Social Work Case Study Interview Template

Hi Olivia,

I’m sorry to hear that your first interview didn’t go too well. However, it sounds like it was an excellent training or prep class for future interviews…

Thank you for sharing some of the tough questions that you faced. Based upon the ones you mentioned here, I gather you are from Canada. While I am not familiar with the laws and regulations in your country, I can offer you a few suggestions.

1A) As per this site, Bill 168 addresses workplace harassment and violence. This site has a wealth of information about this bill – I would read through it to get an understanding of some of the key obligations that are now in place for employers. They have a specific pdf toolkit preparing employers on this very topic.

1B) The answer to how the staff is impacted by the changes in regulation is a function of what those changes are… I do not know what the changes are in Canada. However, I would read up about the latest changes and then think about them.

In all likelihood, the changes lead to some sort of increased pressure for the staff – to do more with less (less staff, less funds, less resources). In addition, there may be stricter requirements (more paperwork, electronic filing, new codes etc) that require additional learning and/or time/effort in order to keep up.

In truth, these pressures are ones that are faced by nearly everyone in every industry… you would want to demonstrate some awareness of the changes in regulations in your country as well as your ability to keep up with and adapt to changes.

2) Re supervisory skills in an unionized environment, I think you may be able to gleam some helpful info from one or both of these two sites and

I would also try if you can to ask any social worker(s) whom you know who employed in a supervisory role – how being a part of a union – impacts their work… While different unions may have different rules, I assume that there are some general ones that one must adhere to in a supervisory role. If/when you find out, could you please come by and share these with us?

Regardless of the specific union laws, I think the underlying message you want to convey is your ability to learn and adapt to new ways of working (and share an example demonstrating this).

3) Re research and evaluation, I would recommend that you check out the book: Program evaluation for social workers: Foundations of evidenced-based programs by Grinnell, R. M., Gabor, P. A. & Unrau, Y. A. . This is the book we used in my research class.

Very briefly, the underlying goal of research and evaluation is to seek quality improvement. Quality Improvement means that you continuously measure the effectiveness of processes in order to enhance client services.

Plan, Do, Check, Act > Study process and decide what improvements should be made to improve quality; Put plan into action on trial basis; Check if change is working as planned; If change works, implement on a larger scale. If not, refine and repeat.

Re the ethical considerations of research and evaluation, these include conducting the research ethically that is: obtaining informed consent, ensuring voluntary participation, doing no harm, maintaining confidentiality (identifying information is not made available to anyone but the program coordinator), as well as anonymity (identity of the research participant needs to remain unknown to the research team), and accessing only those components [information] that are of relevance to the program.

In addition, evaluations should not be used inappropriately i.e., to justify decisions already made or as a public relations tool.

Caveat: Do not rely on my brief description… please check out the source I’ve referred you to.

I would wish you the best of luck but you don’t need it – with such great learnings from your first interview, you will do beautifully on your next interview 🙂

The world’s population is getting older, while we face many economic, social, and intercultural problems. No wonder that the recent study (from September 2017) showed that social work belongs to the fastest growing careers in the United States. More than twenty people in average applied for every social worker job opening in the States.

If you are one of them, and wonder what will happen in your job interview, what questions will they ask, and how you should answer them, you have found the right website.

My name is Ellen King, I have worked for a leading recruitment agency within health & social care, and today I will help you to prepare for your social work interview. Welcome!

Job, or a mission?

Before we start analyzing particular interview questions, we should talk about the attitude you should show in your interview. Social work is not only a job–it is a mission, a calling, a way of life. At least that’s the way exceptional social workers approach their job, and we look for such workers in an interview.
Good social workers are proud of their jobs, and they enjoy doing them, becasue they understand the value they bring to the society with their work, on both local and global scale.

This attitude should be reflected in the enthusiasm and motivation you will show us in an interview, and also in your answers to the questions.


What questions will they ask?

The typical interview starts lightly, with a few so called “screening” questions. Hiring managers want to hear something about you, trying to understand your motivation, attitude to work, your communication skills, and basically they try to get a good grasp of you as a person.

Answering these questions, try to talk about things that are related to the job–your education in the field, your experience, your values, and motivation. We will ask you some of the following questions:

We will take notice of both your verbal and non-verbal communication, trying to understand if you have the right personality for the job, if you would not struggle working with our target group of clients. Try to stay focused, listen carefully to the questions, and speak to the point.

Behavioral questions – second part of an interview

After the initial screening questions, we will ask you some behavioral questions. We will ask you about particular situations from your previous jobs (or from your studies if you apply for your first job). We will try to understand how you would act in your new job, and your attitude to various work-related situations. Let’s have a look at the common questions we use.

Behavioral questions can vary, depending on a specific role in social work you interview for. Think about your previous jobs for a while, and try to recall the pressure you felt, a situation when you met tight deadline, a moment of achieving success, and failure, a conflict you had with someone, etc.

Last part of an interview

Last stage of the interview process consists in specific questions, or if you want technical questions. These are mostly related to a particular job you try to get, unless we interview you in an agency (and have the same interview template for all applicants). See some common questions below:


Difficult, or easy interview?

Social work interview belongs to difficult job interviews. You will compete with many other job seekers, and you will have to convince us of your readiness to do the job, of your skills, and abilities.

If you want to prepare better than the other job applicants, you can check my eBook, the Social Work Interview Guide, in which I answer all difficult behavioral and technical questions, teach you winning interview strategies, and basically everything you need to know to interview with ease, and get a job.

Thank you, I wish you good luck in your interview.

Ellen King, Your personal job interview coach


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