you an effective social worker. For each asset, think of a specific time when you demonstrated that quality in a work or volunteer role. Emphasize interactive challenges that you have met, difficult people with whom you have connected, and how you've influenced others to change.

Interviewers will probably ask you to reflect on your clinical or casework experience as well as your clinical philosophy and approach. They'll also likely ask questions about your most challenging cases and how you handled them. Be prepared to answer all these kinds of questions.

Also, be sure to research the company for which you're interviewing. Your interviewers will probably ask you why you're interested in working for their organization and the population they serve.

How to Follow up After the Interview

Effective follow-up is an essential step in securing a job offer.

Make sure you write personalized communications for each of your interviewers.

In each thank you email or letter, clearly state your high level of interest in the position, why you think it is a good fit, and your appreciation for the interview opportunity. If possible, mention something unique that you learned from each interviewer that heightened your interest. Address any concerns that may have surfaced about your candidacy, if you think the information will reassure your interviewers.

More Job Interview Questions

In addition to specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans. Here's a list of the most common interview questions and examples of answers.