Great Interview Questions You Should Prepare for as a Clinical Social Worker
From health clinics to universities, clinical social workers are found in a broad variety of environments. Job opportunities in social work are rapidly expanding, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of students taking degrees in social work is increasing to meet the demand; clinical social workers, in particular, must possess a master’s degree, post-degree clinical residency under supervision, and licensure to practice.
With more social workers than ever interviewing for promising new jobs, preparedness for the interview is of the utmost importance. Here are five interview questions you should prepare for as a clinical social worker.
What are your goals as a social worker?
This is quite possibly the most important question you’ll answer in an interview for clinical social work. Most social workers enter the field with a goal in mind for how they want to impact their communities – some broad, some highly specific. Consider carefully why you chose to major in social work, what your specific strengths are, and how you can apply those strengths to community impact.
Come up with a cohesive answer for this question, whether you practice it verbally or write it down. Having it written down may also help to remind you of why you became a social worker on your most difficult days in the field.
What case so far has been your most challenging?
Each and every social worker has had cases that they’ve found at best challenging, or at worst, cultivate a sense of dread. As with any other line of work that involves interpersonal exchange, these kinds of difficulties require preparedness and forethought, particularly with regard to coping mechanisms both at the time of difficulty and following it.
You should be able to describe clearly – without judgmental language – why you found the case so challenging, and how you constructively dealt with those difficulties.
Have you ever faced an ethical problem as a social worker, and if so, how did you resolve it?
In the context of clinical work of any kind, ethical challenges will occasionally arise. Being able to answer this question is vital to your employability as a clinical social worker, as well as having a praxis for common ethical issues in the field.
Ethical issues do not need to be resolved alone. If you discussed your challenge with other colleagues or supervisors, say so, and elaborate on the advice they gave as well as what your final decision on resolving the ethical dilemma was.
How would you handle a client who had an episode or outburst in your office?
Clinical social workers will treat a broad range of neurodiverse clients. Some of those clients may be prone to psychotic episodes, breaks, or emotional outbursts. Your training and subsequent residency must include methods for handling these clients safely and without judgment.
Make sure to go over appropriate methodologies for handling these kinds of instances, up to and including when assistance may be necessary to help the client.
How would you handle a difference of opinion in a treatment plan?
Differences of opinion can occur often, especially for clinical social workers working in family or relationship settings. These professionals must be prepared to explain the reasons for their treatment decisions, without condescension or judgment, and also to ask the dissenting individual what their thoughts on treatment are, whether for themselves or family members for whose care they are responsible.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
These questions among many others will be posed to clinical social workers interviewing for new positions. Effectively preparing for each interview is critical to success – as well as to the health and wellbeing of your future clients.