June 16

What happens during a social worker interview

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What happens during a social worker interview? Many things can happen! During this article, I will share about what has happened during my interviews with employers in the US, UK, and Singapore.

Managing emotions before the interview

Format – group or individual interview?

I remember the first time I had an interview in Singapore. I had reached back a day ago and was still feeling jet lagged. As I sat in the room waiting, I was surprised when I saw not one, but three people walk in at the same time.

It was going to be a panel interview.

In panel interviews, rather than having one person to interview you, you often have many people interviewing you and asking you questions.

It makes it hard for you to know how to focus on. I would advise that during a panel interview, you would find it useful to have eye contact primarily with the one who has asked you the question. Secondly, it is good to have occasional eye contact during the interview with other members of the panel, nodding at them, and smiling at them.

However, if you face a one-on-one interview, things can be a little easier. Have eye contact with the interviewer, and have a conversation with him or her. See it as a two-way dialogue, rather than a monologue where you are trying to sell yourself.

Format – situational or experiential?

But increasingly, I have noticed that interviewers are employing a situational interview format. In two of the three social work job interviews I went for, the interviewers first brought me a case study of a situation. They then asked me what I would do in that case.

In situations like that, it helps to write down your initial thoughts about what you would do. Be clear about your approach and the theories you would use in this case. Give evidence of why you have used that approach, drawing from your personal experience with something similar.

examples of leadership in social work

Questions – what kind?

Very often, we wonder what questions we will be asked during a social work interview. I would say that the most common questions are:

  1. Tell me more about yourself.
  2. Why did you choose this job/ why social work?
  3. Why did you choose this organisation?
  4. What skills can you bring to this organisation?
  5. What makes you different from everyone else?
  6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I have also covered tips on how to answer social work interview questions here and will not go through them again today.

You might think that these questions sound difficult. How would I know where I will be in 5 years!? But this is the reality of what happens during a social worker interview.

Medium – online or physical interview?

When I was looking for an internship in the US, I had to have a Zoom interview to ensure that I had the qualities for that internship. This was the first time I had an online interview. In an online interview, there are many things you need to look out for.

Here are 3 ways to make it better.

  • Gestures

In your online interview, showing gestures is a good way to illustrate what you are saying in a clear manner. It also conveys passion and makes you seem more enthusiastic, rather than robotic and monotonous.

In a virtual setting, making sure that your gestures are above your waist level makes it easier to see. I would also advise that your gestures are strong and assured, rather than fast and varied. This is because the lag over virtual meetings might make it difficult to see.

  • Keep answers short.

It is tiring for the eyes to constantly focus on the screen. Therefore, to make it easier for both parties, keep your answers to 3 minutes. Going beyond that makes it difficult for the interviewer to focus and concentrate on what you are saying.

In a traditional interview, the interviewer could observe you in person and pick out other aspects of your personality from the way you sit, dress, or move. But this might not be as visible in a virtual interview. Keeping your answers short helps the interviewer to see that you are succinct and clear, rather than rambling and monotonous.

  • Increasing your expressiveness

I’ve always struggled with virtual interviews because I dislike technology. It affects my focus. In fact, I don’t enjoy using social media, and do not have any social media accounts. You can stop laughing now. In virtual interviews, the interviewer’s range of sight is limited to the upper half of the body, especially your face.

Compared to a physical interview, where you could stand up to express something, a virtual interview is distinctly more limited. Increasing the expressiveness in your face means making sure that you smile more and express yourself through your facial features.

I hope these three aspects will help you to understand what happens during a social worker interview. Good luck!

If you need more help, you can download my free ebook – Just Get a Job, for free! It offers you tips on how to get a job, ace that interview, and write your CV.

Useful job sites

Singapore – NCSS – Job Portal

U.K. – Social Care Jobs | Community Care Jobs


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