Interviewing for a social work position takes a lot of advance preparation and knowledge of the field. Not only does the social worker have to interview for a job, they must interview the agency. Knowing what will be asked, and what to ask of the employer, is essential to finding the correct career path.
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Prepare for the interview by researching the agency you are applying for. Knowing what kind of work the agency does and how your experience fits will help you nail the interview. Write down questions you believe the interviewer will ask and practice your answers. Work with a partner to practice how you deliver your answers. Make sure you are confident, and speak slowly and concisely. As a social worker, your ability to listen to the interviewer and how you speak are a large consideration for any agency.
There are several questions that are typical between social work agencies. Most interviewers will want to know your career plans, your education and what other social work you have done in the past. Questions will often get more personal than the generic questions you hear at other interviews. Agencies may want to know your personal standings on issues like drug addiction, adoption or domestic abuse. These questions will depend on your specific social work field and where you are interviewing. It is important to have a well argued opinion, but make sure it is not too far away from the ethics of the agency you are interviewing for. Most agencies will also want to hear what you believe you will learn by working. Also important is to run through a typical social work project in your head before going to the interview, considering how you would handle tough cases, budget, time constraints and social workshops.
Almost all interviewers will ask you if you want to ask questions near the close of the interview. This is your chance to glean whether you wish to work for this particular agency, and to show off your critical thinking skills as a social worker. Ask what the interviewer, or the agency itself, considers as a service delivery to a case or project. Some agencies have different ethics when it comes to finishing a job, consider if the agency you are interviewing for has the ethics you hold dear. Ask how paperwork is dealt with in the office and how the agency deals with it. If you are a hands-on social worker who does not like too many administrative duties this could be an issue. If the agency is in a small community, ask the interviewer what the agency, social relationship is with clients, for example: Are the social workers discouraged from interacting outside of the workplace with the clients. Make sure to ask the interviewer why they like working with the agency, who will be your supervisor and what the opportunities are for promotion.
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