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Interview tips for social workers

08 Mar 2017
Posted by: Jonathan Wadsworth

Getting confirmation of a job interview for a new social work role is exciting, but once that confirmation has been received the hard work starts. Your CV has impressed your potential new employer enough to want to meet you, but how do you make sure you portray that you’re a desirable employee in real life as well as on paper?

Our consultants have given their top tips for making sure you nail your next social worker interview.

Make sure you’re up-to-date on legislation

In an ever-evolving industry such as social work, it’s important to constantly keep up-to-date on any new changes to legislation and care acts that may be brought in. 

Before an interview, make sure you brush up on your knowledge to ensure you’re familiar with all the latest legislation in regards to the job that you are applying for, be that social work for vulnerable children, vulnerable adults, child protection, or another speciality. 

Having examples of previous cases is great, but you need to be able to back up your practices per the guidelines for the sector.

Do your research on the organisation and the role

When you have an interview booked, make sure you’re familiar with the organisation and the way they work. This way, you can tailor your answers and questions to fit with their approach and you can express interest in working for them directly.

Knowing what the role entails is also incredibly important, as the interviewer will want to see where you fit and what fresh ideas you can bring. Make it clear that you’ve spent time looking into the organisation and the role, as it suggests a level of commitment you have to the position.

Be confident in your skills

You have managed to secure an interview, so the interviewer clearly trusts in the skills and experience you have to offer.

When speaking in the interview, make sure you’re confident in yourself and your abilities. Confidence behind your answers allows you to have conviction in making your answers believable. Don’t doubt yourself, you’ve been invited in for a reason!

Plan your time before the interview

Making sure you’re calm and in a good frame of mind for the interview means preparing your movements in the build up to the meeting.

Get up early on the morning of your interview, make sure you have a smart and professional outfit planned the night before, eat a good meal before you head off to avoid any stomach rumbling or hunger distractions while you’re answering the questions, and turn your phone off before you head into the building for your interview.

Keep your answers concise but informative

In an interview for a social work position, your experience will be your greatest asset but it’s how you verbalise that experience which really matters.

Most interviews will be marked against a point scale, so make sure you come prepared with situations you have faced before and have practised a way to explain it. The STAR approach is very effective in targeting your answers – Situation, Task, Action, Result. Take the interviewer through the journey of what you were faced with, what needed to be done, what you did, and what the outcome was.

The most important thing to remember when you’re answering questions in an interview, is not to waffle. If you veer away from the question or your interviewer glazes over, bring your point back to the question you were asked!

Prepare questions beforehand

It’s an often-overlooked fact that interviews are a two-way process. Although the interviewer holds the authority over whether you’d be a good fit for the role and organisation, you do also need to be sure that it’s the right career move for you.

Go prepared with some questions you’d like to ask them to figure out whether you can see yourself working there. It’s important that you have a clear sense of the job before you leave, and understand what you’ll be faced with as well as what opportunities will be offered to you along the way.

Don’t be shy

If, at the end of the interview, you’re still interested in the position you’re interviewing for and you feel like it’s gone well, make it clear to the people you have met that you are very much interested in working for them.

By telling the interview panel you’re keen on the role, it shows that you are invested in the opportunity and would be a worthy candidate.


If you need further assistance with preparing for your social work interview, your designated consultant at Charles Hunter Associates will help you every step of the way. Not yet registered with us? Call 0118 948 5555 to sign up and to find the next move in your social work career today.

 
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