Social Work Interview Questions

Social Work Interview Questions


Looking for a new job as a social worker – no matter whether it’s your first job or your 10th – is stressful.

Preparing and practicing for your interview can help you feel more confident and less stressed. Below, I’ve listed some general social work interview questions. However, social work is a broad field, so the interview questions can vary a lot depending on the type of social work you practice, setting, and your level of experience. So, I encourage you to use these as a starting place and try to adapt them to the particular social work job you’re applying for.

Social Work Interview Questions

  • Why did you decide to become a social worker? What drew you to the profession?
  • What do you find to be the most satisfying aspects of being a social worker? What do you find to be the hardest aspects?
  • How do you define success?
  • How do you approach working with people with a culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity that’s different than your own?
  • Tell me about a time you worked effectively with a client.
  • Tell me about a time you weren’t effective with a client.
  • How do you define professional boundaries?
  • How would you handle a client following you on social media?
  • How would you handle a client serving you a meal during a homevisit?
  • How would you handle a client giving you an expensive bottle of perfume?
  • How would you handle a client (or supervisor) calling you “sweetheart”?
  • How do you keep track of or organize your paperwork and deadlines?
  • What theoretical orientations or interventions do you use?
  • What does it mean to be non-judgmental?
  • Tell me how you assess for suicidality and what you would do with a suicidal client.
  • We routinely make home visits. Why do you think it’s important to make home visits?
  • Sometimes we have to work with clients that push our buttons or who have very different beliefs or values than we do. How would you handle a client who makes racist jokes? Or a client who supports a political candidate that you strongly oppose?
  • How do you deal with counter-transference?
  • What do feel will be your biggest challenge working with ________________ [clients served by this organization]?
  • How would you try to engage with a teenage client who refuses to talk in session?
  • How do you avoid burn out or compassion fatigue?
  • Tell me about a conflict or disagreement that you had with a coworker or manager and how you handled it.
  • What do you think would help social workers be more effective?

Preparing for a social work interview

You may want to prepare for your interview by writing answers to these questions, practicing them in front of a mirror, making a video of yourself answering them, or having a friend or colleague conduct a mock interview with you.

You’ll also want to prepare questions to ask your potential employer. Be sure to take a look at their website, social media accounts, and familiarize yourself with their programs, funding sources, and the job description. It’s important to ask well-thought-out questions that show your potential employer that you’re interested enough to research who they are and what they do.

Questions you might ask a potential social work employer

  • What can I expect in terms of supervision?
  • What training opportunities are available?
  • What are the work hours for this position? Are there after-hours or on-call responsibilities?
  • How many cases do social workers typically have? What are the other responsibilities for this position?
  • Can you tell me about the opportunities for advancement in the organization?
  • What qualities are you looking for in an ideal candidate?
  • How is this position funded? How long do you expect that funding to be available?

Good luck with your social work job interview and I hope these interview questions help you prepare for a fulfilling social work career.



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©2019 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.

Sharon Martin has a passion for clinical supervision, mentoring new social workers, blogging, and reading all things social work related. She is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years in the field. Sharon has worked extensively in Bay Area non-profits and successfully runs a private counseling practice in San Jose. Sharon writes regularly for PsychCentral and the Good Men Project. She's also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

This site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as supervision or clinical guidance, or to diagnose or treat any mental health or medical issues. This page may contain affiliate links which means I receive a small commission on items purchased. I only endorse products I truly believe in.

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